Tag Archives: who are you?

A Box of Crayons


Never in my life have I considered myself other than Mexican, but often times my race is generalized into a label of either being a—Hispanic or Latino. I have always been very proud of my background and heritage being Mexican-American is something that is within me. My mother wanted me to learn Spanish first because she didn’t want me to abandon my culture and language. To speak Spanish as a Hispanic is to demonstrate to the family and the community that one is proud of their roots and heritage. There is so much diversity in the U.S. and more of it in California, my home state. Somebody could look Mexican, but in reality they may be Puerto Rican, Guatemalan, Dominican, Cuban, or Spanish. It’s interesting that society has constructed a label to identify all these unique races. Some people consider themselves as Latino others as Hispanic others by where they come from. It seems like society tries to mold out a synthetic casing to have each individual fit into that mold.

There is a stereotypical image of what one should look like based on the race or background one has. This could be due to how the media has constructed that image. It has been due to the exposure in movies, videos, and images that demonstrate how a person should look based on that race. It makes it easier for people to see an image an associate it based on definitions. It is up to us to diminish this very simplified version rather, learn about the different races. Not only the media is at fault, but also the people reinforcing the stereotypes. There is this long debate whether one is Hispanic or Latino and from their many different branches known as identities emerge.

These races and ethnicities could be seen as a box of crayons. (Note: It maybe a difficult analogy to comprehend, but bear with me). Each of the crayon’s have a different color and each one has a distinct name within the box. There are different shades of the same color, but none of the crayons are repeated with the same name and color. For example Cerulean is a light blue and blue is the color of the ocean. Someone could argue that they are both blue why aren’t they just called blue? What is interesting to note is that they are not blue, but different shades within the an offset color of blue. If we were to call cerulean blue it would be generalizing the color blue because the color blue in itself has different shades. See what I am getting at? This is notion of labeling is similar with the classification of race and ethnicity. If we generalize the ethnicities and race we are doing the same with the box of crayons. Mexican, Argentinian, Puerto Rican, and Spanish are not the same so why do we generalize races as calling them Hispanic and Latino? These different races symbolize the different shades of colors that are in a crayon box. Manufacturers would not package same color crayons or name the shades of a distinct color the same color. This would cause confusion and would be obscure. So why must society do this to people?When one looks at the diversity that these races embody it serves the purpose that these races wouldn’t be called just Hispanic or just Latino. When society packages these identities in one casing of crayons it becomes difficult to see the distinction. People would begin to generalize cerulean as blue and not see cerulean as a different color. This does not just only involve in Spanish speaking communities, but also in the Asian community (generalizing) and this is (specifying) Japanese, Chinese, Cambodian, Vietnamese, Korean, and Philippines. There is a definition and an understanding that people have with this group and it is generalized as “Asian.” People then begin to see Asian as the crayon label, but are blinded by the different shades of color that are in the crayon box. It will be a challenge to begin to identify each race as their own and to stop generalizing, but it is necessary. In order for the world to understand our diverse ethnicities and races we need to stop generalizing a color just because it may look like red and blue in reality it is maroon and cerulean.