As Latines, we’re more than what we see in mainstream media. We’re teachers, doctors, lawyers and NASA astronauts. We’ve recaptured our narrative and are doing it on our terms. As a culture, we’re pushing back against many of the stereotypical images we’ve seen countless times before and challenging taboos that might have caused awkward conversations at the dinner table in the past. While we’ve taken massive strides in many industries, there’s still a lot of work to do.
In partnership with Walmart, Remezcla is showing how our community is challenging taboos and breaking stereotypes. In doing so, we are building on one another’s strength and using our creativity to reshape the kinds of things we talk about with one another.
That’s part of Walmart’s role in engaging their Latine customers – to impact the lives of millions of young Latines by building forward through generational collaboration and conversation and by challenging the taboos, misconceptions and assumptions about our culture. Below are four ways Latines are turning taboos and stereotypes on their head and fostering cultural progress through collaboration.
In the Latine culture, it’s not considered polite to talk about sensitive topics, like finances with those around you. While you still shouldn’t ask someone how much money they make or what their bank account or 401K looks like, there are other ways to talk about finances that don’t have to be so pointed. Like other marginalized communities, Latines face challenges in the financial sector, such as limited access to services. Prioritizing and having access to basic financial education early in life allows you to learn how to save, invest and avoid high-interest loans. Latines are just as diligent about being responsible with our money as anyone else, so why not talk about things that can help our situation?
Nonprofits like the Hispanic Federation and UnidosUS, both supported by the Walmart Foundation, are only two organizations that are available to assist Latinos as they empower themselves and work toward securing their financial future.
Through its partnership with the Hispanic Scholarship Fund, the Walmart Foundation is helping people live better through its philanthropic efforts and identify the many economic opportunities out there that our communities can benefit from.
Everyone has that stubborn family member who refuses to go to the doctor when they’re sick. But, not all Latines fall under that category. Our health is important to us, which is why we should be open-minded about anything we think might help us feel better. We already don’t have a problem relying on the herbs that our indigenous ancestors have used for decades, so perhaps talking about our health issues can motivate a grandfather or cousin to go to a medical professional if the manzanilla isn’t working as well as hoped.
Also, Latines are doing a lot better for ourselves when it comes to identifying when we need help with our mental health. Ignoring the problem should no longer be an option. There are so many organizations out there like LULAC’s Latinos Living Healthy (LLH), supported by the Walmart Foundation, and the National Alliance for Hispanic Health that can help Latinos break the stigmas of mental illness.
As generations pass, some Latines tend to lose their connection to the Spanish language. Some of us are fluent in Spanish because we grew up speaking the language; and others, for a wide variety of reasons, didn’t speak it in our homes. We are all different. When you meet a Latine person, don’t assume they know Spanish. Latines who don’t speak Spanish are just as proud of their culture as the ones who do.
The diverse background of Latines nationwide is what makes communities stronger. This includes understanding the history of the United States, which includes countless Latines who have helped shape the country into what it is today. Through the Walmart.org Center for Racial Equity last year, Walmart made a $5-million donation to support its new National Museum of the American Latino. Now, more people can learn about Latines’ pursuit of the American Dream as Walmart continues to invest in intersectional efforts to lift up communities of color and build racial solidarity.
Latine food is extremely diverse. Contrary to the stereotype, rice, beans and tortillas aren’t the only things in our diet. It’s also not true that everything we cook is spicy. Whether your roots are from Puerto Rico, Colombia or Brazil, the differences in our cuisine are wide. For example, it’s important to note that in some Latin American regions, pork is not consumed, while in other countries, carnitas are a staple on every menu. When cooking up something you found on a Latine restaurant’s menu, especially if you’re not Latine yourself, remember to be respectful of the culture. It’s one thing to mix your own version of aguas frescas. It’s another thing to claim it as your own and call it “spa water.”