I wonder what people think of me.
Not like “Am I pretty enough? “Am I smart enough?”….but more in the lines of “How Spanish am I really?”
Everyone knows about stereotypes and sometimes it is used to judge a person even before you talk to them.
I can’t count how many times people judged me, but I also can’t say it never happened. What I can say is I always have the fear that I know people are thinking about it. When I open my mouth or when I walk into a room, I feel like their eyes are on me, thinking that I’m not the ‘Typical Puerto Rican’ that they were taught to know.
I have dark skin with wild hair (most of the time) and I feel like people can already sense that I don’t have what it takes. To them I might be another statistic, a single mother living in the Bronx her whole life with no aspirations. Now I don’t use that as an insult. I praise every single mother that strive for their children to do well in school and work hard to provide for their family. However, I can’t stand that people don’t think the way that I do.
People always spend more time judging a person they never before than actually taking the time to get to know them. Some people aren’t thinking about college, that doesn’t make them less illiterate or less intelligent than someone who has. I believe that college isn’t for everyone. COLLEGE IS EXPENSIVE. There are other resources and ways for people to acquire knowledge.
When I was younger, I use to be ashamed of where I lived. When I lived in Harlem, I use to tell people I live uptown, afraid they will already get the perception that I couldn’t carry myself well or that I’m poor. When people asked me where I lived in general, I use to just say New York City.
Well to the people I lied to, I live in the Bronx. I live in a place filled with life and diversity. I honestly don’t care what you think. Everyone is intelligent and creative in their own way. Just because I don’t live in the upper east side doesn’t make me less of a person.
Yes, there are crimes in urban areas. There are crimes in any area. That doesn’t mean that there is a crime in my area every time, all the time. It also doesn’t mean that we are all criminals. And it definitely doesn’t mean you should be ‘careful’ when you come or that where I live is ‘ghetto.’
My overall appearance, personality and interests, I am far from the ‘Typical Puerto Rican.’ I think it surprises people that I like Italian food more than Spanish food, that I rather have boots rather than sneakers or I love listening to Pop more than Merengue. I realized that people are meant to be different. If everyone was the same and followed their stereotypes than the world will be boring and predictable. I still like the other things, but just because they aren’t my favorite doesn’t make me less of what I am.
People go from surprised to insulted that I don’t fit the ‘Puerto Rican Stereotype.’ Some even go far as to say I should act more Puerto Rican. What does that even mean? Should I learn more about my culture and family? Because I’m not going to change myself to benefit you.
*Sometimes I do a blog post that turns into a massive ranting. Since starting college or maybe even before than, this has been eating me alive. I don’t know if anyone ever felt this way, but I think about this from time to time.