America, Do Better

By: Johanna Ramirez – Perez

What is the first thing you think about when you hear the word white? The first few things that come to my mind are privilege, power and wealth. Not many people will understand this way of thinking because they haven’t experienced it firsthand—they have no clue what it’s like to live in America being colored. The stares, the pain, and the hurtful words that are carelessly hurled at us each and every day. In America, people of color are seen as dirty, bad, and ugly. Americans have produced movies and T.V. shows that cast those of darker complexions as villains, with even Disney having scenes that stereotype racial manners, portraying different races in an offensive manner. The movie Peter Pan stereotyped Native Americans by referring to them as “redskins,” an offensive term for Natives. In the movie Dumbo, Disney also created a musical number where they referenced Jim Crow laws, which enforced racial segregation. Movies like these brainwash the world to think that that’s what people of color are like. Another example can be taken from the movie Coco, where Disney featured Hispanic culture called the Day of the Dead. Disney was inspired by a lady named Maria de la Salud, also known as Mama Coco. Movie producers approached her and offered her many things, and they asked what she would want in return for using her image. However, Disney never gave in and left her with nothing. They robbed her identity and never gave credits to her. Maria de la Salud said that she does not want money, she just wants her recognition out in the world. She is now 106 years old and her home is being treated like a museum. In Mexico, there aren’t many opportunities like in America. Disney made mistakes of stereotyping races and doing the least to change the way they treat us people of color. As a company that produces entertainment for kids, they help to create younger audiences’ image on racial segregation. Our culture is a gift, and it’s time to embrace all races. We want to change the world, not bring back how America was in the past.

Now: Imagine dreaming of a perfect place filled with opportunities, full of promise for a better future. To start a new life filled with accepting people that can help families move forward. The sad truth is that America tricks you into their lies; people of color from different designated areas fall into America’s lies. America’s promises ring hollow for people of color. I have been mistreated for the color of my skin. I see a multitude of minority groups all being mistreated by society just for existing. This makes it seem as though “white” is the only color of skin that deserves to be treated fairly. It’s the differences in our skin color that makes us unique. Our differences in foods, culture, history, and language ought to be celebrated. Speaking for the people of color living in America, all we want is to be treated fairly.

Growing up in America: I’m a Mexican born in America. As a child, I used to do ballet and tap dance, but I was quickly removed because I was the only Hispanic on the team. How is it okay to tell a six year old child that they aren’t welcome on a team for being a person of color? How do you explain to them that America doesn’t like them for the color of their skin? I was accepted in many areas, but not in all. I was on a dance team my sophomore year, and I was the only Hispanic. I felt so left out and mistreated; it almost seemed as if I was invisible at times. I barely made friends because I wasn’t their race. As a kid, I had to see my mother struggle to speak English and be treated differently because of what language she did speak. We are no less deserving of respect than white people. We are all human, and we all bleed red. I wish America would treat us all the same and understand what they have put us through. I am a chicana, and I’m not ashamed of my culture.

Witnessed: You take a risk to go to this place that everyone talks about. You come to America and forget where your culture comes from and what it means. People from all around the world devolve into thinking they are better than everyone else because they live in America. Media regularly shows people of color being mistreated. I have seen Hispanics outside selling ice cream, corn, or any type of food to have something to bring to the table for their family. Scrolling through the media, I see people of color being harassed, called names, and getting hit on for no reason. For what? This is how you “Make America Great Again?” Since when was America ever great? Racism has been alive for many years and is still happening to this present day. I have been stared at and been judged by Americans. It hurts to see how this country treats us, quick to blame the people of color. We all are made out to be some type of criminals. Every ounce of blood, sweat, and tears that my family has shed to make my life better wasn’t just to watch us get disrespected and mistreated by a race who thinks they are superior to us. 

America, Do Better: Together we can make the world a better place. Stop using excuses and do something about it. Speak up and fight for what is right. We have all been through a lot, and it’s time for equality.

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