Portrait of a Millennial will be a new series featured on the website where we interview other students around the world about race, religion, dating, education, homophobia, sexism, and much more. We’ve been getting ready for a while now to put this content out into the world and we really hope you enjoy it.
Our first millennial hails from Arizona. Her name is Analisa Mireles. She answered some questions about being Latina, about privilege, about skin color, and about womanhood.
What is the first instance of racism you remember facing, and when was it (how old were you)? What about the most recent one? How do you feel about these experiences?
The first negative thing I experienced was in high school when I switched schools and noticed my ethnicity had been manually changed from ‘hispanic’, which it had always been to ‘caucasian’ (17 years old). Most recently, when I was 19, I went to Walgreen’s to buy cough syrup and needed to give the cashier (who was also Hispanic) my ID. She looked at it and said, that’s weird. It looks like you have a hispanic last name. I told her I did and my father was mexican and she demanded to know from where in mexico? As if it made a difference. She then also demanded to know my mother’s heritage and why I was so light-skinned.
Overall, I’d say I don’t get the full force of racism the way I would if my complexion was more like my father’s. If anything, my heritage has always been something people try to take from me because of it. Ex, I say I’m Mexican or latina and someone immediately says “no you’re not”
Do you feel that, as a woman, you’re taught to act a certain way? In what ways do these “lessons” act as oppressive tools of the patriarchy?
I absolutely think I have been taught to behave in certain ways bc I am a woman. One example, is that I have always been told that other women are catty, can’t be trusted, women can’t get along with each other, women are always in competition with each other which is not only completely untrue, but I think serves a purpose within the patriarchy because oppressed groups cannot fight their own oppression if they can’t get along to do so
Are you objectified differently from white women as a Latina? Are you exoticized or fetishized? What are some harmful stereotypes about Latina women?
So, like, obviously I don’t usually come across as a latina, but I do have some stereotypical latina features such as really wide hips for my body type and a “big” butt. My sister, who is completely white, and I are similar as far as height and weight go, but I am significantly wider in that area and get a LOT of attention for it. usually in the form of catcalls
How does being a latina woman impact how you interact with social institutions and even other people on a personal basis? Do people treat you differently? What does privilege look like to you? How would you define it? Are there different kinds of privilege?
I’m in a really weird situation where I feel like I can’t always claim my heritage because everyone is so dismissive of it. I feel like that is in and of itself a type of privilege. I don’t get treated the same way by strangers that my dad does and I think as a result I am less likely to notice micro-aggressions.
I would define privilege as factors (largely unnoticed by the privileged person without careful and aware observation) that help them in different aspects of their life. Different types would include white, male, or heterosexual.