Column: Chisme Con Carolina


Growing up, I always noticed the way people spoke about me oddly. My skin color and my features were often talked about when they shouldn’t have been, and the manner they approached me, and I realized it. People approached me in a weird manner because I’m Latina.

People would talk about my skin color and my features. Often people for some reason felt like they had the right just to grab my arms and talk about my skin tone and how my skin felt.

Since the age of five, there had been strangers that would tell me about being Latina and how I would look when I was older. They spoke about the way my body would look and how my behavior would be as if I was some character in a game they could customize.

At a young age, I knew the comments were strange, but I assumed this was what people just say about one another.

People would commonly say I was exotic. People asked me to speak Spanish or explain things people found odd about my culture as if it was some party trick.

There have even been times when people talk about wanting mixed kids. It has gone to a point where people find being a minority some trend.

Not until middle school did I realize that people felt the right to speak to me this way was rooted in some weird fetish.

I came to that realization was because of the way the media portrays Latinas. The way certain clothing is advertised, brands, the way they should look or behave, etc.

There are stereotypes of Hispanic/Latina women. Most common is that we have a lot of attitude, the way we dress, and body types.

I’ve had multiple experiences where I become irritated and people will say, “Oh she’s a feisty Latina”. It always sounded so condescending of any emotion I’ve ever had, and it’s just a weird thing to say to anyone.

According to the CDC, women and racial and ethnic minority groups experience a higher burden of sexual violence.

Not only as someone who is female presenting, I have to worry about being taken advantage of for being female, but I have to be cautious and worry if someone’s only perception of me is that I am simply Latina.

This issue has been normalized for far too long and needs to be addressed. Latinas are not some trend or an accessory you can just choose, so stop treating us like one.