It was one of those drab Sundays evenings. I was just going through emotions waiting for Monday to hit the fan. I scanned the TV channels for something worthwhile to keep my attention till bedtime; it was then I stumbled on a soccer match on Univision. Shortly after, it was half-time and I decided to stick around and watch some commercials. In the ten or so minutes I watched, I noticed that not once did I see a dark-skinned person on Univision. I then asked, are there no dark-skinned Latino’s? Well, that is a different discussion for another time.
Which brings me to today’s article. When in was in college for my graduate studies, I knew this undergraduate Mexican guy – Handsome, well-spoken, fun to be around, and always immaculately dressed. Whenever our paths crossed, we took time to catch up and discuss issues affecting our lives . One day, we were having our usual conversation, when he opened up and confided in me thus (I cannot quote him accurately, so I am paraphrasing to convey his narrative) – he lamented that whenever he went anywhere and was trying to socialize with folks (white folk), he got this look of being summarily dismissed as an illegal.
It then occurred to me why he was very particular about his looks; he was trying to project this “I am not here illegally image”. But it broke his heart that no matter what he did, at first sight, he was lumped into this much maligned group – illegal immigrants. Now, hearing this from this fellow was unexpected, because he was basically white (skin tone). He could blend into a crowd of white folks and it never occurred to me that this guy could be a victim of stereotyping. The average black person out-there believes the major yardstick of being singled out for discrimination is your skin-tone – it’s what makes you stand out like a sore thumb. So I ask, is the plight of the average Latino in the USA the same as an African American?