We celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month and look forward to a better understanding of the diversity of America
The American media has always been a bit unfair to Latinos, putting them into stereotypical boxes that they constantly have to fight to get out of. Here are some common stereotypes about Hispanics in the US media:
- Latinos are maids. Yes, just like any other community, there are Latinos who work as maids. Maybe there were a lot of maids from the community at some point in time, but not anymore. There are a lot of other professions and careers that Latino women are into today.
- Latino men are always amazing lovers. There may be many Latino men who are really good lovers, but certainly not all of them are the same. They have the same problems as other men when it comes to dating women. They are also sometimes shy, not always exceptionally experienced and are real men with real problems in life.
- Latino women are always overly sexy. Latino women have different body types, just like the rest of us. They are not always bearing their cleavage or oozing sexuality. They have individual and unique personalities that go beyond their looks and physical appearance.
- Latinos are drug dealers and peddlers. Yes, certain South American countries have drug cartels and there are Latinos who deal in drugs. But again, not all of them are the same. Every community has people who get into drugs or crime and is the same with the Hispanic community as well. Most Latinos have good jobs and families that have never been into crime or drugs.
- Latinos are loud and always overreact. There are shy, reticent Latinos, people who are not always attracting attention to themselves with their loudness. They are not all overly emotional either, knowing very well how to manage difficult situations and people with ease without losing their cool.
- Latinos have very large families. Yes, some Latinos do have big immediate and extended families and some of them may live together as well. But that does not mean that there are no small families among Hispanics. Nuclear families are as common as huge joint families in this community too.
- Latinos cannot speak English, and if they do, it is heavily accented and nasal. There are many Latinos who have lived in the United States all their life and speak English as well as any other American. Some of the second and third generation Hispanics speak English as their first language.
The US media surely needs to change their portrayal of Latinos and showcase the community for what it really is – vibrant and diverse.
During National Hispanic Heritage Month(September 15 to October 15) we recognize the contributions made and the important presence of Hispanic and Latino Americans to the United States and celebrate their heritage and culture.
Hispanics have had a profound and positive influence on our country through their strong commitment to family, faith, hard work, and service. They have enhanced and shaped our national character with centuries-old traditions that reflect the multiethnic and multicultural customs of their community.
Hispanic Heritage Month, whose roots go back to 1968, begins each year on September 15, the anniversary of the independence of five Latin American countries: Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras and Nicaragua. Mexico, Chile and Belize also celebrate their independence days during this period and Columbus Day (Día de la Raza) is October 12.
The term Hispanic or Latino, refers to Puerto Rican, South or Central American, or other Spanish culture or origin regardless of race. On the 2010 Census form, people of Spanish, Hispanic and/or Latino origin could identify themselves as Mexican, Mexican American, Chicano, Puerto Rican, Cuban, or “another Hispanic, Latino, or Spanish origin.”
Today, 55 million people or 17% of the American population are of Hispanic or Latino origin. This represents a significant increase from 2000, which registered the Hispanic population at 35.3 million or 13% of the total U.S. population.
Share in this special annual tribute by learning and celebrating the generations of Hispanic and Latino Americans who have positively influenced and enriched our nation and society.