Stereotype de-bunking brings light to different cultures

Cameron Gorman

Speakers representing various communities took the stage in the Kiva Thursday night to offer their perspective on the stereotypes they are attached to.

They discussed the ramifications of these stereotypes and the truths that often differ from what is widely believed.

Speakers at the event included students John Hess, representing European-Americans; John Jones, representing the African-American community; Brian Wakely, representing the LGBTQ community; and Sebastian Adames-Rodriguez, presenting a portion on the Latin-American community.

The event began with a video outlining the stereotypes associated with millennials, African-Americans and other groups of people from the perspectives of a diverse cast of individuals.

The panel then addressed questions from a moderator, Amanda Leu, for the remainder of the evening. The questions ranged from relationships to dealing with cultural norms.

“If you question that someone can fall in love, you’ve never felt it. It is a human emotion. It is not specific to any sexuality or identity except for that of human,” Wakely said. “There are some things that are different about the relationships, but they can definitely fall in love.”

Adames-Rodriguez addressed differences between being Latino, Hispanic and Spanish and disputed common perceptions about their occupations.

“Latino refers more to geographic and cultural terms, while Hispanic refers more to language,” Adames said. “Yes, there are maids, there are landscapers, there are drug dealers, but many of those people came here for a better opportunity and were discriminated against.”

When asked about the stereotype that African-Americans are violent, Jones said, “I feel that a better question would be why are white people considered less violent? We are not the only ones who are violent. The focus should not be placed squarely on Africans. People as a whole commit violent crimes.”

The conversation then turned to Hess.

“Many white people get defensive when the subject of white privilege comes up. I’d like to say it’s simultaneously a blessing and a curse. It’s an unfortunate reality that needs to be confronted, recognized, and dismantled.”

After the panel, there was a segment about American stereotypes as a whole, in order to bring the discussion into a more inclusive light. Thoughts on the Confederate flag were also considered.

The event closed with a discussion on millennial stereotypes and an artistic expression segment.

This included a performance by the Golden Reflections dance team, a spoken word poem by Iniah Dunbar, a speech by Carlos Silva, a musical performance by Denzel Washington, a dance piece by P.J. Camargo and a piano and vocal piece by Dara Sherman.

Cameron Gorman is a general assignment reporter. Contact her at [email protected].