On Feb. 2, Millersville students and administration attended a lecture held in the Lehr Room, Bolger Conference Center to learn how racialization and ethnicization plays a significant role in “Americanizing” the Latino and the Latina community.
Dr. Salvador Vidal-Ortiz, Assistant Professor of Sociology at American University, was the key speaker, and he spoke on the study of Latinos and why they seem to be racialized in the United States and the history behind the assimilation issue.
Dr. Vidal-Ortiz urged students to take a class or even to minor in Latino Studies as a minor to learn more about Latinos and learn about the issues surrounding them. For it is disastrous for the United States as a multicultural country that generalizations are made about different ethnic groups and their identity is marred by racialization.
As such a country, the United States sees multiple migrations in its borders. Among the five migrations that have affected racialization, the fifth migration was created by the attack on the Twin Towers. Those who were not marked as colored or whites, such as Muslims and Arabs, were suddenly considered un-American and racialized. Soon they were seen as the inferior race by African-Americans and Latinos as well.
As Latinos, Latinas, and other immigrants, it is vital that they reinforce their roots in America. In the case of Sonia Sotomayer, the first Hispanic Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States, her nomination was obviously marred by every topic she spoke on. Whether it was the constant mentioning of her love to eat or the music she listened to, it was all used to Americanize her as she was entering into the United States Supreme Court.
Numerous newspapers even incorrectly spelled her name in an effort to have her change it to something more American and easy to say. Dr. Vidal-Ortiz stressed patience, for Americans need to understand their roots, by learning to say Latinos’ names correctly instead of Americanizing them.
It is the act of assimilation that all immigrants are going through, but as a multicultural country their language and culture should have no restrictions or barriers.
The event was sponsored by the Rosario Caminero Latino Celebration Committee, Latino Studies Minor, Society of Latino Affairs, Sociology/Anthropology Department, and the office of Social Equity and Diversity.