Transcript for Hispanic Voices audio podcast
Most minority/(slash) different ethnicities actually ridicule kids that try to go above and beyond. That’s a major problem within definitely the Hispanic community, I don’t know about anyone else…where those people are ridiculed and somehow tried to make/made to feel bad about wanting to learn or wanting to succeed in education. Where the reality of it is 99.9% of these kids are never going to be superstars in sports or music or anything else and the only chance they have to try to come out of this cycle that they live in is through some sort of education. The problem in the Hispanic community specifically is that even Hispanic families in general make fun of the kids that are educated. Somehow the kids learn at an early age that you’re going to be a geek or a nerd or unpopular [if you pursue academic success].
Talking about Amado and his stance, I figure it’s a generational thing where I can my grandparents not being as, not putting emphasis on education because as long as you’re a hard-worker to them, that’s all that really mattered. So I think, yeah, my parents were supportive [of my education], and continue to be. I went to Milby High School, where I was in –I guess they would say a magnet program—where we studied chemistry and biology, primarily a science academy. And yeah, I went to HCC (Houston Community College) after that and U of H (University of Houston). I have a 15-month old [daughter] and my wife is pregnant, and I’m hoping they do go to college. I mean, I’m going to support them whatever they choose, but I don’t think college is for everyone. I mean, I think there are people who like it, people that do get use out of it, but I tend to see people who just go through the motions of college and don’t really use it. So, it’s just going to be up to her [his daughter], whatever she wants. Definitely, the finances will –hopefully!—be there for her and we’ll definitely be supportive.
I’m David. So my thoughts on education and my culture when I first look at it from a big point of view, it’s more of Hispanics in general get this bad association or stereotype with not really focusing on education a lot, and that’s just because when you look at like Blacks, Asians, Indians compared to Hispanics it does make us look like we don’t care. And a lot of it does stem from the fact that historically and just traditionally it’s [Hispanic culture] been about helping your family, working at home; it’s not been about leaving or bettering yourself as an individual. For my mom’s family, like she’s pure Mexican. She was telling me how her grandmother thought education was the dumbest thing ever. And that her grandfather was also thinking the same thing but that her own mother, my grandmother, didn’t want the same life for her so kind of pushed her toward education. That’s why my mom’s the way she is and that’s why I’m at Rice University now (laughs). But on my dad’s side, my dad is just being Puerto Rican, they still have this European cultural lifestyle so for him it’s always been about private schools, getting good grades. And I think, one of the things we have to look at is inside of the Hispanic culture, just groups of… like the differences between Mexicans, Puerto Ricans, Dominicans… inside of those there is the families where you live. I consider myself middle class Hispanic, so being middle class I feel we see what’s above us and we really just like, “I want to be up there [upper class]” and that’s why we work so hard to get that education. Whereas, my mom’s family, her sisters, they’re not as well off as her, they’re not as educated as her, so for their kids, they are like, “you don’t need to go to school. I’ll take you out of school and you come help me run the apartment complex that I work at.” And I really feel sad for my cousins because they’re so smart, so much potential and yet, just the families they live in [prevents them from pursuing their education]. Education for Hispanics is so different for each family. You can’t really see a trend based on how to parent them or how to raise them but I feel like, culturally, if every generation gets a little bit stronger, every generation puts more emphasis on it. If you move to the right neighborhood, have the right influences, each generation is going to see that: the education. And that stereotype is going to eventually leave, and we’ll be up there with those cultures that are considered the higher educated.