The other day in lecture, someone brought up the idea of hierarchies within race due to their skin color. Latinos that are lighter-skinned are more readily accepted into the white culture because in a sense they blend in more. This also made me think of the first day of class where we attempted to define ‘Latin@’ and the discussion of census categories arose. Latinos can be classified as “white,” however this is not how the group is treated. Latinos are marginalized in treated in a discriminatory manner, not one of white status. However, then another issue is of how “light” is still not white thus yielding a question of authenticity and all of the discriminatory notions that permeates within society.
In a research paper I did for another class I came across Ilan Stavans’ article “Living in Another Language” who discusses from his personal experience people’s reactions to being a white- skinned Hispanic. He states how “society in the Americas has been structured by class. And class is often defined by degrees of foreignness. Thus, as a white-skinned Hispanic, I was automatically awarded a higher status, and among the Latino community in New York, that status again - attached to my Jewishness - opened doors to me” (Stavans 166). In my personal experience, I am a light-skinned Latina with a white name. People argue with me and state that I am not in fact Latina and of another ethnicity. But really, what does it matter and whose business is it anyway? Unfortunately, as Stavans indicates it does matter because of society’s perception and the importance placed on appearance.
Reference to: Stavans, Ilan. “Living in Another Language.” New England Review Vol. 22, No. 3 (Summer, 2001), pp. 168-172