アメリカ社会の実態: ラテン系アメリカ人が経験する人種問題



There are racial issues that occur in America that your text books won’t teach you. We recently introduced what kind of stereotypes a Japanese person who goes to America may experience. This time we introduce the Latino stereotypes. By understanding these stereotypes, you may be able to avoid culture shock when you go abroad.


Welcome to the second edition of our Racial Issues series. The US is thought of as a land of ethnic diversity and as a cultural melting pot. However this doesn’t mean that everyone gets along. Discrimination based on race and ethnicity within the US has been a reality since the founding of the country. I previously wrote about the struggles and stereotypes that Asian Americans face, so please do read that if you haven’t already. This time I will be doing a crash course on the experiences of Latino Americans. I would like to preface this by saying that I am not a member of the Latino American community, but I hope to support them as a fellow person of color and speak true of their story.

多くの人は何て呼べばいいのかわかりません。肌の色が茶色でスペイン語が話せたら、メキシコ人だと思われがちです。もう少し政治的に正しい人と会ったらヒスパニックかラテンって言います。単語の違いをちゃんと理解しているかは別の問題です。アメリカ人って思うとしたら、最後に思います。多くの人がアメリカっていうものを思い浮かべる時、南アメリカは含まれません。US だけがアメリカで、アメリカ人として見られるには、黒人か白人でないといけません。

People are never really sure what to call you. If your skin is brown and you speak Spanish, they probably think you’re Mexican. If you meet someone a bit more politically correct, they might call you Hispanic or Latino. It’s questionable whether they actually know the difference between those terms. The last thing they’ll think is American…if at all. America to many people doesn’t include South America. It’s just the US, and to be American you either have to be black or white.

US にいる他の人種グループと一緒で、アメリカ人の脳内は多くのステレオタイプでひしめき合っています。たまに、ステレオタイプは性別や母国によって変わります。多様性、歴史やマイノリティの声を消すことに長けています。ラテン系だと見られるのなら、このようなミクロアグレッションを経験する可能性があります。

As with other racial groups in the US, there are a hoard of stereotypes ingrained into the American psyche. Sometimes these specialize into being based on gender or your country of origin. What they do best though is erasing diversity, histories, and minority voices. If you are perceived as Latino you may experience the following microagressions.

  • People assuming that you only speak Spanish.
  • People thinking that you jumped the fence at the border of Mexico (West coast)
  • People thinking that you were snuck over on a boat to Miami (East coast)
  • People thinking that you’re a drug dealer.
  • People thinking that you’re lazy.
  • People being surprised if you aren’t fat even though you’re Latina.
  • People referring to you as spicy or comparing you with spicy Mexican food.
  • People assuming that you’re chauvinistic and possessive of your girlfriend because you’re Latino.
  • People assuming that your mom must be a housekeeper and that your dad works in construction.
  • People assuming that you have a big family and that you’re all poor.


A lot of these came from ideas white Americans had about Mexicans immigrating to the US. In times when the economy was down and it was difficult to find jobs, the usual scapegoat was to blame the immigrants. The Mexicans are stealing our jobs. The Mexicans are selling drugs in our communities. Mexican gangs are ruining our neighborhoods. Eventually all of these negative stereotypes expanded to cover all people ancestrally from Spanish and Portuguese speaking countries. Through othering and demonizing minorities, the general public is able to distance themselves from problems and direct their frustration onto people of color.

ネイティブアメリカ人の次にラテン系とヒスパニック系の人がアメリカで一番長い歴史の持ち主です。アメリカの半分以上はスペイン領土が素性です。スペインかメキシコの領土で、移住者に地を乗っ取られたのが現在のカルフォニア、テキサスとフロリダです。これも考えに含めるとラテン系やヒスパニック系の移民に対して本当にアメリカにいるべきなのかという疑問を抱いている人は本当にバカバカしいです。以前 Junko が書いた不法移民問題記事DREAM Act に繋がります。

After Native Americans, Latino and Hispanic people have the longest history of being in what is now current day US. Practically half of the United States was originally Spanish territory. Spanish and Mexican territories claimed by white settlers compose what is modern day California, Texas, and Florida. Considering this, it is even more ridiculous how people still question Latino and Hispanic immigrants right to belong in the US. This is closely tied to movements like the DREAM Act and undocumented immigrants, which Junko wrote about previously.


Things are a bit better for Latino and Latina actors in terms of roles available now, but you can still see some common tropes in the media. Latina women are usually hypersexualized and play the sensual love interest of a white man. On the opposite side of the spectrum, they can also play asexual housekeepers. Latino men often are depicted as thugs and drug dealers. Stories set them up as wife beaters, neglectful of their children, and aggressive in the workplace. Both are often shown as uneducated and from low income families. Representation matters. It is necessarily to continue diversifying roles so people within these communities don’t feel limited to perpetuating the stereotypes that they see.


The American musical “West Side Story” is filled with many of these stereotypes, but it also does get some things right. To quote the song in the musical titled America, “Life is all right in America. If you’re all white in America.” This article series isn’t meant to be playing the oppression olympics or hating on white people. I am writing these in hopes of raising awareness about things communities of color face, so we all can become better allies for them. Use whatever privilege and power you have to break down systems of racism! Are you down with the struggle?

~ Thomas