When We Generalize

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Kelly Osbourne recently made headlines when she made a racial slur about Donald Trump wanting to deport all illegal immigrants, saying, “If you kick every Latino out of this country, then who is going to be cleaning your toilets, Donald Trump?” This really was upsetting to hear, especially as a Latina myself.

I, personally, have never been embarrassed by my China-Latina background. I am very proud of it, in fact. But what really bothers me is the fact that people generalize my Latina side as being Mexican. And to those people, I have a few things to say:
1. I am not Mexican, I am Puerto Rican
2. They are not the same thing. Puerto Rico once was a Spanish colony and the Taino were the native group of the island. Mexico was also colonized by Spanish people, but their indigenous group were the Mayans and Aztecs. So no, you cannot tell me that I am “technically Mexican”. Period.

Generalizations like these start to slip into regular conversations and even become jokes. Take the following map, for example:

Image from Yanko Tsetkov’s Atlas of Prejudice

The author of this illustration uses these stereotypes to show how many of us young (and even adult!) Americans universalize the world around us. Take Mexico, for example (in the above image): “Housekeeping”. It’s incredibly insulting. You know, not all Latinos are housekeepers. Many are doctors, lawyers, politicians, and business owners. The point is that these generalizations are becoming much more common in conversation, and that we, especially teens, need to speak up when we hear them. Because Hispanics aren’t all Mexican, housekeepers, and aren’t born to clean America’s toilets.


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