False privilege pins Latino vs. Latino


By Janet Lira, Advocate Staff

In Latino culture, superiority is taught at a very young age and, in many cases, it causes Latinos to discriminate against their own race.

In Latino communities across the country, immigrants who find just a bit of stability immediately think of themselves as better than those who may not enjoy the same level of stability.

That grandiose aura can be generated from anywhere or anything.

A person can get a new job, acquire the latest tech, buy a new house or car. It doesn’t have to be big, but simply the fact their status has been elevated makes them feel it’s OK to reject those in their own community wrongly designated as lower.

That’s why raising Latino children to think and act outside of their culture has become an increasingly common occurrence.

Many Latinos are labeled white-washed, but still acknowledge other Latinos in their community as equal. Raising Latino kids to think they are white or saying they are not Latino and rejecting who they are is a growing trend with difficulties that aren’t regularly discussed.

A person who is very clearly Latino saying he isn’t Latino and does not relate with the Latino culture is heart-breaking — but understandable.

This phenomenon is most regularly displayed in national politics where conservative Latinos are chastised for not supporting pathways to citizenship or legislation that supports Latino interests.

The nuanced lives of Latinos living in America are not only expressed through political talking points. They are also highlighted in the nation’s communities and neighborhoods.

In the United States, people can choose to be different and with that choice, comes the ability to adopt other cultures, religions and communities.

The real issue should not be what race a person chooses to identify with in an attempt to better themselves — it’s calling out, discriminating against, people who were or are just like you.

I have witnessed these Latino-on-Latino divisions multiple times in family and public settings.

Recently, a server at a local restaurant belittled a patron because the patron asked if the server spoke Spanish — both women were Latina. The server told the customer that she did not speak Spanish, that this was America and she should learn English.

I could not believe I was witnessing this level of discrimination and did not understand why a person would be so cruel to another person.

When pressed, the server said she felt that way because she struggled to learn English and get a good job — so this woman should do the same.

She said because of all the discrimination she weathered before learning a second language, she got the motivation to learn English.

She was told it was great she took advantage of the opportunity, but shaming others who come from where you have is not going to help.

It’s partially responsible for what pulls us down as a community.

It truly doesn’t matter if it’s with a stranger or a close family member. Latino-on-Latino discrimination is sadly becoming a growing trend that will not change unless we begin to see all people as equals.