The Largest Population in America is Being Left Behind…Time to Catch Up

Posted: November 14, 2012 in From Student to Teacher
Tags: , , ,

The comments back and forth between me and a friend of a friend on Facebook regarding the controversial topic of charter schools were fascinating to me.  I was screen to screen with a small mind, in typical Southern style.  She didn’t care what was happening to the nation or Georgia for that matter, as long as her child was in the best possible charter school in the world, which she succeeded in achieving for him.  Great.  No amount of factual information, long range prospects would detract this mother from budging even a quarter of an inch.

That was fine with me.  We are all entitled to our own opinions after all.

However, it served to remind me of the large population of Georgians who live in very small frames, and are perfectly content that way.  Have I ever mentioned how desperate I am to get the hell out of the South?  Perhaps one day…

For instance, the largest pet peeve of the Hispanic students I have taught over the years has been the narrow-minded stereotypes and prejudices that many Americans hold towards Hispanics.  They assume that if your skin is not pasty white, and has the slightest bit of pigmentation, that you don’t speak English.  And that you’re Mexican.

This happened to my daughter at Walmart the other day.  She favors her Irish father, but in the summer she easily catches a nice tan thanks to her mother’s excellent Puerto Rican skin tone.  So, she’s looking for something, and an employee, you know the ones who welcome you in and say goodbye, says goodbye to her, assuming that she’s leaving.  She wasn’t leaving so she didn’t say goodbye in response.  He continued his false assumptions and said to her, “Adios…”

Unfortunately, my daughter is still too timid to confront people in situations like these.  As I told her, there certainly wasn’t any reason to create a scene, but it was a perfect teachable moment in my opinion.  In her perfect English, she could have helped this unfortunately foolish man see the error of his ways.  But she said he was in a wheelchair.

Why do people in wheelchairs get away with everything?  Hmmm…

Anyway, I came across this article in my reading this morning about Hispanics, a huge force that is growing exponentially in this country.  And you know what?  They’re not all Mexican.

Hispanic Workers Lack Education

The true unfortunate part within this article by Craig Torres is that the kids graduating from high school are not given the proper guidance towards financial aid information, college applications, and provided access to computers to help facilitate the whole process of seeking a college degree.

I have seen firsthand how guidance counselors focus on the kids who are “going places” and have the highest GPA’s, and the right skin color.  I had parents I called who spoke little to no English tell me they were turned away from college pursuits for their children and steered towards vocational information and job hunting information because they were Hispanic.

Maybe I should redirect my focus towards helping fellow Latinos and Latinas prepare for college.  I know I had a huge shock when I entered college, with my thick “How you doin’?” accent and New York bravado.  I was certainly not a straight A student, but had I more support, I could have been valedictorian.  No regrets, however.  I managed just fine and where I stumbled, I quickly learned.

We need to empower Hispanics, educate the Hispanic youth and help them explode into an American future that is ripe with possibilities.  I will think on this.




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