Sofia Vergara is more easily identified as a sex-symbol than comedian. Naya Rivera is the hot-headed hispanic. Latina women on TV shows are either maids or described using the same words we use for their cuisine – “spicy”, “hot”, “juicy”, “exotic” – and did anyone notice the problematic analogous relationship between Latina bodies and consuming food? Anyone?
Further to this crafted image of women of Spanish or indigenous descent is the harmful idea that they and their kin are all illegal immigrants out to overthrow the white populations in the States, wrench from them their jobs, their women and their good ol’ American pride. The backlash against ethnic minorities often involves perpetuating painful stereotypes, efforts to unofficially segregate them, as well as appropriate their culture and cultural symbols. The urge to “other” is a strong one, and often carried out with great success. The treatment of latino populations in the US is no exception, but the silence is over, as many latinas have taken to twitter to expose ethnicity-based discrimination that happens on a daily basis on American soil. For these and other reasons, Hispanic girls united online.
— ria (@PARASOMNlAS) June 26, 2015
#HispanicGirlsUnited because you force us to assimilate to american culture but remind us every day this “isn’t our country”
— ❁normα❁ (@earthtoleslie) June 25, 2015
Begun by Joyce Santeliz, the hashtag #HispanicGirlsUnited took off on the 25th of June until it trended worldwide at position 7. Tweeting about everything from beauty double standards of largely white women, to gender double standards from within their own family systems, the hashtag has revealed what life is like for these women.
#HispanicGirlsUnited because lipliner and arch eyebrows make u a “chola” but it’s trendy for the whites
— delmy (@kimkamdashian) June 25, 2015
— ️ ️ ️ ️ ️ ️ ️ ️ ️ ️ (@sicklyhes) June 26, 2015
#HispanicGirlsUnited *16 y/o pregnant Hispanic*: dirty & uneducated *16 y/o white*: not misjudged & gets their own tv show
— laura (@zaynalfornia) June 26, 2015
#HispanicGirlsUnited Because my parents don’t work their asses off so you can label them as “criminals, rapists, and drug dealers”
— OTRA July 11 (@1D_BritishBums) June 26, 2015
There are those who were quick to jump on board the hashtags intending to scramble its purpose, but we all know trolls when we see them, and clearly, they have no idea what they’re talking about.
#HispanicGirlsUnited because Mexican girls need a hashtag just to complain about racist jokes
— The Greatest (@MyBadMatthew) June 25, 2015
— hellZ (@hellnothill) June 26, 2015
Hispanic people account for around 17% of the population of the United States of America, making them the largest ethnic minority in the nation, more than the 13% African Americans, and about as large as the Muslim population in India. Attention to the interests and needs of a population of 54 million is not negotiable. Many latino activists have been pushing for immigration law reforms to tackle the existing inhuman policies and attitudes backing them. It’s a small start, but we’re waiting for it to gather momentum, and we hope it does.