STEREOTYPES /MONICA GUERRA

THERE ARE MANY STEREOTYPES THAT PEOPLE CREATE FROM RUMORS OR THINGS THEY HAVE SEEN OR HEARD FROM THE MEDIA. PEOPLE LOOK AT ME AND MY BACKGROUND AND ASSUME THINGS. FOR EXAMPLE, MY FATHER IS VENEZUELAN AND MY MOTHER IS COLOMBIAN BUT I WAS BORN IN SAN FRANCISCO. I EMBRACE BOTH OF MY CULTURES, THE SLANG, THE MUSIC, THE FOOD. I AM 110% PROUD OF MY LATINO, NOT HISPANIC, HERITAGE. BUT THE PEOPLE WHO DON’T KNOW MUCH ABOUT MY HERITAGE JUDGE ME IN A NEGATIVE WAY.FOR EXAMPLE, WHEN I TELL PEOPLE MY BACKGROUND RIGHT OF THE BACK THEY ASSUME VENEZUELANS ARE COMMUNIST/SOCIALIST EXTREMISTS DUE TO THE GOVERNMENT THAT IS CURRENTLY RUNNING OUR COUNTRY AND COLOMBIANS AS DRUG DEALERS, OR DRUG MULES. BESIDES MY RACE, I AM PROUD TO BE A BUCCANEER FROM BALBOA HIGH SCHOOL IN SAN FRANCISCO, WHICH HAS A REPUTATION AS A PLACE WHERE YOU GET JUMPED AND SHOT. WHEN I WAS ACCEPTED INTO BALBOA, I THOUGHT THE RUMORS WERE TRUE. BUT AFTER A WHILE, I REALIZED THERE WAS A LOT OF RESOURCES AVAILABLE FOR EVERYONE SUCH AS INTERNSHIPS AND PROGRAMS. BECAUSE I TOOK ADVANTAGE OF ALL THE RESOURCES, I GOT A LOT OF RESPECT FROM MY PEERS AND TEACHERS. BUT WHENEVER I TALKED TO PARENTS WHO KNEW OF MY ACCOMPLISHMENTS AND I TOLD THEM I WAS FROM BALBOA, THEY WERE SURPRISED THAT SOMEONE OF MY CALIBER WAS FROM SUCH A BAD SCHOOL. ITS REALLY UPSETTING TO ME THAT PEOPLE CAN’T SEE BEYOND THE REPUTATION OF THE SCHOOL AND DON’T RECOGNIZE THAT GREATNESS CAN COME FROM THERE. BALBOA HAS GIVEN ME SO MANY OPPORTUNITIES BUT BECAUSE PEOPLE STEREOTYPE IT, IT DOESN’T GET THE CREDIT IT DESERVES. PEOPLE ARE SO BLINDED BY STEREOTYPE THAT STUDENTS ARE MISSING OUT IN OPPORTUNITIES.

FOR YOUTH RADIO I’M MONICA GUERRA, YOU CAN LISTEN TO THIS COMMENTARY AND MORE ON THE WEB AT WWW.YOUTHRADIO.ORG

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