Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Everyday Struggles of Young Women of Color by Ariana Mercado

When I read ME by Sandra Manzanares, I could identify with her until the middle of her story where she falls victim to the roles society has placed on her and others and starts doubting who she really is. Sandra starts her story by saying “My heart, soul, brain, persona, eyes, smile, hair, skin-it’s all me. It’s what makes me.” I could identify with her up to this point because I also value myself and accept who I am and everything else that is part of me. The point in the story where I could no longer identify with Sandra was when she started to doubt herself because of what society led her to believe. She states in her story, “ I admit, sometimes I wonder if it would be better if we were all blue-eyed and blonde”, as I read this it sounded to me as if Hitler were talking because that is how Hitler envisioned the world to be perfect. I was shocked to see Sandra reiterate this very damaging standard of beauty that people of color are constantly measuring themselves against. I find that Sandra is working very hard on trying to understand identity as constructed by society more or less on her own because most adults (teachers, mentors, and parents) don’t want to talk about the effects of racism on us (young people). Perhaps adults believe if they just don’t talk about gender or racism, then it won’t exist in our lives. The truth is, that we see the effects of racism and gender bias everyday on television, on the internet, in the beliefs of teachers, friends, and ourselves. 

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