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DiversiFYInu Student Concern

September 23, 2008

To whom it may concern:

       I am writing this e-mail in reference to the essential NU I just
 attended—Faces of American:DiversiFYInu. I wanted to address certain
 aspects of the presentation that I, and other students, found
 offensive. For starters, I was perturbed by the representation of the
 Mexican from East Los Angeles, who though was said to be educated, was
 portrayed as ignorant, ill mannered, and nescient. Many of my fellow
 Latinos agreed that the depiction failed in its attempts to reflect
 our positive attributes, and instead proved to be a pejorative
 experience. Yes, many of us come from financially unstable
 backgrounds, and yes, many of us are from areas where gang violence is
 prevalent, including myself; however, not all of us associate with
 such circumstances. Moreover even for the ones that do, we can still
 express ourselves eloquently and hold intellectually stimulating
 conversations, unlike the character being presented. This portrayal
 reflected much of the negative attention the media imposes on Latinos,
 and I thought it did little to remove those barriers and prejudices,
 especially when the woman portraying all these characters went so far
 as to say that though the characters were not necessarily representing
 one race, they gathered many character traits and personallities in
 order to attain the “general idea”. I’m sorry, but my “general idea”
 of a Latino does not include someone who disrespects his mother in
 such a provacative manner (believe me, in my culture, this is not a
 matter taken lightly), nor is he someone who is constantly saying
 “ese” or “homes”.
       As it is Latinos and other minority groups are bombarded with the
 misfortune of dealing with the stereotypes often associated with their
 ethnicity, especially in institutions of higher learning. Many of us
 end up giving up part of our culture for fear of not wanting to be
 stereotyped or placed in certain categories. Others are plainly
 resigned to accepting those stereotypes as a part of life. I believe
 that part of the reason Latinos have such a hard time in these
 institutions is because much of their energy is expended in trying to
 educate these communities—energy that we could instead be using
 towards our studies. Unfortunately, we aren’t as privaledged like the
 majority of the students in these schools, merely because the color of
 our skin, the texture of our hair, or the accents at the end of some
 of our words are different. And yes, I recognize that it necessary to
 help others understand where we come from and what makes us who we
 are—I am all for bringing people from diverse backgrounds together.
 However, I felt that this Essential NU did little to help such
 matters.
       I think presentations addressing diversity are crucial; nonetheless,
 I feel there could be other ways to approach such issues in the
 future, perhaps a student panel composed of the student leaders
 heading the multicultural groups on campus, or even maybe a different
 presentation group. I just hope next year’s Essentail NU has students
 feeling a lot better than this one did.

 Thank you for your time.

 Sincerely,
 Tonantzin Carmona 

 

Please contact Tonantzin Carmona (Active Alianza Member, Class of 2012) at tonantzincarmona2012@u.northwestern.edu for more information.

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