Latino pride is something we get attacked for. Most of us would agree, as Latinos that left our native country behind in search for the “American Dream” that some of us encounter, instead, what I like to refer to as, “The American Nightmare.” Being bicultural, I reassure you, is not easy for anyone. I have heard people attacking Latinos who show pride of their roots. It is usually the ignorant, yet repetitive remarks telling us to go back to where we came from, to learn English, or talk about how privileged blacks and brown people are since we have Affirmative Action and there are scholarships available specifically for minorities. Reading the book, Privilege, by Michael S. Kimmel and Abby L. Ferber, I came across an essay written by Tim Wise. Wise is an American anti-racist activist, essayist, and author. In “White Pride, Reverse Racism, and Other Delusions,” he says:
To hear many such students tell it, persons of color are taking up all the financial aid money and receiving unfair preference based solely on the color of their skin. But in truth, less than 4 percent of scholarship money in the United States is represented by awards that consider race as a factor at all, while only 0.25 percent of all undergrad scholarship dollars come from awards that are restricted to person of color alone. What’s more, only 3.5% of college students of color receive any scholarship even partially based on race, suggesting that such programs remain a pathetically small piece of the financial aid picture in this country. (135)
After all, groups representing persons of color were created to address the unique disempowerment experienced by those groups’ members. Blacks, Latinos/Latinas, Asians, and Native Americans have been systematically denied opportunities solely because of their group membership. Their “race” was the basis for housing discrimination, restrictions on educational opportunities, exclusion from jobs, and other forms of mistreatment… And contrary to popular belief, affirmative action programs haven’t altered the fundamental truth that whites continue to dominate in every arena of American life. So, for instance, whites hold more than 90 percent of all the management level jobs in this country, receive about 94 percent of government contract dollars, and hold 90 percent of tenured faculty positions on college campuses. Contrary to popular belief, and in spite of affirmative action programs, whites are more likely than members of any other racial group to be admitted to their college of choice. Furthermore, white men with only a high school diploma are more likely to have a job than black and Latino men with college degrees, and even when they have a criminal record, white men are more likely than black men without one to receive a call back for a job interview, even when all their credentials are the same. Despite comparable rates of school rule infractions, white students are only half to one-third as likely as blacks and Latino youth to be suspended or expelled; and despite higher rates of drug use, white youth are far less likely to be arrested, prosecuted, or incarcerated for a drug offense than are youth of color. So when it comes to jobs, education, housing, contracting, or anything else, people of color are the ones facing discrimination and restricted opportunities, and whites remain on top, making the idea of organizing for our collective interests little more than piling dominance on top of dominance. Not to ensure a place at the table, so to speak, but to secure the table itself and to control who gets to be seated around it for now and always. It is for this reason that white pride is more objectionable than “black pride” or “Latino pride.” In the case of the latter two, those exhibiting pride are not doing so as a celebration of their presumed superiority or dominance over others. If anything, they are celebrating the perseverance of their people against great obstacles, such as those placed in their way by discrimination, conquest, and enslavement. (pp. 134-135)
It is quite refreshing when someone as intellectual and wise as Wise can describe our feelings and struggles even if he is not part of our culture. Our pride is not to boast or give the impression that we think we are better than anyone, is a way of showing that despite everything we’ve undergone, we’re still standing strong. Our pride is ours and it is something no one can take away from us. We preserve our culture in our hearts and will do so until our dying day.
Source: Kimmel S.M., & Ferber, A.L. (2010). Privilege: A Reader (2nd ed.). Philadelphia: Westview Press.
To learn more about Tim Wise, please visit his site at TimWise.org