Politics The World

These 10 numbers on the Latina wage gap are incredibly pathetic

Hispanic Heritage Month is coming to close, but Latinx activists aren’t about to let America off easy. Much of the month was filled with celebrations and commemorations of Latinx and South American history.

But today, on #LatinaEqualPayDay, they set off a Twitter firestorm, pulling out facts and figures let and right to make an indisputable call for strong and swift state protections for Latina women.

Because no one should have to choose between putting food on the table and paying for health care.

1. According to the American Fed. of Labor and Congress of Industrial Organizations:

2. According to AFL-CIO’s secretary-treasurer:

3. According to No Teen Shame founder:

4. According to Fort Worth-Dallas’s elected representative:

5. According to the American Fed. of State, County & Municipal Employees:

6. According to the National Women’s Law Center:

7. According to the American Assoc. of University Women:

8. According to the Shriver Center on Poverty Law:

9. According to

10. According to the National Partnership for Women & Families:

In most states, Latina women suffer the worst from the wage gap. So…where’s the action, Congress?

Gender & Identity Life

I’ll never be your spicy Latina

As soon as I Google “spicy Latina,” I am bombarded with photographs of over-sexualized Latinx women in promiscuous positions with barely any clothing to cover her curvy body. In fact, I can just search for “Latina” and get the same results. Expressing sexuality is a wonderful thing and the women posed for these photographs should not be shamed for that, but the Western culture should recognize that fetishizing an entire racial community is disgusting, demeaning and downright racist.

Often in media, the “spicy Latina” is portrayed as a seductive woman who wears almost exclusively nothing but form-fitting dresses with a short temper whose sole purpose is there to offer sex for the white male protagonist, simply because her race is seen as exotic and otherworldly. Although many people may think being called “spicy” is flattering, believe me, it’s not. It just feeds into the tropes that we are hyper-sexualized help that cannot go beyond being the maid, the home-wrecker or the sex toy.

There are hardly any outlets for Latinx women to express themselves as being more than the “spicy Latina.” Every corner of pop culture and media stamps us as such. Even in Spanish television and news, we are degraded as objects to be lusted after. I can’t watch Despierta America or Noticiero Univision without seeing the hosts or meteorologists wearing skin-tight clothing that feeds right into the “spicy Latina” stereotype.

We, as an entire community of women, deserve better than to be equated to food that is also often described as “juicy” or “exotic.” We deserve better than the senseless thought that we are nothing more than food in which this plate is simply lusted after, used and easily tossed away. It demolishes the diversity Latinx women have by reinforcing the stereotype that we are only good for our sexualized appearance.

It is degrading when I see this demeaning stereotype everywhere I look. I personally have never met a Latinx woman who believes her sole purpose in life is to be a sexualized being. Instead, I have come across ambitious and inspiring Latinx women who strive for their biggest goals and dreams. It is disappointing and disheartening when I don’t see these type of women in the media.

I want to see an accurate representation of Latinx women in the media that displays the realities and diversity we have to offer. I want to be able to relate to the tenacious Hispanic student experiencing higher education as a first generation student. I want to see the supportive Latinx family strive for the best possible life for their children. I want to see the successful Latinx CEO continue to dominate business while keeping true to her heritage.

We are women. We are not a flavor and we are not objects of your degrading racial fetishism.

Gender & Identity Life

A diaspora kid’s guide to surviving summer in the motherland

For children of the diaspora, summer is a time for visiting the global south to reconnect with your roots, rekindle family ties, and preserve the other half of your hyphen-identity. In light of the season, here are some survival tips to get you through yet another summer in the motherland:

Do not worry about learning the language you’ve spent your entire childhood, adolescence and young adulthood unlearning. You’ll pick up on it again while you’re there and forget it once you’re on your connecting flight in Heathrow, where you will officially have no use for it anymore.

Choose a proper term of endearment for the country you’re visiting.

Can you really call it the “homeland” when you weren’t even born and raised there? When you’ve spent the last few years spitting out so forcibly, so determinedly, “I’m from LA” when someone asks you where you’re really from?

Maybe, because your mother was born there, you can call it the “motherland.” But what do you know about the labor pains it endured?

Save any beauty care you’ve been putting off for the salons over there.

The hairdresser won’t gape at your hair, trying to comprehend how such a monster could exist. She won’t call it wild. She won’t think it’s a burden. She won’t charge you extra for washing so much hair. In fact, she’s done this seven times just this afternoon and you look just like her daughter.

Take a clear stance when it comes to politics. Are you with them or against them?

Or don’t. What do you have to say about calls for revolution versus pleas for stability? You’ll be long gone if debate ever came to action.

Make a list of all the foods you’re craving because no matter how globalized this world gets, sugarcane juice will never taste as sweet as it does at 2 am in July surrounded by your cousins.

People will stare at you because you look a little different there, too.

Don’t think about what it would be like if your grandparents, your aunts and uncles, your cousins, all lived in the US with you…if they only applied for a VISA 25 years ago like your parents begged them to…

Enjoy the nightlife culture that stopped short of crossing the Atlantic.

Make a playlist of the popular songs that blare through the radio all summer, so that when you stumble upon it years later when you’re cleaning out your hard drive, pain and shame well up inside you for forgetting “Amazing Summer 2015” so easily.

When you see the abundant breakfast spread your maternal aunt has made for you, feel proud that your people are the most hospitable people on earth.

Hope that your aunt chastises you for leaving the house a mess just like she yells at the rest of her nieces and nephews who get to see her every other day.

Even though she probably won’t. While the others are forced to deep clean the bathroom and scrub the floors, she will be asking you instead to put batteries in the remote control because that’s just how much she wants you to be pampered.

When you come back and coworkers and classmates ask you how your trip was, do not tell them about the things they wouldn’t understand: the crowds, the trash, or the heat.

That’s between you and the motherland.

Gender & Identity Life

#Mirame is a false step to Latinx empowerment

As a young Mexican woman, giving the Latinx people recognition is always important to me. But not at the expense of cheaply imitating the black community while ignoring most of the Latinx community in the process.

#Mirame was a seriously flawed social media movement that lacked respect and solidarity for the black community by tastelessly copying their #BlackOut movement.

#BlackOut shows appreciation for the black community by having black people share their photos and stories on social media sites such as Tumblr, Instagram and Twitter. #Mirame aimed to create the same atmosphere for Latinxs online. Although I firmly believe each minority should get visibility, #Mirame’s imitation undeservedly pushes the black community away from a movement they began for their own empowerment.

#Mirame grossly pits the black and Latinx community against each other with a copied movement. It’s completely unnecessary, since each minority deserves their own space for their own empowerment. Why couldn’t we have instead used Hispanic Heritage Month as an opportunity for recognition of the Latinx community? Solidarity between minorities is vital, and lessening the empowerment of one minority tears unanimity between different people of color.

Initially #Mirame was set to be celebrated on Cinco de Mayo, a holiday celebrated solely by Mexico. Choosing to celebrate such a movement on a day that is dedicated to only one Latinx community takes away visibility of other Latinx communities who have nothing to do with Cinco de Mayo. #Mirame had aimed to show visibility for all people who are Latinx – yet choosing a date that lands on a Mexican holiday reinforces the ignorant generalization that all Latinx people are Mexican.

I am completely supportive of each minority having a movement for recognition and empowerment, but not at the expense of lessening and competing against another community’s movement. We don’t need to compete. We need solidarity.

Gender & Identity Life

Latino students, hold the door open behind you

On my first day as an undergrad, I was shocked to see many white people in my classes. For the first time, I was the minority in an academic setting. Could they tell I was Mexican American? How do they perceive me? Do I interact with them differently? I felt like somebody woke me up to reality with a bucket of ice water.

For the first time I genuinely realized that the statistics were right: as a Mexican-American woman, I am a minority. In the predominantly Latino community where I had grown up, all of my friends were either Latino or Asian. We shared similar family customs, and most of my friends were also first-generation students.

But when I got to college, I found myself surrounded by white students who had college educated parents.  Parents with degrees? This was a phenomenon to me. My parents and friends’ parents did not have bachelor’s degrees, yet alone master’s degrees.

Communities like mine are doing the best they can to succeed in education with the resources they have. Unlike in white-majority communities, there is a serious education gap between immigrant Latino parents and their children who grew up in America. First-generation Latino students often want to go to college, but cultural and financial barriers stop them from getting there.

I’ve heard it all in the Latino community. Why should we invest in a college education when she’s just going to get married in a few years? Why is he going to waste four years in college, when his cousins are already making twice as much without a degree? What will she do with that major, anyway?

Statistics reflect these doubts and hesitations. In April, the Campaign for College Opportunity released a Latino-focused report on the state of higher education in California, where I live. The numbers are sobering: Despite being the largest ethnicity in the state, Latinos are underrepresented in every segment of higher education. The majority of Latino college freshmen in California enroll in community college, but only 30 percent of them transfer to a four-year university within six years. Only 12 percent of Latinos have a bachelor’s degree or higher.

This gives Latinos with college degrees a responsibility to participate in community outreach and show immigrant families college is accessible. I have been thrown in situations where I have to inform younger first-generation students and their parents about financial aid options and college deadlines.  It is our duty to help even out the playing field by providing Latino families with the same knowledge already integrated in upper class communities.

As a recent college graduate, I’m not taking these negative statistics as a personal challenge, but rather as motivation to use my education as a springboard for other Latinos to go to college. Community outreach from people of the same ethnicity makes it easier for younger generations to break cultural barriers by using us an example to family that college is worth it. This will cause a domino effect that will that will increase college attendance among Latinos.

With more Latinos attending college, I foresee a more diverse educational environment and understanding society. Students are demanding a more diverse faculty, but how can this be achieved if most Latinos do not reach the graduate school level?

An overall diverse faculty at any university is essential, but for first-generation Latinos, the unspeakable bond with a person of a similar culture cannot be duplicated. There is a sense of camaraderie when Latino students are mentored or taught by a person who has experienced the same cultural and financial struggles as them. First-generation students need outspoken Latino allies at universities that can provide additional guidance.

With the large Latino population in California only increasing, it is also important to bring the Latino perspective to students from all ethnic backgrounds. According to the National Center for Education Statistics, 84 percent of full-time professors were white in fall 2013. A larger Latino faculty will help shatter stereotypes and instead help spread a realistic view of our culture and the vital role Latinos play in America. Universities are vital to exposing future professionals to other cultures and how to integrate minorities in workplaces.

Unfortunately, the higher I take my education, the fewer fellow Latino students I have by my side. Having white people in my classes is not strange to me anymore, but some thoughts I felt on the first day as an undergrad crept back when I visited my grad school program for the first time—why aren’t there more Latino students?

In an interview with the Screen Actors Guild Foundation, Golden Globe winner Gina Rodriguez puts it best when she says, “The second you follow your dream, you give someone the allowance to follow theirs.”

I plan to become a professor one day, share my knowledge and help inspire minority students to pursue careers in journalism. And I ask all Latino graduates to help end the fear and doubts in the community about college, allowing others to follow their dream.


Do you really think we summon demons in our homes?