News

Latinx Representation in the Media

By Jimena Somilleda

Latinx representation has been lacking in the modern media for a long time in Hollywood, in journalism, and in the news. This underrepresentation of Latinxs in the media is an inaccurate portrayal of the presence and impact that Latinxs have in the United States, while also emphasizing negative stereotypes and colorism. The underrepresentation of Latinxs in American media perpetuates a certain standard of Latinidad and beauty which can cause identity issues within the Latinx and Hispanic community. 

As shown by the 2020 U.S. Census Bureau, the Latinx community is one of the fastest-growing communities in the United States. Despite this, the representation of Latinxs in media such as film, television, and journalism has remained stagnant since the twentieth century (Martinez 2021). As shown in a report on diversity in Hollywood by the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA), Latinxs are actively working in film and TV; however, only less than 13% of all Latinx actors and entertainers get hired (Martinez 2021). A popular thought among many casting directors in Hollywood is that Latinxs are foreigners. This perception of Latinxs turns many directors and networks away from hiring Latinx talent, especially when their target audience is the American general public.  

The lack of representation of the Latinx community in mainstream American media disperses an inaccurate portrayal of Latinxs in the United States. The underrepresentation of Latinxs in the media sends out the idea that few Latinxs are in the United States. When the general American public is under the impression that the Latinx community is outnumbered, it perpetuates the idea that they are a marginalized minority with little to no impact in their communities. This notion is false, as exemplified by influential Latinxs who are changing their communities, such as Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio Cortez, Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor, Bad Bunny, and many more (NPR 2021). 

The minimal representation of the Latinx community in the United States also tends to perpetuate colorism to and from the Latinx community. In many instances, Latinxs in the media are frequently fair-skinned white Latinxs. While the inclusion of Latinxs is progressive, it neglects indigenous and Afro-Latinx communities, consequently setting a eurocentric beauty standard for the Latinx community(Castillo 2021). When Latinxs see this, it causes identity confusion and disconnects when one cannot relate to what the media is demonstrating to be Latinx. For example, in Alfonso Cuarón’s film, Roma, the lead role was given to indigenous Mexican actress Yalitza Aparicio. The film’s release received a lot of backlash and criticism for casting an indigenous woman in the leading role (Castillo 2021). Many Latinxs all over the world have indigenous roots and embrace an indigenous culture. To become aware of all of the criticism towards the casting of an indigenous actress in an Oscar-winning film can influence someone into thinking they don’t fit in within their community. 

Many instances of misrepresentation exist of the Latinx community. These misrepresentations set a standard of what Latinx is supposed to look like despite the vast diversity within the Latinx community. There is little representation of the Latinx community in mainstream media, and its ramifications have been evident.

Works Cited

Castillo, Monica. “The Limitations of ‘Latinidad’: How Colorism Haunts ‘in the Heights.’” NPR

NPR, 15 June 2021, https://www.npr.org/2021/06/15/1006728781/in-the-heights-latinidad-colorism-casting-lin-manuel-miranda. 

Martinez, Vanessa, and Aida Ylanan. “Long Underrepresented in Film and TV, Latinos Are 

Falling Further Behind.” Los Angeles Times, Los Angeles Times, 13 June 2021, https://www.latimes.com/entertainment-arts/tv/story/2021-06-13/latino-gap-representation-tv-movies-roles-writers-directors-executives. 

Press, The Associated. “The Lack of Latinos in Media Could Affect How Others View Them, the 

Government Says.” NPR, NPR, 22 Sept. 2021, https://www.npr.org/2021/09/21/1039494354/government-report-media-hispanic-latinos. 

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Mental Health in the Latinx Community

By Jimena Somilleda

Within the Latinx Community, mental health has been deemed a sensitive topic with a lot of stigmas and controversy surrounding it. As of 2020, only 33% of Latinx people with a mental illness receive treatment each year (Cardinal Innovations Healthcare). There are many factors that contribute to many Latinxs not receiving the proper mental health treatment. Some of those factors include the stigma that surrounds mental health, language barriers, Hispanic culture, and even religion (Morales-Brown). These factors pose a barrier for many Latinxs in receiving the mental health treatment and help that they need.

In the Latinx community, discussing negative emotions and problems with mental health is not a common occurrence. It is customary in the Latinx community to sweep negative feelings and mental health concerns under the rug and carry on with this weight. To admit that one needs mental help in the Latinx community is to say that there was an error somewhere along the way that prevents both the individual and the Hispanic and Latinx community to move forward, especially in a country where the Latinx/Hispanic community is a minority. There is a popular misconception that struggling with mental health is an indication of a weakness that brings shame to a family (Cardinal Innovations Healthcare). Because of this stigma, many Latinx people struggling with mental health refuse to seek the help they need.

Besides the widespread stigma that surrounds mental health, there are many other impediments that prevent and discourage many Latinx people from seeking the mental help they need. A huge hurdle that prevents many from seeking help is the issue that arises from a language barrier. In the United States, only 5.5% of psychiatrists offer bilingual help, making it even harder for many to seek help in their native language (Cardinal Innovations Healthcare).

Spanish-speaking and bilingual psychological professionals are an essential part of reversing the stigma around mental health and providing the help that many need. When people are unable to express their negative feelings and emotions it discourages them from seeking help and treatment.

Hispanic culture also plays a role in preventing many Latinx people from receiving the mental health that they need. There are many fundamental values that are centric to a Hispanic culture that perpetuate the stigma around mental health. Such values include machismo, familismo, and religion. Machismo is a value that upholds patriarchal ideas and instills toxic masculinity among many Latinx men. Familismo is the value that emphasizes the importance of family above all else. In addition, many popular Hispanic religions are centered around being holy and pure for God (Morales-Brown). All of these values in some way, contribute to the growing issue of mental health within the Latinx community. These morals and values emphasize neglecting one’s own needs as a matter of humility and selflessness (Morales-Brown). Failing to attend to one’s own needs furthers the severity of mental health that is plaguing the Hispanic/Latinx community.

Mental health is a serious matter that affects many Hispanic and Latinx individuals. Seeking help and proper treatment is oftentimes perceived as shameful and taboo. Additionally, Hispanic/Latinx culture, language barriers, and the stigma around mental health make it even harder to receive help. It’s time to rethink the way mental health is perceived and encourage reaching out for help when needed without the fear of feeling “othered”.

Works Cited

Campbell, Glenn. “Overcoming Mental Health Stigma in the Latino Community.” Consult QD, Consult QD, 21 Nov. 2017,

https://consultqd.clevelandclinic.org/overcoming-mental-health-stigma-in-the-latino-com munity/.

Cardinal Innovations Healthcare — July 10. “Cultural Differences Can Prevent Latinos from

Asking for Help: Blog.” Cultural Differences Can Prevent Latinos from Asking for Help | Blog, 14 Oct. 2021,

https://www.cardinalinnovations.org/Resources/Blog/Cultural-Differences-Can-Prevent- Hispanics-Latinos-from-Asking-for-Help.

Cardinal Innovations Healthcare — July 16. “Rethinking Mental Health in the Latino

Community.” Cardinal Innovations Healthcare, 1 May 2020, https://www.cardinalinnovations.org/Resources/Blog/Rethinking-Mental-Health-in-the- Latino-Community.

Morales-Brown, Louise. “What Role Does Hispanic Culture Play in Depression?” Medical News

Today, MediLexicon International, https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/depression-in-hispanic-culture.

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Voting in Local Elections

By Jimena Somilleda  

On Tuesday, November 2, Georgia will be holding its local elections for many different positions, including mayor of Atlanta. Citizens will vote on other official positions including mayors, city council members, sheriffs, school board officials, and many others. While these municipal elections are some of the most important elections for the citizens of Georgia, many are unaware of the direct impact the results of these elections have on our local communities. The results from local elections have important consequences. They determine which local officials will have the power to pass policies that have a direct influence on the day-to-day lives of their constituents. Additionally, local elections serve as a chance to implement necessary reform for the success of a community.

Municipal elections are crucial to the attempts to implement reform and make strides towards a community’s progress. With the mainstream coverage and hype over national elections, local elections often become forgotten about and downplayed.  However, it is essential to consider the impact that municipal elections have on communities. Municipal elections elect local officials that have a direct role in making the legislation to tackle issues that many citizens consider problems within their communities (Mathews 2021). Local officials are the ones behind the legislation passed that impacts citizens in their everyday lives.  When issues arise, it is up to these local officials to fulfill their duty and implement legislations that resolve these issues. Because of this, it is viral to vote in elections that select local officials to implement local policy that impacts a community on a closer scale.

Voting in local elections is also one of the significant ways in which citizens of a community can make their voices heard. When there are many issues and concerns that need to be addressed, local officials spearhead movements to implement different policies to tackle a community’s problems. Because of this, it is essential to elect officials that have the best intentions and ideas to better the community. Additionally, local officials are more accessible to their constituents. Citizens tend to have an easier time contacting local officials to voice their concerns or bring attention to particular topics (Sherwood 2021). For instance, if a parent has a concern about their child’s education, it is much easier to get in contact with their school district school board official than the U.S. Secretary of Education, and their concerns could be easily resolved. Voting in local elections is crucial to movement in voicing the needs and concerns of a specific community.

Local elections often don’t receive the same media coverage as national elections. Despite this, local elections are even more impactful to communities. It is a civic duty to vote in local elections to elect candidates who will listen to their communities and make the necessary change they wish to see in their community. To find the nearest polling station to make your voice heard in Georgia, visit mvp.sos.ga.gov.

 

Works Cited

“Georgia Elections, 2021.” Ballotpedia, https://ballotpedia.org/Georgia_elections,_2021. 

Kasey Mathews | published Mar. 18th, 2021. “The Importance of Local Elections.” Reporter

https://reporter.rit.edu/features/importance-local-elections. 

Matthew Gross “The Importance of Local Elections.” Harvard Political Review, 24 Nov. 2020, 

https://harvardpolitics.com/the-importance-of-local-elections/.

Serenasherwood, and Aug 28 serenasherwood 11:54 pm. “More than Just a Mayor: The Importance of Voting in Local Elections.” SJP, 28 Aug. 2021,

https://yaledailynews.com/sjp/2021/08/28/more-than-just-a-mayor-the-importance-of-voting-in-local-elections/. 

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Latinx Growth in Metro Atlanta

By Jimena Somilleda

As of 2020, metro Atlanta is one of the fastest-growing regions for Latinx growth. Over 49% of all foreign-born residents in metro Atlanta identify as Hispanic and/or Latinx. According to data from the U.S. Census Bureau, between 2000 and 2010, metro Atlanta’s Latinx population grew from 268,851 to 547,400. The dramatic increase in growth within the Latinx community has proven to have a powerful economic, cultural, and social influence on the city of Atlanta.

The Census of 2020 goes beyond to demonstrate that the Hispanic/Latinx community continues to grow in the greater metro Atlanta area. After analyzing the data gathered from the 2010 and 2020 Census, Atlanta saw a 31% increase in the Hispanic population in just   10 years. The tremendous amount of growth within the Latinx community is due to the ever-growing business scene in the Atlanta metropolitan area. The metro Atlanta region has quickly become a hub for business that attracts a lot of promising job opportunities. The rise of job opportunities in the area has influenced the growing presence of Latinx people in the region. It is expected that if the trend of Latinx growth continues, in 2040 metro Atlanta will be home to over 820,000 Hispanics  and Latinx people, making metro Atlanta one of the fastest-growing regions for the Hispanic/Latinx population.

The heavy and increasing presence of Hispanics in metro Atlanta has brought about a boom in Latinx-owned businesses that contribute to the local economy. As more and more Hispanic and Latinx migrants settle in the metro Atlanta area, they establish their own businesses that spread their culture to a majority Anglo culture. Latinx culture has snuck its way into mainstream gastronomy trends, entertainment, and recreation in the greater Atlanta area. This creates an appreciation and certain level of admiration for the growing Hispanic population in the area. The cooperation of Hispanic and Latinx businesses in metro Atlanta is contributing to a growing presence and empowerment of Latinx and Hispanic residents. This newly found empowerment inspires movements for Latinx and Hispanic residents to run for elected office positions and advocate for needs of the growing Latinx and Hispanic populations in the area.

The growing Latinx and Hispanic population in metro Atlanta makes this region a focal point for a marginalized group. It’s an opportunity for Hispanics and Latinx people to thrive, establish  businesses, and advocate for their communities. The quick growth of the Latinx population in metro Atlanta demonstrates the impact of the Latinx and Hispanic community in the United States.

Works Cited:

https://atlantaregional.org/news/workforce-economy/arc-regional-snapshot-growth-strong-metro- atlantas-hispanic-latino-communities/

https://www.thrillist.com/lifestyle/atlanta/latino-owned-businesses-in-atlanta-how-to-support https://33n.atlantaregional.com/data-diversions/national-hispanic-heritage-month-regional-popul ation-trends

 

NOTE: The opinions expressed in this blog are the opinions of the author only. It is not to be assumed that the opinions are those of GALEO or the GALEO Latino Community Development Fund. For the official position on any issue for GALEO, please contact Jerry Gonzalez, CEO of GALEO at jerry@galeo.org

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Spanglish Between Generations

By Jimena Somilleda

As more and more first-generation Latinx Americans continue to grow up in the United States, Spanglish continues to develop. Spanglish is a recent linguistic phenomenon that blends grammar, syntax, and slang of both English and Spanish. In more recent times, Spanglish has been perceived as a fake, Americanized version of Spanish and has posed the question: is Spanglish a valid language? Spanglish speakers who were raised in the United States make the argument that Spanglish is a newly reformed version of Spanish. On the other hand, Spanish speakers who were raised outside of the United States tend to reject the validity of Spanglish and make the claim that Spanglish is an indication of lack of knowledge in the Spanish language. Many linguists trace Spanglish back to the habit of code-switching which is the tendency to seamlessly switch between English in Spanish. While some may look at this as uneducated, many perceive this linguistic development as a stride towards a progressive and ever-changing Latinx culture. 

Speaking Spanglish became popularized with Chicanos and has bled into other Hispanic and Latinx communities present in the United States. This new dialect came about from the blending of English and Spanish to communicate amongst a totally new and unique generation of Latinxs. The incorporation of both English and Spanish vocabulary in the same sentence and even mixing of everyday words such as “parquear”, “troca”, and “lonche” have caused controversy among generations of Latinx-Americans. 

In mainstream America, many younger generations of Latinxs are speaking more and more Spanglish. This is in part due to the fact that many are raised speaking Spanish at home and English at school. However, this is perceived by many as a sign of a lack of education and class. Older generations of Latinxs in the U.S. resent this development to their language, claiming it is the American colonization of their native tongue. Among older generations, Spanglish is seen as the white-washing and simplification of their language, which serves to explain their disdain towards this linguistic development. This is made evident with the controversy surrounding Spanglish terms such as “Latinx” because it is seen as an unnecessary change to the language. 

To counter this argument, younger generations of Latinxs are speaking Spanglish more fluently in order to accommodate for the influence that the majority Anglo culture in the United States has on their traditional Latinx and Hispanic heritage. Among younger Latinx-Americans, Spanglish is a unique form of linguistic self-expression that blends pivotal parts of two distinct cultures. Over the years, Spanglish has become more politicized, but it seems that younger Spanglish speakers defend this new Spanish dialect and support its development. Spanglish is becoming popular among the younger generation because it is diverging away from gendered nouns and pronouns and even introduces new terms that describe the first-generation Latinx-American experience. These characteristics of Spanglish make it more inclusive to the younger generation of Latinos while still keeping in touch with their cultural roots through language. 

Despite the ongoing controversy surrounding Spanglish and its validity as a language, many can agree on the fact that Spanglish is a new development to what can be considered an ancient language. More than that though, Spanglish is an attempt to hold on to tradition and carry it into a generation of diasporic Latinxs. The blending of two distinct languages and the habit of code-switching is an attempt to hold on to a language from a culture shared at home, while generations continue to prosper in a distinct American culture.

Works Cited

https://www.panoramas.pitt.edu/opinion-and-interviews/spanglish-validity-spanglish-language

https://prizedwriting.ucdavis.edu/spanglish-language-chicanos

https://www.nytimes.com/1997/03/28/opinion/is-spanglish-a-language.html

NOTE: The opinions expressed in this blog are the opinions of the author only. It is not to be assumed that the opinions are those of GALEO or the GALEO Latino Community Development Fund. For the official position on any issue for GALEO, please contact Jerry Gonzalez, CEO of GALEO at jerry@galeo.org

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Classism in Education

By Jimena Somilleda

Classism is defined as the prejudice against or in favor of people of a certain societal status. In recent years, classism has become more and more prevalent in our everyday lives, including education. This has created an unequal educational system that favors wealthy communities and gives students of a lower income a huge disadvantage. Classism in the education system can be measured using different factors, such as: availability of resources, students’ internet dependency, and students’ lives beyond high school graduation. These manifestations of classism highlight and perpetuate the disparities among different social classes. 

The distinctions between affluent students from well-off districts and students from lower-income districts are evident in many aspects of academia. For example, students from school districts located in more affluent districts tend to perform significantly better on standardized tests such as the SAT or the ACT. This is due to the fact that these students have access to resources such as private tutors, expensive practice programs, technology, etc. On the contrary, students from less affluent communities present lower test scores. This is a result of their lack of expensive resources such as tutors and learning programs. Consequently, these students aren’t performing very well academically, in the classroom, or on test scores. In addition, more affluent school districts receive a substantial amount of funding from grants and loans, which permits their students to access tools, programs, and resources available to them to help these students gain a lead in academic success. 

Classism has snuck its way into our education systems in ways that make it seem almost invisible. Another way in which classism is present in education is the recent trend of internet dependency. This was made especially evident after the COVID-19 pandemic put a halt to in-person instruction and made the transition to virtual learning. School districts located in areas that are more well-off have access to technology that enables a different kind of learning experience. This better learning experience will catapult the students to success. On the contrary, many students who aren’t from an affluent school district will oftentimes struggle to get their hands on a computer to complete their routine homework assignments. School districts, administrators, and teachers are indulging ignorance when assigning routine online homework and study material. In doing so, some students are able to get ahead while many may fall behind. 

The classism in education doesn’t stop after obtaining a high school diploma. On the contrary, classism becomes magnified in higher education. Colleges and universities have become a manifestation of classism, especially with the growing dependency on technology and the societal pressures associated with college life. Essential tools and resources needed to make it through the challenging process of getting a degree are oftentimes very expensive or reserved for a select few, leaving many students at a huge disadvantage on their scholarly journey. Colleges and universities nationwide utilize online homework programs and requirements of purchasing a textbook. Besides this, they also use expensive housing, meal plans and strict attendance policies to name a few examples of devices that can be seen as inherently classist. These examples oftentimes pose a challenge to many students and places lower-income students at a disadvantage. Post-secondary institutions are progressing in their learning experiences and teaching methods, but in doing so, they are displacing and disregarding the circumstances of low-income students. 

Classism has maneuvered its way into our education systems and its influence has raised red flags among lower-income students and communities. To prevent the impacts of classism in education it is important to consider its impact on lower-income students. It is also imperative to consider how classism impairs their abilities to continue learning. Making progress towards equal opportunity for all students is seen as an elusive goal because equal opportunity does not always mean equal achievement.  It is important to hold academic institutions accountable and call out these institutions of oppression to make strides towards a more equitable future with equal opportunities for achievement. 

NOTE: The opinions expressed in this blog are the opinions of the author only. It is not to be assumed that the opinions are those of GALEO or the GALEO Latino Community Development Fund. For the official position on any issue for GALEO, please contact Jerry Gonzalez, CEO of GALEO at jerry@galeo.org

 

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The Haitian Immigration Crisis

By Jimena Somilleda

In recent weeks, thousands of Haitian immigrants have crossed the Rio Grande between Ciudad Acuña and Del Rio in hopes of seeking asylum in the United States. Mass migration efforts spiked in lieu of the assassination of Haitian president Jovenel Moïse in July 2021 and after the strike of a catastrophic earthquake. However, when migrants from Haiti and other countries arrived at the Texas-Mexico border, they were met with U.S. Border Patrol authorities on horseback armed with whips. Currently, there are more than 10,000 Haitian immigrants detained at the U.S. – Mexico border awaiting deportation as efforts to crack down on the border intensify.

U.S. officials at the border are quickly trying to process the migrants and asylum seekers detained at the border. Meanwhile, in Mexico, authorities are enforcing strict immigration protocols in attempts to prevent more migrants from approaching the U.S. Border. As of now, there are thousands of migrants and asylum seekers, many of them Haitian, being detained in between the U.S. and Mexico. They currently face the decision of staying in Mexico or turning themselves in to U.S. officials and being deported back to their home nations.

After Haiti’s devastating earthquake in 2010, the United States granted temporary protected status (TPS) to Haitian migrants, but the Trump administration let this policy expire. The Biden administration renewed this after the assassination of President Jovenel Moïse and the recent earthquake that wreaked havoc on Haiti. Some migrants were able to obtain TPS on the claim of asylum, but some weren’t as fortunate. Many migrants from Haiti were detained and put  in planes to be deported back to Haiti immediately. Many Haitian migrants however, crossed the border, and at one point more than 10,000 migrants established a massive encampment under a bridge in Del Rio, Texas.

As many Haitian migrants continue to cross the Texas-Mexico border, U.S. Border Patrol Officials were waiting on horseback, using whips to round up Haitian migrants and shouting “Let’s go! Get out now! Back to Mexico!”. Many inhumane and violent crimes have been committed against migrants and asylum seekers by Border Patrol officers, despite Biden’s promise to implement more humane immigration policies and practices. Pictures of U.S. officials on horses, rounding up migrants, have gone viral and have caused an uproar of backlash from the general public.

What is occurring in the southern border of the United States has brought attention to the inhumane and unjust immigration practices implemented by American officials. Many have claimed these practices to be fueled by racism and hatred. Regardless, it is important to consider that many of these migrants are making this life-threatening trek in hopes of a better life in the United States. The events seen at the border are hateful and unnecessary. Something must be done to end this violence.

NOTE: The opinions expressed in this blog are the opinions of the author only. It is not to be assumed that the opinions are those of GALEO or the GALEO Latino Community Development Fund. For the official position on any issue for GALEO, please contact Jerry Gonzalez, CEO of GALEO at jerry@galeo.org

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A Closer Look into Hispanic Heritage Month

By Alba Villarreal

It is Hispanic Heritage Month (or “HHM”), a month that celebrates the culture, history, and pride within the Hispanic community. As our community celebrates throughout the months of September and October, it is important that we highlight the history of this holiday as well as the impact it has had on our communities. Hispanic Heritage Month kicks off every year on September 15th until October 15th, which to some may be odd. However, these dates have great significance for the Hispanic community. 

Internationally, September 15th is known as the day the Act of Independence of Central America was ratified by five Central American countries: Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, El Salvador, and Costa Rica. These five countries declared their independence in 1821 after being under Spanish colonial rule for hundreds of years. Many attribute the Mexican War of Independence, which began 11 years prior and celebrate their independence on September 16th, as the instigating force behind these liberation movements in Latin America. Other Latin American independence days in September include Brazil’s, which is on September 7th, and Belize’s, which is on September 21. President Lyndon B. Johnson designated September 15th as the first day of Hispanic Heritage Week in 1968. It wasn’t until 1988 when Ronald Reagan signed a bill that extended Hispanic Heritage Week to a month and it has remained that way since. 

Since this holiday’s creation, people have used this time to educate their community about issues and advocate for more equal rights. Many believe that companies and politicians take advantage of Hispanic Heritage Month because they pander to the community in hopes of achieving financial gain. Taking the time to educate leaders and influential people about Hispanic Heritage Month and its significance can make the difference between honoring Hispanic and Latinx people and using them. 

Over the years, people have also called for more inclusion during the month. Many have voiced the opinion that the narrative surrounding HHM has always centered around lighter skin Hispanic and Latinx people, excluding Black, brown, and indigenous people. Prominent examples of this exclusion can be seen in media, where actors that have a lighter complexion such as Salma Hayek will be favored over actors like Yalitza Aparicio. For an inclusive, and culturally accurate celebration of the month, there needs to be more inclusivity. 

Celebrate this month by attending events in your community and by being inclusive and prideful in your culture! 

NOTE: The opinions expressed in this blog are the opinions of the author only. It is not to be assumed that the opinions are those of GALEO or the GALEO Latino Community Development Fund. For the official position on any issue for GALEO, please contact Jerry Gonzalez, CEO of GALEO at jerry@galeo.org

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The Dangers of Disinformation

By Alba Villarreal

COVID-19 disinformation is false information that is spread with the intent of being harmful. As the pandemic rages on, COVID-19 disinformation is becoming more common throughout the country.  Communities who are most vulnerable are intentionally targeted to receive COVID-19 disinformation. It is specifically aimed at Latinx and Hispanic communities in the form of conspiracies. Disinformation is also the result of fear mongering, leveraging language barriers that harm the Latinx and Hispanic communities.

Hispanic people are limited in Spanish-language sources and rely heavily on unofficial, sometimes false sources to receive COVID-19-related information. When the information is not readily available to them in Spanish, they outsource to the internet to provide them with any information about COVID-19. Social media platforms like Facebook and messaging applications like Whatsapp help spread conspiracies at dangerous rates and can cause more harm than good.  In fact, a study conducted by VotoLatino shows that Facebook is the leading platform for the spread of disinformation amongst the Latinx community.[1] The community also heavily relies on Spanish radio and television.

In Miami, a Spanish radio show host was advertising a medicine named Ivermectin to treat COVID-19. [2]Despite being a drug used for livestock, Ivermectin gained a reputation of being able  to treat human illnesses involving parasites and then as a cure for COVID-19.[3] The Center for Disease Control and Prevention cautioned against using the drug as people are reporting severe illness after taking it. This instance is one of many where Latinx and Hispanic communities are fed false information that can lead to serious harm.

The harm that’s done extends past taking dangerous deworming medicine. It is also in the vaccination rates of the Latinx and Hispanic communities. While Latinx people represent 17% of the total vaccinated population[4], surveys show that amongst unvaccinated Latinx individuals, 51% are not planning on getting the vaccine. Unsurprisingly, that percentage rises to 67% in Spanish-speaking households. (Votolatino, 2021) The hesitancy of Hispanic households from taking the vaccine shows how effective the disinformation is and the urgency to promote factual information about COVID-19.

Disinformation is distinct from misinformation as disinformation is intended to be harmful. In a nation where a significant percentage of the population speaks Spanish, it is important that both disinformation and misinformation are limited. COVID-19 has already taken a toll on our communities and science shows that vaccines are incredibly effective in reducing further harm. If vaccine disinformation spreads, our community will continue to suffer. Government agencies and credible news sources should put in more effort to reach out to Hispanic and Latinx communities to ensure that factual information is spread.

[1] “NEW Study: Facebook Is Primary Driver of Covid-19 Misinformation in the LATINX Community, Fueling Vaccine Hesitancy.” Voto Latino, 2021, votolatino.org/media/press-releases/vaccine-hesitancy/.

[2] Sesin, Carmen. “Spanish-Language Covid Disinformation Is Aimed AT Latinos as DELTA SURGES.” NBCNews.com, NBCUniversal News Group, 8 Sept. 2021, www.nbcnews.com/news/latino/spanish-language-covid-disinformation-aimed-latinos-delta-surges-rcna1809.

[3] Collins, Ben, and Brandy Zadrozny. “Ivermectin Demand Drives Some to pro-Trump Telemedicine Website.” NBCNews.com, NBCUniversal News Group, 27 Aug. 2021, www.nbcnews.com/tech/tech-news/ivermectin-demand-drives-trump-telemedicine-website-rcna1791.

[4] Nambi Ndugga  “Latest Data On COVID-19 Vaccinations by Race/Ethnicity.” KFF, 18 Aug. 2021, www.kff.org/coronavirus-covid-19/issue-brief/latest-data-on-covid-19-vaccinations-race-ethnicity/.

 

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Imposter Syndrome

By Alba Villarreal

Imposter syndrome is one of the most misunderstood, yet universally experienced phenomena in the Latinx community. It is defined as intense feelings of self-doubt and not belonging, both which can severely affect mental health. Like the name implies, people who experience this in their everyday lives feel like imposters. Navigating as an “imposter,” they are constantly afraid that one day they will be exposed as being a fraud. According to a study by the Behavioral Science Research Institute, nearly 70% of professionals have experienced imposter syndrome. [1]

While it is not an official diagnosis, imposter syndrome is very real in the psyches of Latinx individuals who struggle to find their place in majority white academic and professional settings. As the Latinx community grows and enters the workforce and higher education, many find themselves lost and unsure of their abilities. Women, especially, are more common to struggle with 54% reporting it, making Latinx women and other women of color the most susceptible to imposter syndrome.[2]

One of the most common spaces that imposter syndrome is experienced is in academic settings, where large numbers of Latinx students struggle constantly. Without proper support, these feelings of self-doubt can grow and create such stress on a student that it leads to poor grades and risks their academic future. Many predominantly white colleges and universities are not equipped with addressing students through this hardship and thus lose many students every year. This can explain the lower college graduation rates in Latinx communities.

Even post-graduation, Latinx individuals go on to struggle with imposter syndrome in professional settings. Navigating a new career in a predominantly white space can be difficult for Latinx folks and for many, it strains productivity and mental health.

Without proper resources and the disproportionate access to education for Latinx communities, people will continue to struggle with imposter syndrome. Mental health resources such as therapy can improve conditions that create such feelings of doubt. However, diversifying our professional and academic spaces will significantly reduce the prevalence of imposter syndrome.

[1] -, Shirley Gomez, et al. “Coping with Imposter Syndrome, and Surviving to Tell the Story.” BeLatina, 25 Aug. 2020, belatina.com/latinos-impostor-syndrome/.

[2] Muller-Heyndyk, Rachel. “Female and Younger Leaders More Susceptible to Imposter Syndrome.” HR Magazine, 2019, www.hrmagazine.co.uk/content/news/female-and-younger-leaders-more-susceptible-to-imposter-syndrome.

NOTE: The opinions expressed in this blog are the opinions of the author only. It is not to be assumed that the opinions are those of GALEO or the GALEO Latino Community Development Fund. For the official position on any issue for GALEO, please contact Jerry Gonzalez, CEO of GALEO at jerry@galeo.org

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