Students seek to dispel Latino and Latina myths

(Courtesy of Michael Vandon,

On Monday, Oct. 5, 2015, students gathered in the great room of Symposium House for a dinner discussion of the myths associated with the Latino community in the United States.

The event, “Dear Mr. Trump: Dispelling of Latino/a Myths,” was sponsored by CELA, the Office of Multicultural Affair, Rights House and Symposium House as a way to “raise awareness of the many generalizations and stereotypes regarding of the Latino/a community in the U.S. today” said Symposium House Manager Kimberly Casillas ’16.

After enjoying a traditional Latin meal, Casillas encouraged participants to voice the stereotypes they hear about Latinos and to open a dialogue to uncover the facts.

Casillas also introduced Director of Multicultural Affairs Jason Benitez, who began the event by bringing up Donald Trump’s recent comments about Latinos.

Benitez was specifically referring to Trump’s controversial comments he made during his presidential announcement speech in mid-June, when Trump said, “When Mexico sends its people, they’re not sending the best. They’re not sending you, they’re sending people that have lots of problems and they’re bringing those problems. They’re bringing drugs, they’re bringing crime. They’re rapists and some, I assume, are good people, but I speak to border guards and they’re telling us what we’re getting.”

Students immediately attacked Trump’s political agenda and blamed him for perpetuating the generalization that all Mexicans are drug deals and rapists.

Students also blamed the media for giving Trump hours of air time without counteracting his comments with the facts about Latinos and Latinas in the United States.

Comments about the welfare system, “anchor babies” and the trouble aligning with American culture were made by students of countless ethnic backgrounds.

As the event was winding down, Casillas left students with actual statistics concerning the Latino community in the U.S. that were researched by members of CELA.

One of these myths that Casillas vocalized was the myth that Latino immigrants do not pay taxes.

“Actually,” Casillas said, “so far this year, undocumented immigrants have paid nearly $12 billion in taxes to federal, state and local governments.”

Before students left, Casillas asked them to write their own letters to Trump and inform him of the real facts concerning the community of Latinos in the U.S. today.

These letters are displayed outside of the Multicultural Affairs Office on the third floor in Reamer Campus Center for the remainder of National Hispanic Heritage Month, which ends on Oct. 15, 2015.



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