CNN senior producer Rose Arce shared her experiences being confused as the nanny or baby sitter for her young daughter who has fair complexion, straight blonde hear and Anglo Saxon features. Arce, who has darker skin, curly brown hair and resembles a “typical” Latino, goes on in length about various situations where people assumed that she was the nanny.
The fact remains that many sitters, nannies and caregivers in America are Latino, but still that has to be quite “challenging”, to say the least, to keep having to correct people all the time.
After reading the piece, I noticed the highly-rated and highly-liked comment of a red-headed woman whose husband is Latino and whose daughter carries the husband’s last name though she does not. She said she is never confused as the nanny though she’s had to prove over and over again, in the doctor’s office and at events that she is indeed the child. That commenter also said that when her husband dresses nice that he doesn’t get confused as anything but the child’s father.
Herein lies the cultural differences and nuances. First, it may be less likely that a white person caring for a child that looks to be of a different race as the nanny. The stereotype, which is based on the fact that there are a lot of Latino nannies out there, has to do with a Latina. Second, it is a shame that a Latino person should have to dress up to prove themselves worthy while everyone else have the pleasure to dress casually.
Several blacks in America also complain that in order to not get followed in a store or thought of to either be on the verge of stealing something or to be taken seriously as a customer who can afford to purchase an item in an upscale store, they have to dress up and dress nicer than the average customer. The idea is that unless they do that, they fall prey into the stereotype that some people have that blacks steal and are less affluent, thus cannot afford to purchase nice things.
The CNN piece was interesting and a reminder that we all shouldn’t assume what we think is the obvious. The author, Arce, is a contributor to Mamiverse, a website for Latinas and their families.
Read the piece on CNN.