“You may prefer to simply avoid all the arguing, especially since it’s over a bunch of lies. If so, allow me to share. The video is of some really angry guys in an argument with the Senator because, in spite of McCain’s pandering to white nationalism in ads that promise he’ll “complete the dang fence,” undocumented immigrants, at least according to said angry gentlemen, keep coming, and they’re coming to steal valuable benefits like welfare, social security, and medicaid. The argument should serve as a demonstration of why Republicans should avoid inviting unwanted guests to their (Grand Old) party just because they’re short on the political equivalent of green bean casserole and artichoke dip. Once invited, it’s hard to get them to leave. In fact, since they’re not really there to make friends, they have nothing to lose in taking over the joint. But while I found McCain’s frustrated reaction mildly amusing, I was much more interested in this town hall argument as a strong example of the irrationality of racism. The angry guys attended the meeting to give Senator McCain a hard time. And why? First, they want a fence and tougher enforcement. Senator McCain, at least according to his own report, won $600 million in appropriations in order to build a section of fence (or maybe it’s a banana). But they want more because they believe a flood of immigrants is still coming over the border. The reality, as I’m guessing you know, is that this isn’t true. Net immigration from Mexico is about zero at the moment mainly because of our bad economy. The lack of jobs in the U.S. is what’s keeping Mexican workers at home where, I’m guessing, it’s easier to be unemployed in a place where you’re not being demonized and persecuted. The fact that workers are staying home in Mexico should tip us off to an obvious fact about Mexican undocumented immigration into the U.S. That is, that undocumented immigrants aren’t coming to get “stuff.” They’re coming to work.”—Scot Nakagawa, “McCain’s War,” changelab.com 2/22/13
Why are we so surprised? Latin@s, Reproductive Health & Abortion
from my media justice article this week.
There are so many stereotypes that people have about Latin@s, our sexual experiences, practices, and decisions. As a member of this community and someone from the Caribbean I have a few ideas on how these stereotypes have emerged and how they have been linked to reproductive health and justice. It is clear from reports by the National Latina Institute for Reproductive Health and the California Latinas for Reproductive Justice that we are collectively working to change and challenge these stereotypes. A recent report by the National Latina Institute for Reproductive Health http://latinainstitute.org/Latinopoll demonstrates that a majority of Latin@s (over 70%) believe that a woman has the right to make her own personal, private decisions about abortion without politicians interfering.
Remembering how I was trained, by racially white professors and Latin@ ones, the idea of “cultural values” that Latin@s have and hold true I continue to struggle with. Some of these “cultural values” are connected to ideas that stem from colonization, others from social sciences such as anthropology and sociology where our communities were “observed” and have become truth we are continuing to deconstruct, challenge, and recreate. If you’re not clear on what some of the texts that created this about us consider Oscar Lewis’ La Vida, and Daniel Patrick Moynihan’s The Negro Family (because Latin@s come in all colors!) to start.
And yes, there are times when I’m being flip in this article, something I don’t often do, so hopefully you can pick up on the sarcasm (a coping mechanism for many of us myself included) and differentiate between that and the larger topic/ideas.
Top Stereotypes On Latin@s connected to Reproductive Health
Stereotype: Latin@s are all Catholic.
No we aren’t. Many of us may identify with and practice Catholicism, but many of us do not as well. Latin@s are a diverse group and assuming we all hold the same spiritual beliefs and practices is erroneous. The history of Catholicism in the Americas is connected to exploration, conquest, colonization, and revolution. This is why we see many religions that are connected to Catholicism but also connected to indigenous and African ritual practices (when this occurs it’s called syncretism) and religions, such as Candomblé, Santería, and Vodou. All of these religions Latin@s are known to practice. We also practice a range of spiritual belief systems that many of you have heard before such as Judaism, Islam, and some of us are even atheists. Not all of these religious belief systems have the same perspective on the body, reproduction, family, contraceptives, pregnancy, termination, and power. To ignore this is to ignore our humanity.
Stereotype: Latin@s value family soooooooo much.
Sure we do, but not any more than any other ethnic group. The fact that this has been labeled a “cultural value” and the terms familialismo and familialism has been overly used to understand and connect with Latin@s is a testament to how this has become a stereotype that is systemic. What this “cultural value” ignores is the chosen family that many of us create and the extended family we go to seeking support and help because we are under-resourced. It also ignores the abuses, assaults, violence, rape, and throwing-away* of children that does occur in some Latin@ families. This stereotype is the reason why we rationalize the high teen birthrate among Latin@s without being critical of systemic issues at play. There is also limited examination into how a pregnancy for a young Latin@ may be connected to safety. Some youth do carry a pregnancy to term so that they can give the illusion they are heterosexual as so many people assume only heterosexual people become pregnant and want families.
Stereotype: So many Latin@s are (undocumented) immigrants.
And so many of us are not. How quickly we forget that what we know today as the US-Mexico border was more Mexico than US. To this day I meet people who have no clue that Puerto Rico is a colony of the US and thus we are “granted” US citizenship. Plus, many folks have no idea that Cuban immigrants are granted refugee status which offers benefits some US citizens have a tremendous challenge accessing. All the stories of “terror babies” and“anchor babies” portrays undocumented immigrants in the US are primarily Latin@s. What this stereotype is really connected to when it comes to reproductive health and justice are ideas that people who migrate from the Americas or Caribbean are so “traditional” (read: conservative, primitive, and sheltered) in comparison to folks in the US. If these are the stereotypes (as if none of the cities in any of the countries in the Americas have wealth of any sort similar to capitalist ideas found in the US, or that people don’t evolve if they live in a particular part of the world) that people hold and connect to our ideas of reproductive health and justice, the “rational” connection would be that ideas of abortion, contraceptives, and family planning are what we in the US would consider “oppressive” and “patriarchal,” and “un-feminist” which automatically means anti-choice. This is also where an assimilationist perspective would chime in and say “Latin@s are pro-choice because they’ve lived in the US and been exposed to modern ideas.” Yeah, this is condescending and leads to the next stereotype.
Stereotype: Assimilation and/or Acculturation is why we see Latin@s more pro-choice
Yeah, not really. This ignores the fact that people all over the world, not just Mexico, Central, South America and the Spanish-speaking Caribbean have been practicing herbal remedies and care for terminating a pregnancy. Maybe they don’t call it “abortion” or “terminating a pregnancy.” Maybe they call it “making your period/menstruation come.” Let’s not try to start history when the US comes into play. Let’s remember that many countries existed long before they were “discovered” and that starting history at a particular time/place may erase and ignore a long history and legacy of supporting women, families, and choice. Many folks resist and actively challenge assimilation and acculturation because they choose to hold onto what they know and value. Others openly begin the assimilation and acculturation process and that is their choice, but it must not ever be a requirement, especially for self-determination.
Stereotype: Latin@s are curvy and voluptuous and “naturally” built for giving birth.
Our bodies must be made for breeding if we are built in a particular way. Aside from this being so closely connected to eugenics, it’s ridiculous. Just as we are diverse in belief systems we are also diverse in body shape and size. This stereotype assumes that a “real” Latin@ looks a particular way, which always leads to a problem of exclusion. Through migration, slavery, exploration, and travel there has been inter-mixing of communities and cultures and to assume we look a particular way erases this history.
Stereotype: Latin@s get sterilized so they don’t have to worry about pregnancy, so why would they care about abortion?
Now this idea may not be the most popular, but the stereotype is connected to many things: sterilization rates in the US (forced and consensual), assumption that sterilization is an approved from of contraception (which connects to stereotype one about religion), and a disconnect to the topic of abortion. Without going too in depth on the history of forced sterilization in the US in communities of Color and those with different abilities, I will share that longitudinal research has been conducted with Puerto Rican women who have grandmothers and mothers who were forcibly sterilized and daughters have chosen this method as a form of contraception. Author and scholar Iris Ofelia López uses the term “agency within constraints” in her book Matters of Choice: Puerto Rican Women’s Struggle for Reproductive Freedom, to describe how our various identities are connected to the systems of oppression we live in and how we find self-determination to survive and live the lives we desire for ourselves. Some people do choose sterilization as their contraceptive method of choice, but that does not mean we all do. Choosing this method also does not mean we completely disconnect from the communal struggle and desire to live life on our own terms and to experience pleasure and happiness. Just because someone chooses a particular option does not mean they are instantly no longer a member of their community.
Stereotype: Latin@s are hyper-sexual and passionate.
No wonder we have so many high rates of unplanned pregnancies because it is believed we are always having (unprotected) sex all.the.time. Just look at the way we dance, or how we get dressed to go out, we are exuding sensual passion we want to share consensually with another person. These stereotypes make Latin@s seem as though we are always already sexually available (and consenting). Some of us do have active sexual experiences on a daily basis; some of us are still virgins; and some of us experience times of celibacy and abstinence throughout our lives (which is closer to a inter/national “norm” if there is one). I struggle to think of one current media representative that is Latina that we see who does not support this image. Now, this may be true for many, but offering only a one-dimensional representation supports this stereotype and some may read that as permission to base ideas on our reproductive health and choices.
Stereotype: Latin@s are mostly heterosexual, that’s how people get pregnant anyway!
It’s a struggle for many providers, educators, and those of us working in the field of sexuality and sexual health to actively remember that we do not need to identify people based on their behaviors alone. Asking folks to self-identify also contributes to providing them care and support. This stereotype is connected to ideas that the Latin@s who experience pregnancy are exclusively heterosexual and thus they are not questioned beyond current partner status. This stereotype impacts the services Latin@s (and all pregnant people) experience and need. Yes, sperm and a mature egg are needed for pregnancy to occur, but assuming that those people who contribute those are always going to be male and identify as men and female and identify as women is wrong. This excludes intersex people and creates more barriers for transgender people and those who identify as gender queer to really find quality reproductive health care.
*”throw-away” is a term used to describe youth who are homeless or in the foster care system who were “thrown out” of their home of origin. This may happen for various reasons which may include an unplanned pregnancy, coming out as not heterosexual, identifying as transgender, identifying a family member as an abuser, to name a few.
“Latin people we've had a very violent journey. The Spaniards came, ya know, and they were like dudes who very horny and they didn't bring women like the English did. They saw those Indian hunnies, and they were like, you know, they were doing the beast with two backs. And they brought us syphilis cus Europeans were having sex with sheep, and that's how we got syphilis and gonorrhea. And then they brought African slaves into the mix and then you added that to our music, to our history. And there was a lot of self-hate and a lot of violence, but somehow through the couple hundred years we are the future of the world. Like, ya know, we have all the genes of everybody put into our faces and in our bodies. Regardless of what this country tells you and the negative images you see everywhere, we have a big hand in making this country what it is.”—John Leguizamo speaks on colonialism and the future of latin@s in HBO’s documentary, The Latino List.
Arnold Schwarzenegger Fathered A Son With Latina Maid?
I googled specifically because I had the intense conviction that the housemaid in question could be a Latina woman.
I cannot even begin to decode the many layers of fail in this. The eternal invisibility of Latin American women in the North. The eternal status of Latinas as “good enough to be housekeepers or nannies”, the demonization of immigrant women who work as domestic labor. And now this woman who is going to have to endure it all, every stereotype and stigma carried on her back.
And just think for a second how this is not the usual tale of infidelity involving the regular trope of powerful male politicians. Think of the power disparity and how little options a Mexican housekeeper might have. How consent becomes blurred and it involves not only consent during the act but also the woman’s employment, perhaps her immigration status, her future in the country (and the future of her child(ren)), etc…
Infidelity obviously wasn’t enough for the Governor. He had to exercise the worst kind of power a person in his position has access to and make sure it’s kept hidden and hushed.
To all my Latin@s!!
***I need to compile a list of famous DARK SKINNED Latin@s.***
Necesito entrar un proyecto sobre estereotipos para mi clase de espanol. Ayudame por favor?
I have Joan Smalls and Sessilee Lopez, but I need some REALLY dark skinned folk so I can make my point. Inbox me or reply to this post.
And PLEASE SIGNAL BOOST to your followers; anybody can help!