Stereotypes Can't Keep Us From Empowering Our Youth

I want our younger generations of Latinos and other minorities to not fall into the trap of what society expects from you

By Erika Lopez
Published on LatinoLA: June 3, 2013

Stereotypes Can't Keep Us From Empowering Our Youth

Stereotypes are an issue, especially today in L.A.

People think that most Latinos are just workers of a lower class, or gang members, alcoholics, party girls, or prison populations. Because of lack in guidance, many Latinos are discriminated against because of these stereotypes.

I am writing this because I to am a Latina, an Afro-Latina to be specific. Personally I do not fit in any of these categories of stereotypes. I fall under a class of Latinos orguollos who comes from a hard-working family and from that hard work many of my family members have achieved educational goals and are teachers and medical professionals.

Recently I was researching a paper for one of my college classes and found that many of the things that the civil rights movements fought for were for our people to. Our generation has suffered in history, especially in education and success, because there have been traps set by society to keep ethnic groups oppressed.

Examples are in the time lines in history from the 1960s to present day. In research I found that the prison system was modeled to take money from public education in certain neighborhoods to fund its multi-billion dollar privatized prison system, CCA. In the certain neighborhoods where many of the minorities reside, citizens had been incarcerated. Also you will find that the schools in these neighborhoods have the least in public education funding.

Each prisoner is worth $47,000 and increases by $18,000 more per year, giving the shareholders of privatized prisons more reason to keep people incarcerated. Statistics will show you that the majority of incarcerated people are black or Hispanic, and deeper research will reveal to you that the majority of those incarcerated people are non-violent offenders.

The purpose for this story to be brought up to you is because I want our younger generations of Latinos and other minorities to not fall into the trap of what society expects from you. I have heard teachers tell me that I would never graduate high school, but I finished early and began working a fulfilling career In healthcare at 18 years old.

I have had people look at me and where I came from and stereotype me as being some low life out in the street, but I am not because I hunger for education and see the roadblocks that are trying to keep me down. I am a proud Afro-Latina that hopes to write about our people's struggles and change negative perspectives against our culture and show America that we are a proud culture and that we are smart. We are not the savages that they make us out to be.

I would like to deliver articles on my research and publish them in magazines to inspire our youth to reach higher and to continue the struggle to free ourselves from oppression. Be an individual and never fall to peer pressures.

People want to forget the past but the past is what reveals the direction to which we want our future to be.

More information on this privatized prison and under-funded education is available to you upon request. My only request is to inform and prevent Latinos and other minorities that we are better than what society thinks us to be, so embrace your freedoms and pursue your goals.

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