Putting people into categories makes it easier to make quick decisions and judgements about the world around us. But it can also isolate and devalue marginalized groups. As a Latino, I’m all too familiar with this phenomenon.
After watching “How to Be a Latin Lover,” I couldn’t help but think that Latinos have been stereotyped in so many different ways it’s hard to know how we’re really perceived. Although this movie pokes fun at the well-known stereotype of the macho man, it stands in stark contrast to the hate speech that’s become pervasive in U.S. politics. Our community was thrown into the political arena – and under the bus – when Donald Trump announced he was running for President. Now, as President, Trump is hell bent on fulfilling his campaign promises to establish a deportation force, defund sanctuary cities, and ban the entry of Muslims to the United States. All of these actions are rooted in stereotypes and xenophobia.
Reality tells a different story about Latinos, one better reflected by protagonist’s sister, who is played by Salma Hayek. Her story is that of the thousands of single mothers who have immigrated to the United States to give their children a better life. They fight to give their children the best education they can afford and pass along the Latino values of hard work, respect for one’s elders, and commitment to family.
Even though most of us aren’t related to “latin lovers,” this movie gives viewers a glimpse of what’s like to grow up in a Latino household. It also presents us in a positive light and rejects the notion that immigrants are a threat to society. Regardless of the stereotypes peddled by the White House, we are hard-working people who have sacrificed a lot for a chance at a better life.
No one should ever be targeted for the color of their skin, how they pray, and whom they love. We must speak out against this sort of discrimination and stereotyping no matter its origin and fight to show who we really are.