Stereotypes have a big impact on our life. Without noticing, everyone labels someone by their appearance, the way they talk and maybe even walk. Stereotypes can make a person feel insecure and be unfair because people immediately label someone for something they do or because of their gender. Just because we are all labeled as something by the way people see us as, doesn’t mean it needs to be true. Stereotypes can be harmful because they are based on gender, race, and have a really big impact on Hispanics.
Stereotypes based on gender say how women should be a housewife once they are married and just take care of their kids. Some families still have the same traditions that their families told them and want their kids to follow it. For example, according to the Latino Leadership Council, Elisa Herrera states, I see young Latino boys being given the freedom to go out.. While the daughters are expected to stay home, be proper, help with the housework and essentially ready themselves to be future mothers and homemakers. This is very true and still happens to this day. Young girls are prohibited from going out, especially on their own because they’re weak and anything can occur to them while a young boy can easily take care of himself because he’s stronger. Fathers praise their sons and tell them how if anything ever occurs to them they are responsible for the women and the son will be the man of the house. While the men in the house can just relax and watch TV, the women have to be in the kitchen, cooking and the daughters have to help out by washing dishes and learn how to cook.
While this doesn’t happen in my family, my mom does make me do the chores and says how I need to learn how to be independent and learn how to do things on my own without any help. She tells my sister the same thing and although I don’t like doing chores, I do them because we all have to help out at home and none of us gets a free pass. Two researches from the University of Nebraska and UC Davis did a 2004 study in where they studied young Latino and Latinas, and one Latina women said:
He (her brother) had a very much later curfew than I did. He got a car, got to drive a car and then he also got his own car and I never didI could only go to school-related activities and he could do about anything, he could go any place he wanted and so I always felt like I was the one that she (her mother) just didn’t ever let go, she always kept control over everything that I did.
This is very realistic and happens a lot, especially in Hispanic shows. When I’m watching a TV show, such as La Rosa De Guadalupe which is a Mexican TV show that talks about all different types of problems that happens in real life. While it is different for every person with their social status, there still is a few similarities. People from high class give their sons anything they want and don’t have a curfew while their daughters don’t have to do chores, they have to stay home and be ready to be the perfect wife by giving their family all the attention they need. For medium and low class, it is the same by the girls having to do chores and the guys not having to worry about washing or cleaning up anything and can easily boss around their own mother and sisters by asking them to do anything they need. This ends up being bad, because the sons look up to their fathers, and see how machismo their fathers are and end up being the same way, not only with their mother and sisters, but even at school, with a girlfriend and with anyone else they feel like because the son feels like he has more power than a woman. Machismo means how a man has a lot of pride, and can be very aggressive, and say things such as, men don’t cry.
In the United States particularly I have noticed that there are many stereotypes directed towards Latin Americans. One of the stereotypes that brings our Latin American culture down is that many Americans commonly claim that all Latinos are Mexican. According to NBC News, they published an article discussing the struggles Latinos face with this stereotype. Being Latino means being part of a rich, diverse culture. Or does it? Some Latinos feel removed from their peers because of their skin color, language ability, or mixed-race heritage.This is a struggle I relate to. I am a Mexican American. With that being said in my community I feel like there is a certain way I am supposed to act. With stereotypes being one thing and my family constantly telling me to not lose my heritage I find myself questioning who I want to be. At times I even feel ashamed of showing off my culture because I don’t want to come across as a stereotypical Latina. I am not ashamed of my ethnicity but stereotypes make me feel that I should be.
Many people immediately put a label to someone they see, for example, in school, Asians are known as the smart ones in math because of how easily it is for them to understand the lessons.
Another stereotype that sadly is given to Latino Americans is that the majority of us are or will be garden workers, house maids, janitors, or construction workers. Even though there are many people that work in those fields we are much more than just people who come to this country other than cleaning. There are many entrepreneurs, business owners, doctors, lawyers etc. who are Hispanics. For some reason the stereotypical jobs are looked down on by more privileged people. In many times it feels like we’re even being ridiculed on television. In many films Latinos are portrayed as the nanny or the maid. One of the most recent and disrespectful things that have happened on TV was on a program titled The View. Kelly Osbourne, a co-host and her fellow hosts were discussing Donald Trump wanting to deport immigrants back to their country and she said, If you kick every Latino out of this country, then who is going to be cleaning your toilet, Donald Trump. The comment was not only disrespectful to every immigrant who has consistently done difficult jobs in order to provide to their family because they aren’t privileged enough to afford much, but it was also assuming that cleaning toilets is all Latinos have to offer.
Stereotypes are harmful to any race. Recently with all the news headlines and the hate increasing towards the Hispanic community those stereotypes have been used to degrade our potential as Americans in this country. As a Latina myself the only thing I can do is to continue to strive and push against any stereotype about my ethnicity. Along the side of a generation of Latinos who are attending college to make something out of ourselves. All I could hope for is that one day our hard work is recognized by those who criticize us. Whether it be proving to your mother you will be much more than a housewife, a man fighting against machismo, struggling to fit in with your community or studying to make a career for yourself just remember us Latinos are much more than that.
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