This Monday I went to a program held by the Latin Student Union club on campus. The event was titled The Call Out and attendees were to come together and talk about stereotypes attributed to different cultures. It only sounds kind of yawn and dispiriting but it was soo much fun. Although, most attendees were Latina or Latino, people of other cultures were invited and present. It was this really cool space where we can laugh and kind of poke fun of the accuracy and/or lack of accuracy over the stereotypes each culture was known for. We first waived off the general Latino stereotypes like: “the women being hot-headed” “being too loud” “loving spicy food” “expert dancers” “cooking with Adobo” “always partying” and other hilariously untrue fun facts.
The program presented different flags (i.e. Dominican, Salvadoran, Bolivian, Puerto Rican, &etc.) and had everyone throw out opinions about what they’ve been lead to believe about that group of people. Some were ridiculous, some were weird, some funny, some were compliments, and some were insulting. The moderators then followed up with stats and facts to support or contradict the answers.
The atmosphere was not tension-some nor uncomfortable. It was more educative and fun. Everyone there was eager to hear stories about each other’s personal experience with his/her culture. Especially stories involving our parents which are always a good laugh. I felt very connected with attendees in the room and the emotional support was present throughout the whole time.
My favorite part, besides the competitive game of Kahoot, was the conversation we had about speaking Spanish. Everyone had a different perspective when it came to one’s ability to speak it or not. Some, such as myself felt it was a vital part of being Latino/a and should always be upheld. Others shared the prejudice they faced for not speaking Spanish, or fearing being different when they do, or even struggling to speak English and the presence of a Spanish accent being a source of embarrassment. It was a very honest and lengthy discussion. But it ended on a solid note, in which we all agree that Spanish is a beautiful language and we vow to continue learning it for ourselves and/or teaching it to the future generations to come.
For any new Latino/a students that are reading this & are looking for a sense of community within their culture look up Latin Student Union. They are super inviting and you’ll feel right at home. Even if you’re not Latino and want to learn more about the culture I would advise to attend the meetings you’re guaranteed a really good time. I mean if you haven’t heard we’re “always partying.”