An Issue We Must Fix.

In my first blog post, I talked about how there is colorism within the Latino community. I talked about how the media only shows a specific “type” of Latino. They show the ones with light skin and straight hair. While they don’t show the ones with dark skin and kinky curly hair. I also talked about the common phrase “mejorar la raza” or “fix the race.” I got most of my information from the internet and from my family’s experiences with discrimination. As I was researching, I wasn’t completely satisfied with the information I got. I knew that there was more to learn and understand. So, I did my own research to get more information on people’s personal experiences.

At first, I wasn’t sure how I was going to do this. I couldn’t exactly interview one specific person about this issue because I wanted multiple experiences that people have dealt with discrimination. I came up with doing an online survey and they would fill out with questions I had for them. I made the survey on google forms so it would be accessible to them. I started brainstorming questions for my survey. I knew I didn’t want them to be yes or no questions. They needed to explain their experiences and make it personal. These are the questions I came up with:

  • Have you ever been discriminated against because of how you look by other Latinos? If so, how?

  • Have you been discriminated or “made fun of” because of your looks by family members? If so, how? What did they say? What were they talking about?

  • Have you ever seen anyone be treated differently because of their skin color/looks? Latino to Latino? What happened, where were you, and how did both parties react or respond? (quick summary).

  • Have you ever realized that there was colorism within the community? Do you remember the first time you noticed colorism? Explain your experiences.

  • Have you ever heard of the phrase “mejorar la raza” or “fix the race?” If so, by who, where, and why did they say that, and to who did they say that too? Please explain.

Pie chart showing that everyone who took the survey is Latino

I needed to get my survey out to Latinos of all different backgrounds and ages. I sent it out to kids in my school, outside of school, and a few family members. I got 10 responses, which is a good amount considering the specific group of people I needed to send it to (Latinos). When I got my results back, I was expecting for them to understand where I was getting that and know about the Colorism in our community. I was also expecting for them to say that they have been looked down upon for their dark skin. My expectations were based on articles I read. The one article I read was about how the one Latina’s group of friends would treat someone in their own community, who would also be Latina, different because their skin would be darker. I only heard about  discrimination within the community towards the darker skinned Latinos. This one video I watched was about darker skinned people talk about experiences where they have been discriminated against. The one Dominican woman talked about the phrase “mejorando la raza.” Which means to “advance the race” or to marry someone and have kids with someone who is lighter to make the race “better” because they are lighter.  My survey didn’t exactly reflect this.

As I looked over the responses I received, they didn’t align with all the articles I read and the videos I watched. It was the opposite. Someone responded to the question “Have you ever been discriminated against because of how you look by other Latinos? If so, how?” They responded with “Yes, I have been told I was too white.” While another responded with “I'm a pale Puerto Rican. My Latino peers sometimes never take me seriously because of it. Some think I'm lying and others think I'm so out of touch with my culture because I pass as a "gringa.” They were being teased and looked down upon for their lighter skin. With my previous knowledge and research, they only talked about discrimination to darker Latinos. These peoples’ experiences are telling me that they aren’t dark enough or “Latino” enough.

Responses to the first question on the survey

How would I change this issue within the Latino community? What would be my agent of change? I don’t have an answer or a definite way to change this problem but I have been brainstorming. I am going to inform people. We need to right our wrongs. Members of our community must change how we speak and talk about others. We should all embrace one another for our differences. That’s what makes us all special and unique.

Annotated Bibliography

Comments (3)

Antonia Solar (Student 2021)
Antonia Solar

As a latina, I can relate to a lot of the comments I saw from people who responded to your survey. Does this change what you think about the topic and what you want to do to for your Agent of Change? Maybe you could make a video of Latinos who look different talking about their experiences.

Randy Le (Student 2021)
Randy Le

I respect you for pointing out a message that may be sensitive to you.

I believe that for your agent of change, you could probably show a video or documentary on how color doesn't matter.