This Poet Nailed What It's Like to Be a Latina Woman on Campus
Poet Janel Pineda wants her white peers to know what it's really like to be a Latina woman on campus every day.
She said Latina women face discrimination, violence, cultural appropriation and objectification every day.
Pineda's poem "To Be a Latina Woman on Campus" was inspired by student-led race and diversity movements on her college campus.
"As movements on issues of race and diversity emerged [at] colleges across the country, I took part by giving voice to my own experiences as a Latina woman on a college campus," Pineda told Huffington Post. "Latinx narratives are often silenced, even among dialogues on race and diversity, and I wanted to assert that Latinx experiences matter and are important to talk about."
Here are highlights from the poem:
For the people on this campus who dismiss Latina narratives:
It is walking into a classroom on the first day of classes and praying another student of color walks in.
Weeks later, it is seeing my culture reflected as costume, reduced to insults, identity shredded into piñata scraps and slurs.
It is being called a "chupacabra" on D walk, by white men who sexualize Latina bodies and then dismiss them as beasts.
It is white women claiming no difference in our struggles, like Starbucks stereotypes could ever compare to jokes about green cards and the backs my family nearly broke to get here.
It is men of color being willing to talk about race but never about gender because God forbid there is anyone more oppressed than they.
It is some women of color deeming this skin too light to be oppressed. Like Oppression Olympics is a game I can never have a say in.
To be a Latina women on a college campus is coming from a culture that never prepared me to fight this on my own.
It is having been taught to hide away, to sink myself into shadows so the malditos machos can have their way. It is being afraid of speaking up.
It is being slut-shamed, hate-crimed, assaulted, attacked and abused. It is all these things and no one taking me seriously when I try to fight back.