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Is racism alive and well? Or are we giving rise to the dumb?



Given the recent happenings with the Zimmerman trial and criticism of Marc Anthony singing God Bless America, I find myself  somewhat perplexed by the thought that racism still exists in the land of the free and the home of the brave.  But the answer to the first question is yes. Racism is alive and well.

One need only turn to Twitter to witness how discrimination continues to thrive. Social media has placed a magnifying glass on the ignorance that still exists in this country.  I am amazed by the ease and comfort with which the offenders can broadcast their ignorant rants, and the immediacy with which the offended react and feed right into their frenzy.

Are we giving rise to the dumb by feeding the ignorance baby? How much power are we relinquishing to others so that our narrative and our stories as a people can be determined by others?  Are we feeding that power by playing into the ignorance game?

Eleanor Roosevelt once said “No one has the power to make you feel inferior without their consent.” So my question is – are we allowing the ignorant to make us feel inferior? And if so, is it with or without our consent?”

The answer is no and yes. No in part, because Marc Anthony singing at a baseball game and Sebastian De La Cruz singing Mariachi during the NBA Finals are indicators of progress. But mostly yes because for too long we’ve allowed others to define our role in society through discrepancies in the legal system, in the politics game, and in other aspects of our society. We have allowed for others to paint the portrait of what being American truly means.  Where is the revolt against this injustice? So long as we continue to walk the streets with protest signs, instead of coming together to form a positive dialogue, we continue feeding into the narrative that has been defined for us by others. “Here we go again, minorities strike back by blocking roadways.” When is enough truly enough? Why aren’t we fighting back with the same medicine/poison? How long will we allow others to control our narrative?

Our failure as a country has everything to do with the fact that we have allowed others to build on the narrative that‘s defined by others. “A ‘white’ man was found innocent in the conviction of the killing of a young black male.” By all accounts Trayvon Martin wasn’t a “thug” and George Zimmerman isn’t white.

By the way, at what point will we all define ourselves simply as American? Why should there be differentiation between African American, Hispanic American, Asian American and so on? We are all American. We are the very definition of the American dream.  How long will we continue to disenfranchise ourselves? It’s time to set the record straight and define what being American truly means.

How long will we allow others to tell our narrative?

Unfortunately, I don’t have the answer. However, I think that by posing this question, by doing some self-examination, and by bringing ourselves together in a dialogue in the spirit of resolution, we can actually have control over our own narrative.

By Being Latino Contributor, Ariana Montelongo de Valdivia. Ariana is a graduate of the University of Houston and hosts a public-affairs television program in Houston where she lives with her husband and Beagle. Since she was a 6-year-old-girl, Ariana has made it her mission to serve as a voice for the people in her community. Ariana can be followed on Twitter @AriMontelongo.

About Adriana Villavicencio

Dr. Adriana Villavicencio is the youngest child of Ecuadorian immigrants. She has moved 29 times in her life, taking her on a journey from California to Bangalore, India, and New York City, where she recently earned a Ph.D. in Education Leadership and works as a Research Associate at New York University. An avid traveler, Adriana has collected experiences in four different continents and 16 different countries. But as a former high school English teacher, some of her fondest memories are those of her brilliant and brilliantly funny students in Brooklyn and Oakland. Adriana has contributed to several publications including the Daily News and, and is a managing editor for the Journal of Equity in Education. She earned a B.A. in English and an M.A. in English Education at Columbia University, and currently serves on the board of Columbia’s Latino Alumni Association (LAACU). She enjoys scary movies with red vines, Sauvignon Blanc, and her Maltese dog, Napoleon.

To learn more about Adriana’s education consulting company, please visit

Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are solely those of the author and should not be understood to be shared by Being Latino, Inc.

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