As much as I hate to admit it, stereotypes do come from somewhere. But that does not mean that they are true! Often stereotypes help perpetrate negative identities about different groups that are just wrong and hateful. But on a lighter note, sometimes they can be funny. And speaking of funny, here are some stereotypes about Hispanic/Latinx people (myself included) that, in our name, I will try to set straight.
1. We don't all look like Sofia Vergara and Enrique Iglesias.
I mean, we're flattered. Oh, trust me, are we flattered. But not every Hispanic person has long soft dark hair, brown eyes, skin the color mocha, and lips that are devil red as we live la vida loca. On that same note, we don't all have curves for days, with cleavage out the hooha either. We don't all look like those weather girls or those "latin lovers" either.
To be Hispanic or Latinx, you just have to be born in a Hispanic or Latin country, so to look like one, you just have to be one. Many Hispanic people are very fair-skinned with light colored hair. Just the same, many Latinx are dark skinned with afro-textured hair. Regardless of how we look, we are all beautiful as we come from the same ethnicity. Just look at the wonderful, talented, beautiful, sensational Lupita Nyong'o (who is Mexican born).
2. We want to party all the time, party all the time...
I mean, it kinda makes sense. For starters, Ibiza, an island known for crazy partying habits, is off the coast of Spain. Plus, the rules to any decent Hispanic/Latinx party are pretty simple (food/music/drinks). But, you know, we don't always party. We have lives, we have responsibilities, bills to pay, work to do, and school to finish.
So we do what me must, then we party for three days straight. But you know, if we want. Some people just don't like it. That's totally OK; not every Hispanic person is a party person. Chilling on a couch with Netflix and your laptop is just as exciting to us too.
3. We are the dancing Queens/(Kings)
Uhm, no. Dancing is something that must be taught. We aren't "born dancing" or "have the rhythm in our souls." That's garbage. Granted, some people have a natural talent, and that's a wonderful gift. Many people enjoy it and dance often to express that, and that is also wonderful. But there are many styles of dance (flamenco, salsa, bachata, mambo, merenge, rumba, bomba, cumbia, and punta, to name some).
4. We all are Mexican.
If you think this, do me a favor. Open a new tab. Google: Map of Latin America and look at how many other countries there are.
It's not funny either because we take that as a serious offense (even if we're Mexican, because you know, you don't know). Part of the reason we get so serious is partially because we don't all get along! Domicians, Cubans and Puerto Ricans cannot be left alone together because their yells will break a sound barrier. No Central American will think any other Central American is better than his/her patria. And for some reason, no one likes Argentinians. (In my house, during the last world cup when it was Germany vs Argentina, everyone I knew rooted for Germany just because they didn't want Argentina to win).
We may "all be the same," but we are not. We each come from diverse cultural backgrounds, and what binds us is our ethnicity.
5. We're all die-hard Catholics
Actually, there's a significant population of us that are Protestant and Jewish. This probably came about because of Spain, which colonized most of Latin America and wiped out most of the Native life, culture, and religion to enforce their own "correct, Catholic" ways.
6. We're either maids, harlots, drunks, or Latin lovers.
I can't begin to start where this is wrong. But I will. First of all, this stereotype is perhaps one of the most damaging because it creates a perception of us that we have to fight to overcome. It's almost like every time we do something we have to prove that we're not that. If we clean, we're a domestic worker all of a sudden; if we look too good then we're a sex symbol. But if we don't look "as good as we should," then shame on us. We're Hispanic; aren't we supposed to flaunt a little?
No. Anyone has the opportunity and capabilities to be any sort of professional that they want to be. And the media presenting us as one of four roles is damaging to that truth.
7. We have that "fiery" Latin temper
We don't have a temper because we're trying to speak up about something. But we will have a temper if you try to say we have a temper because of our ethnicity.
8. We all eat Mexican Food.
Don't get me wrong, I love my burritos, but Mexican food is not the prime staple of Latin cooking. It's just easier to market to an American audience because of proximity. Does anyone even know how the rest of us eat? Hondurans eat iguanas for crying out loud.
9. We all have accents
Let's make this simple. Some of us do. Some of us don't. Don't expect anything special.
10. We are all over-dramatic.
Oh. Uhm. Ok. So maybe you got me there.