Elby Hernandez

The Latino ‘look’: “I don’t look Latina enough”

by / 2 Comments / 919 View / May 29, 2010

Elby Hernandez

By Elby Hernandez

“You look white.” I’ve heard those words more than I’ve cared to in my short 19 years. I am now well aware that I’m not exactly curvy a la Jennifer Lopez or Salma Hayek, nor do I have the typical dark, thick hair and dark features that most people expect Latinas to have. On the contrary, I’m a slight, (normally) light-haired bru­nette with lighter eyes and fair skin. While it does not bother me as much anymore to hear people dismiss me as a white person, it is still fascinat­ing to know that so many Latinos get stereotyped and are thought to be another race. I have often heard of Dominicans being thought of as African-American, and certain South Americans being regarded as white.

Knowing that I am not the only one who gets stereo­typed in a different way is both comforting and disap­pointing. This is the 21st century and yet stereotyping and discrimination are ever present. What many people obviously fail to ac­knowledge is that Latinos come in all different shapes, sizes and colors. We do not all fit into the mold that the media, and society in gen­eral, have shaped out for us. Just as the media paints a picture of Hispanics only being capable of being maids and construction workers, they also portray all Hispanics to look the same as well. However, that is simply not the case, and it is a constant struggle for whomever has to continually correct people when they write them off as being another race.

There have been times when I have felt uncomfortable with how I look, and have attempted to make myself look more like the stereotyp­ical Latina, by dying my hair black and going to great lengths to make myself look tanner. However, in the end, I have realized that I do not care that I don’t fit into the narrow-minded stereotypical look that Lati­nas are thought to have. There are many other Latinos out there who face this same challenge but the beautiful thing is to embrace the di­versity that comes from within our own Latino culture. Those who face this stereotyping need to face the issue and enlighten others by open­ing their minds and pointing out that Latinos are white, black and even Asian. Instead of pushing it aside, the issue should be brought to light and should be used to educate others.

2 Comment

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