In the last couple of days I have seen circulating in the internet a “wanna be funny video” in which the promoters are “selling” the leasing of Puerto Ricans as “souls of the party,” and Mexicans as landscapers. This is a plain and clear example of negative stereotyping against the Latino community, and it is not only detrimental to the healthy development of the American social body, but also it is clearly opposed to the spirit that inspired the founders of this nation.
People from the Latino communities (fighting against discrimination to access schools, and many other primary needs, as well as leaving in very poor communities), has contributed greatly to the shaping of the United States. We have done much more than amusing our acquaintances, preparing rum, body and insulin shots, and playing the bongos, while screaming “caliente”.
It is clear that our community works hard in United States fields and factories, to contribute positively to the development of our future generations and the country. We have contributed this land with great athletes, which represented us proudly in the World, scientific, and politicians; and through our democratic vision and commitment, we have been a deciding vote in the last four presidential elections.
Sure we Latinos could be loud, sexy and party goers, as the Rent-A-Rican video portrays us, but it is good to note that that is not all what we are. We are happy people who love our families, and raise our kids with a deep sense of loyalty to our roots. The kind of stereotyping bring about by the Rent-A-Rican video does not add anything positive to the social relations in the United States, and at the contrary it contributes to deepen the differences and tensions between the interacting social groups of Americans. As my grandmother (back in the island) always said: “Everything has a place, and a time.”
In the other hand, we are not stupid landscapers, without talent to do anything else. That kind of vision denotes a very short vision of a hard working community. Maybe next time that you seat on your table to comfortably eat your meals; you should take the time to think in all the effort that many under paid and over worked Mexican immigrants (that you always negatively stereotype, and despise) putted in the American fields, so you and everybody else can enjoy those crops.
Our founding fathers envisioned a plural Country, where there were equal rights and opportunities for all and every member of the group; where “we the people” united under the empire of the law, could employ our individual talents for the good of the community. In the knowledge of the fact that it is not by a random odd, that the freedom of speech was introduced in the First Amendment to the Constitution of the United States.
Such principle is paramount in the conformation of any democratic country; but, even when we have to recognize the right of some groups to make such wrong statements, we consider that it is important to set the accent in the right place when the speech is detrimental to the healthy development of our social body, as it is in the case of the racist and stereotypical Rent-A-Rican video.