What do Mexicans, Puerto Ricans, Dominicans, Ecuadorians, Colombians, and Peruvians all have in common?
The answer is simple: they are all Latino. The only thing that truly makes anyone from the above group different from each other is the cultural background associated to each group. For those who aren’t Latino may not think we are different and few Latinos as being a united group.
However, that idea is not exactly true.
While there is a strong sense of Latino pride for many Latinos, when it comes to being or feeling a sense of unity to others who are not of the same national background it seems non-existent. It is this sense of division among Latinos which has some Latino stars are suggesting that if we remove, Latinos could only benefit and progress forward as a united people.
Since becoming a superstar in her own right, Eva Longoria has used her fame earned by her stint as a Housewife on ABC’s Desperate Housewives into becoming a philanthropist to aid the Latino community within the country. And one way that Longoria has aided Latinos is through her very own foundation.
Since its establishment back in 2010, the intention of the Eva Longoria Foundation is to encourage and help Latinas across the country succeed through either educational and/or entrepreneurial pursuits. According to Longoria, the foundations mostly focuses on Latinas because she sees the growing demographic of Latinos in this country and believes that women in the community need more of a push because they “make the world go round.”
“I grew up with a family of strong, accomplished, and educated women. I believe, as they say, that you can’t be what you don’t see, and since I saw a lot of smart women in my life, education being at the center, I just mimicked that behavior. There was never a question that I’d go to college. In fact, I was the last person in my family to get a master’s degree, so that tells you I’m actually the underachiever!”
Although her foundation may be devoted to aiding the growth of Latinas, Longoria strongly feels that both women and men could both benefit in progressing upward if only we as a community come together to help one another out.
“We have to support and lift each other up. Latinos have not historically been a culture that unites easily. We’re very factioned—you have your Mexican Americans, your Puerto Ricans, your Cuban Americans, your Central Americans—and sometimes we focus on the differences more than the commonalities.”
And Longoria is not alone in this ideology. At the recent PaleyFest held this weekend, Gina Rodriguez the star of Jane The Virgin took part of a panel that discussed Latinos on Television and the actress gave advice to other Latino actors.
“We need to unite,” said Rodriguez, suggesting one way to do so is by Latino actors opting to portray characters of different Latino nationalities beside their own to show this unity. “They see us as one community—we need to be one community. Let’s do that, use our power as Latinos, whatever culture you identify with and celebrate.”
Being of Latino origin I have experienced, and seen, that there are fractions that exist within the Latino community. There are some Latinos, mostly Latinos of South America, who are being stereotyped or persecuted for being immigrants due to the country’s heated debate regarding how immigration—for some—harms the country or—for others—betters it. With this issue and others that are race-related and plagues the Latino community, the unifying of Latinos could aid in eliminating this issue.