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Is The U.S. A Utopian Dystopia For Latinos?

We exist and deserve representation because, whether we like it or not, we are intertwined with America's culture.

Is The U.S. A Utopian Dystopia For Latinos?

I am one of the 5% of Hispanics in a high school of more than 2,000 students. We wade through the waters, unnoticed at best. However, at the worst, we are boxed into a lazy student that is into drugs and speaks little to no English. In fact, the Hispanic community is so grossly underrepresented in Johns Creek Highs School, the majority being White and Asian, that I only knew five Hispanics for the majority of my high school career - I am a senior. Our school, though it claims to be "diverse" is nothing more than a bubble-wrapped community where they believe one person of color in a sea of white is diversity, and we are left to suffer amongst them... in silence.

The "Hispanic Heritage Month" at JCHS is underwhelming, with only five questions about Hispanic culture community during one week, but nobody really cares about it. Aside from that, we see nothing more to represent our culture. Mexico is seen as the Day of the Dead country, nothing more to it. And apparently, that one country with it's one tradition is enough to mirror the vastness of all Latin American culture. Spain is lucky sometimes to get something that represents it -- and it is often the one "holiday" like La Tomatina.

JCHS, however, does have Noche Latina and International Night. However, it sticks to everything stereotypical about the Culture -- both of those nights are the white people notion of Hispanic traditions. Noche Latina is filled with people mulling about, judging everything they don't understand. Few are there to learn. Hispanics litter and walk around, trying to get people to ask questions about the country they are from, but they ask people who clearly aren't from any where near Latin America -- habit, I guess. The non-Latinos, of course, don't know and the person moves on, knowledge being on a permanent stasis. Throughout International Night, though popular, nothing is done to spread awareness of Latinos and our existence, as small as it may be. And we remain cloaked in darkness and silence in what was supposed to be a night of cultural awareness.

Though this may look like the rant of a tired Mexican -- which it is -- it is a problem that not only belongs to me, but the whole Hispanic community at JCHS. This is what they had to say:

"I feel like the problem at Johns Creek is bigger than the school trying to make us invisible, but the fact that we, as Latinos, are often portrayed by the media as illegal aliens who happen to be drug dealers while also simultaneously being lazy. And that makes us carry a weight of shame upon our shoulders, and I feel like nobody should go through their existence being ashamed of who they are."

- Melanie Bellamy-Coto (12th grade)

"I definitely feel like JCHS is trying to get rid of us, but in a much more painful than simply not being represented. No, they represent us but in a painful, stereotypical way that leads to so much more stigma against Latinos. For example, Mexicans are showed as drug kings and lords and that is as far as JCHS representation goes. Countries like Belize and Paraguay are just completely erased of the map. It hurts."

- Brian Piñeda (11th grade).

Though JCHS tries, we need to know that as small as we may be, people will know we EXIST, and that we MATTER because we are humans and we deserve to be seen as such -- not only stereotypes.

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
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