Advisory Powerpoint Scrapes the Surface of Hispanic Culture

Photo courtesy of Austin High

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Hispanic awareness month was Sept. 15 through Oct. 15, and as a celebration of cultures, Link Crew made a powerpoint for advisory classes. Whilst initially excited that my somewhat overlooked culture was getting some representation, my excitement died once the slides were presented. Each slide gave a different culture and the music they listen to and dance to. The realization of what the content was filled me with disappointment and almost offended me.

Being a Hispanic with a family that’s been in Austin for over a hundred years, I felt that this could’ve been an opportunity to share the Hispanic struggle in the nation and especially in our city. Yet not once did the true history of Hispanic or Latino people in our nation get mentioned.

So many awful things have happened to my family and to the people we share a culture with. Stories of racial slurs and bigotry in Austin streets. Stories of living on sharecroppers farms and stories of extreme poverty. The fact that my family has been some of the more fortunate ones paints the picture that our history is dark and rarely happy or full of dancing.

My name is Aidan because my grandparents wanted me to have a white name. My grandparents’ names were changed when they went to school. Jesús became Jesse and Felicitas became Philis, all done to take away their culture. I didn’t learn Spanish when I was younger because my grandparents were beaten in school for speaking their native language. All of this was done to take their culture away. They moved away from their culture hoping I’d never have to struggle like they did. I still remember the shocked reaction when I told them that there are now Spanish classes at school\; they found it impossible how the place that took their language away is now teaching it.

To think these awful events happened only two generations back makes it so much worse. My grandmother even came to this school for a year, but things were still segregated. It seems impossible that a school with the history it has would ignore all the hardships that the Hispanic culture faced in exchange for some traditional music and dancing. This is in comparison to African American awareness month where the hardships, achievements, and contributions to American society are highlighted, whereas Hispanic culture is rarely shown. It doesn’t make sense why they only speak about traditional music and dancing that most people don’t even participate in.

With all my points stated and evidence given, I have a question for the reader: Do you feel like this representation of several cultures at our school is correct and relevant? If not, you and the rest of the students who feel this way should work to make a change. This holiday is supposed to shine a light on the Hispanic community’s accomplishments and contributions to American society, not what the district leaders think our culture is.

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