As a group, ironically, the Latino community has always demonstrated a strongly divided nature. When we suffer from external attacks and discrimination, particularly when this comes from the U.S.A., we tend to be very good at organizing demonstrations to speak up about our rights. But when this situation happens among ourselves – when we start to make distinctions between different groups within the Latino community – the result is often the opposite. I myself have suffered from bad treatment among Latino people from members of different nationalities, and even from some of my fellow Mexicans here in Canada.
According to Oscar Aguilera, a Mexican-Canadian who has been in Canada for over 10 years, there is no real Latino community in Canada, or at least not in Toronto. “Yes, you can find some Latino circles on some Facebook groups, for example, that apparently support this community, but in terms of real world when you need some help, such as look for a job, you will not find that, because there is so much competition. On the contrary, I have found myself in situations in which the Latinos sabotage or steal ideas or work. Or what is worst, they pretend to help you, by expressing it with words, but they don’t do anything. I am not talking just about Mexicans, but also, Peruvians, Venezuelans, Colombians, and other Hispanic nationalities.”
When researching to write this article, I must confess that I feel as though I proved what Aguilera mentioned. I did not find a real group, which gathers all the Latino community in Toronto. There are Mexican Associations, Colombian groups or Brazilian Community, but not a general Latino group, per se. “This is the biggest issue here in Toronto,” Aguilera added, “That despite being a multicultural nation, there are so many Latino communities from different nationalities that are divided. Also, and unfortunately, these groups are not as the Chinese ones, which, as soon as they arrive in Canada, start to organize themselves to turn themselves into monopolies.”
As there is discrimination against Mexicans and other nationalities in the U.S.A., a lot of Latinos do the same among countries that are considered part of the Latino group, such as Argentina, Bolivia, Mexico, Peru, Nicaragua, and Venezuela, among others. “There are certain nationalisms that prevent us from having that Latin American identity, within the continent,” said Alberto Gutiérrez, professor of Chicana Studies at the State University of California at Northridge.
This all becomes even more unfortunate when one remembers that the whole concept of “race” doesn’t really have any basis in fact. Biologically, we are all basically equal, with only small physical variations such as the tone of our skin, the colour of our hair, or the shape of our eyes. The term “Latino” or “Hispanic,” which is used in North America, and has become popular around the world, is in reality, a concept, which was initiated by the U.S. Census Bureau because they needed to be able to put a single label on a group of people who come from Central and South America. In truth, there is only one race: human. The “Races” like white, black, Latino or indigenous, are just products of social construction.
Is there a solution to stop this terrible social behaviour?
The next phrase that you will read is a cliché; however, it is still true. If you want to change society and have a better world, the change must start with us. We are responsible for demanding to be well treated; it does not matter which country you come from. All of us deserve to be treated with dignity.
I think that people, who come from countries such as Mexico, Peru, Colombia, and Venezuela, among others, should be more emphatic towards each other, not the least of which because we have all suffered invasion, theft, and ideological oppression on the part of nations more powerful than us. These series of events should make us more proud of our roots, culture, and heritage, instead of thinking selfishly.
It is vital to creat a real sense differences and the things that we have in common. “To effectively combat the degree of discrimination that lags in tIt is vital to create a real sense of what it means to be a Latino. We must learn about our differences and the things that we have in common. “To effectively combat the degree of discrimination that lags in the Latino community, it is necessary to open the dialogue to accept the differences,” says Rosario Marino, an Argentinean Journalist, who lives in Los Angeles.
I have also come to believe that our culture has a very low level of self-esteem. We have experienced a lot of discrimination by other ethnic groups, and maybe our way of dealing with this is to project our feelings of pain and inadequacy onto each other. If we are ever going to create a real, united Latino community, we need to deal with this personal trauma first.
Did you enjoy my post? I encourage you to visit 5 Mexican Associations in Canada or Afro-Caribbean Cultural Contributions and their Influence in Canada.
See you on my next post…