Stereotypes and prejudice that plagues racial and ethnic minorities in the United States is the issue in the assigned texts that I can identify with. Adichie (2009) categorically states that if we look at an issue from one perspective, we are likely not to see the whole truth about the issue. She reveals to us that stereotypes and prejudice make people blind to look at an issue from a different perspective. Stereotypes and prejudice blindfold human beings making them see less than they can see if they open their eyes widely. Stereotypes and prejudice make people view issues from a narrow perspective, in line with what the stereotypes and prejudice suggest. Stereotypes and prejudice make people have default positions about certain issues or subjects. Adichie (2009) reveals that stereotypes make people believe that what is portrayed in the stereotypes is the actual reality of the matter. By showing people as one thing, as a single story over and over again that is what they become, and that is how they are perceived. Stereotypes are used to maintain certain power structures so that some people can continue being powerful over other people. Stereotypes are often used by people with power so that they can maintain their power and at the same time continue suppressing other peoples efforts to gain power. A character in a single story should not be a representative of an entire demographic to which the person belongs. Single stories create stereotypes. Single stories have been used to malign and despise other people. Stereotypes do rob people off their dignity.
There are many stereotypes in the United States society that allege that Mexicans are immigrants, drug dealers, and criminals. Stereotypes about Latina women associate Latina women with sex and romance. Apparently, men in European countries perceive Latin women to have traits associated with the protagonist in Maria from the West Side Story. It is shocking that an Irish man would see a Latin woman for the first time, go down on his knees and start to sing the song, Maria (Cofer 50).
Dressings by Latina women are most of the time interpreted by white men as being sexually suggestive. Latina women experience a lot of culture clash when it comes to their dressing. Mixed cultural signals have perpetuated certain stereotypes about Latina women. The media has perpetuated a stereotype that claims Latina women are sexual firebrands. Latina women are described in the media as sizzling and smoldering. There are many stereotypes that associate Latina women with sex and romance. Apparently, the custom of Latina women dressing in a sexy manner is rooted in Latin American culture. Women in Latina America are allowed to dress in a sexy manner, men are allowed to admire them, but there is a line that men are not allowed to cross given that most Latin Americans respect Catholic/Spanish system of morality (Cofer 53). Catholic/Spanish states that interaction between women who are dressed in a sexy manner and men should never cross into obscenity. However, when a Latina woman dresses in a sexy manner and meets a man who has been trained to react to certain clothing as being sexually suggestive, a clash is likely to occur. There is also a stereotype that suggests Latin girls become sexually active at an early age when compared to girls of other ethnicities (Cofer 54). Most stereotypes about Latin women stem from musicals, songs and television programs about Latin women (Cofer 55).
There are stereotypes that suggest Latina women make good domestic servants. As a result, instead of most Caucasians seeing Latina women as their fellow human beings, they see them as domestic servants. There is a stereotype that suggests that Latinos are only good at menial jobs; the stereotype keeps on being perpetuated by the media (Cofer 55). Feminist Latina scholars affirm that the media-engendered stereotypes about Latina women have played a major role in impeding Latina womens upward mobility. Stereotypes malign individuals, making them feel that they are not respected nor taken seriously by the society (Cofer 55).
Rodriguez (2013) suggests that its high time Americans stops treating racial and ethnic minorities with stereotypes because America is increasingly becoming a country with people of mixed races. People of different races are intermarrying; giving rise to offspring that cannot identify themselves with a single race or ethnic group. Therefore, it is high time Americans start seeing each other as one people and stop treating their fellow Americans in a prejudicial manner by race and ethnicity.
Adichie, Chimamanda.Ngozi. The danger of a single story. TED. 1999. Internet.
Cofer, Ortiz. Judith. The Myth of the Latin Woman: I just met a girl named Maria. University of Georgia Press. 1992. Print.
Rodriguez, Richard. Blaxicans and other reinvented Americans. New York: McGraw-Hill Companies. 2013. Print.
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