THAT AWKWARD MOMENT WHEN I BECAME A STEREOTYPE.
Recently, I was eating bean tacos for dinner when a friend of mine comically pointed out to me: “Sara, you are such a stereotype right now!” The even funnier thing is that, the week before, when I discovered I had no more beans in my fridge, I had a mini-panic attack. No beans! What to do?! So I made some more.
My career as a journalist taught me that, behind every rumor or gossip, there is a grain of truth (albeit sometimes it is a microscopic grain) and so I believe the same applies to stereotypes. Not only do I love beans, but I have been told that I am loud, and I like to eat, and I work hard, and I can be stingy, and I like to eat foods that are bad for me, and I speak Spanish in public (though it’s almost never about bystanders).
The point is, if we try, we can manage to fit into whatever stereotypes we like. Although Mexicans aren’t considered “model minorities,” I often had the highest grades in my class, scored high on tests and graduated at the top of my class so that I could get into a top tier private college, for example.
But at the same time, sometimes the stereotypes we are supposed to fit into, just don’t work.
I am not a huge fan of mariachis, for example. It can get sticky once you get to this point: do you become more of a stereotype if you fall into some, but not others? Do they cancel each other out if you fall into one, but not all of them, and then go against type in other cases?
That’s why when people tell me I’m a living stereotype — a bean-loving, bright color-loving, loud, laughing, flamboyant, voluptuous stereotype — I just laugh. Because, like rumors, stereotypes come from somewhere, the size of this grain of truth always depends — but that doesn’t mean it has to matter to me.
Copyright 2012 Sara Inés Calderón
Sara Inés Calderón
La vida es dura, pero es bella