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Thursday, February 22, 2024

We need to get rid of negative stereotyping

By Monica Gutierrez

 Special to CSMS MagazineSkin color can be looked upon as a privilege or a disadvantage in today’s society.  Reading the article entitled White Privilege: Unpacking the invisible knapsack  has shown me the advantage of being white.  I never realized the privilege because I grew up in an area I call the melting pot.  My neighbors consisted of Hippies, Haitians, and Canadians.  Everyone seemed the same or on one accord.  Understanding cultural differences is an important aspect of life to try to eliminate cultural bias.       I am from a Hispanic background. My parents are both Guatemalans.  I was born in Miami, and speak both English and Spanish quite well.  Most of the time people assume I am white because of my fair skin, and light colored hair. They realize that I am not white when I speak in Spanish.  I had an incident when I was in high school. A Teacher asked me where I was from, and I told him that I was born in Miami, but have both parents that are Guatemalans. My teacher was surprised and said “But you are white.” He assumed that all Guatemalans are short and thin, a typical stereotype.       I honesty can say people with lighter skin, who are or who can pass as Caucasian or white, are treated better versus those who have colored skin or are of a different race.  An example of white privileges is when an African American cannot just walk into a high-end store and feel free to browse without being harassed.  On the other hand, a white person can walk into a store and be greeted and be able to browse freely.  I wish we can just break stereotypes and realize what we say and do to others can send out the wrong message.        Making people feel inferior about their skin color should be avoided, and merits should be awarded for the things people do, not because of their race or skin color.  Students have the ability to change things. They need to get an understanding of culture and its differences, not be biased. Colored people have to work harder to prove themselves.  And this kind of thinking should be avoided.NoteMonica Gutierrez is a jounalist, writer and community activist. She lives and works in Miami.Also see: Make our society a better place

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