Every once in a while someone publishes a story about how disadvantaged Hispanic kids are and how they aren’t succeeding because Society Is Against Them. Most recently I read one in the NYTimes about books aimed at young readers, which quoted an eight year-old as saying, “I see a lot of people that don’t have a lot of color.” This sounds exactly like a thing that an eight year-old was told to say and not anything he’d actually come up with on his own because who even thinks like that at his age?
I had been working on an angry screed about this for a while and was having a hard time keeping my emotions out of it, but then Jorge from San Diego commented on the article and summed up my whole position in one sentence
A Chicano kid with professional parents is going to read just as well as an Anglo kid with professional parents.
Apologies to James Carville, but it’s all about economics, stupid. That’s maybe not a realization that social scientists want to come to since it suggests that creating a new master’s program isn’t going to solve the problem but, as a Hispanic kid [: of a Spanish-speaking country], I can assert that I’ve never read a story about a character like me and it never bothered me in the slightest.
I often wonder if there’s something particularly American (as in hippy-dippy bullshit) that feels a need to constantly see oneself reflected in the media one consumes. Or maybe there’s just a need to complain about it. That certainly is American.