Dominant Influences of My Cultural Shaping Part 2: The Horrid Pain Behind the Truth
The horrendous and abusive language I’d hear from my mom’s boyfriend led me to believe that Hispanic people are weak, needy, and unloyal people. He’d also say horrible things about white people and blacks, so naturally I developed a twisted belief system that white people with blond hair and blues eyes are to be feared and African Americans are abusive.
My mother’s boyfriend never explicitly said I could not play with black kids, but I intrinsically knew I should not. The only neighborhood children I’d play with were the Polish kids or the white kids with darker features, mainly the Italian kids.
These belief systems were reinforced in elementary school when I noticed the segregation; all the Latino kids learned with the Latino kids, all the whites with the whites and so on. I remember liking a white boy with blond hair and blue eyes, but I did not feel worthy of talking to him, so I never did.
Later, as a pre-teen I began to develop friendships with African Americans because junior high school was more diverse and more encouraged by our teachers. I also had more interactions with white kids and teachers of all shades.
I had a white teacher with blond hair and blue eyes in the seventh grade. This teacher spoke Spanish and always showed the Hispanic kids much love and affection. Now that I think about it, she seemed more passionate about teaching us who we are than we wanted to know; she fought for us to learn, to gain understanding, and for our integrity.
This was so confusing to me, I’d wonder, “Why does this white lady care so much? Our own people don’t.” Today, I understand that she saw the value in our culture and in us as Hispanic children, how powerful it is to realize it now (God provided me someone who challenged the messages that I had been given about Whites).
My belief system came from the man who abused me. He taught me to think less of
people by the way he treated me and the way he expressed himself of others. He thought less of himself and all people groups (People who abuse others usually do so out of their own self-hatred).
My current views of people who are culturally different than me are as follows: I just became conscious that all this time I’ve been afraid of white people with blond hair and blue eyes, this is somewhat new, thus I am still processing. It is somewhat ironic because my sister and I carry the recessive blue eye allele, she actually gave birth to my nephew who is blond and blue eyed.
Furthermore, this isn’t a belief system I developed out of a personal experience from a white person treating me badly, but from what I heard the man that abused me say (Our early schemas are always formed by what we are told by others before we have an opportunity to form opinions. Much damage is done by early influencers).
I also believe that first generation white European-Americans experience the same level of racism or rejection than any other ethnic group. I think that white individuals who have been in America for generations believe this is their country, therefore are less tolerant of immigrants, no matter the color, but especially the darker people. I’m not sure if I need to correct this particular belief system.
Moreover, I do have friends and family members who are white. I also am able to
connect to African-Americans and whites even when they are not culturally aware. I do not
believe all black people are abusive. I believe they are a very powerful and resilient group of people, who have endured so much oppression and violence.
On the other hand, I just learned that I continue to hold the belief system that Hispanic people are weak, needy, and unloyal. When I discovered this in me, I melted and I was completely disturbed. Then, I realized that I hold this in my heart because I have been abused by my own people. I am particularly not fond of Hispanic men. I work helping Hispanic women to become independent and powerful, but I do tend to think less of them when they do not want to leave abusive men. I think this way because that’s how I viewed my mother growing up.