I am a young 23 year old Hispanic girl, I am not married nor do I have kids. I am working towards my degree, live on my own, I have a decent Job, and do not depend on my parents. But as a minority I face the challenge of negative labels in many places I go. I especially deal with them when I am with my 4 nieces and nephews (age range from 6 months-10 years old) in public places.
People think I am a typical Latina which includes: being a dropout with no education, four kids (that may be from at least 2 different fathers), no Job, no goals in life, etc.
The biggest problem I have faced eing a minority is, being able to overcome negative stereotypes and being able to outweigh statistics. According to statistics from cdc. gov, in 2010, 23. 2% of elementary and high school students were Hispanic, but only 6. 2% of college students were Hispanic. Meaning that Hispanics are not going to college after high-school.
This research paper will investigate how people treat me when I am alone and when I am with my four nieces & nephews, and how the differences reflect among gender, race, and age.
I utilized a type of participant observation known as complete observation. Playing he role of a complete observer, I observed and recorded the positive and negative, acknowledgement towards me with and without kids, I also observed and recorded the different looks and conversations I was able to get with and without the kids, based on three criteria: gender, race, age.
The Setting I selected a very busy mall called NorthPark Center Mall, located in North Dallas off of Central Expressway. I chose this mall for several reasons. First, it is an easy place to view different types of genders, race and age groups. Second, it has several stores that I am able to go into and quickly be able to note the differences among who nters the stores according to gender, race, and age. Lastly, I chose this particular mall because it is huge, containing over 200 stores & restaurants, which helped to maximize my potential for observation.
To avoid looking obvious, I observed no longer than 20 minutes anywhere from one central benches located in different areas of the mall, different types of stores which included: Forever 21, Nordstrom, Bebe, Disney Store, Loft, and LEGO, and restaurants inside the mall that included: Luna de Noche Tex-Mex Grill, Hibachi-San, and Maggiands Little Italy, I also observed when walking inside the mall from 2 different ntrances which were from Nordstrom & Macy’s. Moving around from place to place was the only way I could observe discreetly and accurately given the amount of information I had to record for all the individuals.
Other ways I considered observing included dressing very poorly maybe with ripped shirt and shorts and my nephews not groomed, not clean, and also the total opposite, also trying to make as much eye contact with someone as much as possible, facial expressions, different conversations as people passed by me in the different entrances, benches, restaurants, ; stores I isited. These strategies were all possible, because doing so allowed me to record valuable information and observe from the different locations and able to note the differences among gender, race, and age.
I observed on five different days Monday at 7pm (alone), Wednesday at 5pm (witn my nephews ; nieces), Friday at Oam (alone), Saturday at 5pm (with nephews and nieces) and Sunday at 12pm. I chose to observe on two weekdays and on the weekend and also at different types to be able to diversify my research which allowed me to make a more complete investigation. Therefore, I observed on 3 different weekdays Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, which according to a mall cop those are days that an older crowd tend to visit. I also chose the weekend because that’s when a more diverse population tends to go and do their shopping.
However, according to my own observations it varies among the time, what age groups go since NorthPark is so huge it is very diverse at ALL days and times of the week. That is why I chose different times of the day, ranging from 10am-7pm. I also chose that time range because I believe that vastly different groups of society re active at different times of the day. For example, elders tend to wake up extremely early and go walk some miles at the mall as opposed to a younger crowd that typically go to school or work during the morning time and do their shopping at later times.
I believe that by observing at various days and times of the week, I included a more representative sample of the population. Categories and Measurements I based my observations on gender, race, and age, because I believe these criteria highly influence the different looks, facial expressions, comments, manners among people towards me. I chose these three because they are easily determined & viewed, and therefore more accurate to measure, although age and race were sometimes hard to determine. One other category I considered measuring was socio- economic status.
Although I believe that this may be an important contributing factors to the topic, I decided against using it because I couldn’t find a way to accurately determine how wealthy a person is based on a single observation. To determine age and race, I used obvious physical characteristics I could observe to classify a person, such as skin/eye/hair color, style, and language accent if any. For this topic, there wasn’t a way to measure exact proximity. I only observed people that actually noticed me no farther than about 2 feet. Ill. Findings Altogether I made a total of 12 observations at different times over 5 separate days.
After observing about 200 people that entered the various places inside the mall I observed, I found that more that almost every one of the persons I observed actually said hello & smiled at me while I was alone. Less than half, looked at me with a confused face, did not smile, and commented something to the other person they ere with while I was with my 4 nieces and nephews. I found that the day or time didn’t matter the huge difference I observed was the gender, age, and race of the people I observed. I found that 60% of males and only 40% females acknowledged me in a positive way, with a smile, opened the door for me while I was alone.
The percentages were reversed when I was with my nieces and nephews, only 40% of males and 60% females acknowledged me in a negative way, didn’t open the door, made comments or facial expressions towards me and the kids. Race During my research I chose to observe only whites and Atrican-Americans. I tound that 90% of all Whites and African-Americans acknowledged me positively while alone. While I was with the kids it changed drastically, 80% whites and 40% of all blacks acknowledged me in a negative way even when I smiled at each and every one of them.
When it came down to age, it was a very broad type of positive and negative acknowledgment. Age ranges from 15-60 years old, overall I received positive acknowledgement while I was alone of more than 50% male, blacks from ages 15-60 years old and only about 10% showed negative acknowledgement towards me with the kids. Female, whites, between the ages of 15-45 years old over 40% acknowledged me in a positive way whole I was alone, while 70% acknowledged me an a negative way while I was with the kids.
Also, I found that I received much more attention from everyone including cashiers from the various places I was in, when I was with the kids especially when they were not groomed.
Through my observations I found overall I had a more negative acknowledgement from Whites, females and males. A more positive acknowledgement from Black, males ; females. Also, according to my research elders are more likely to stereotype and cknowledge me negatively when I walk around with my nephews and nieces. While I was alone more than half actually acknowledged me while I was alone.
Although gender, age, and race statistics are interesting, I see no real-world application for this information to this situation. As it all varies from the different places that you visit. As stated earlier I chose NorthPark because it would allow me to see a more diverse crowd. Proximity, on the other hand, seems to play a significant role, a man or female no matter the race is very likely to open the door for me while coming in through an ntrance with the kids, especially with a stroller. On the other hand, while I was alone males are more likely to open then the door then females.
In reality there is no true solution that I can provide, that will allow me to be seen in a positive way with or without kids. The only thing I can suggest to my Hispanic, single ladies is to not worry about negative stereotypes or acknowledgements and overcome the bad stats, work hard towards career, not to get married at an early age, and work twice as hard as any other race. V. Conclusions Altogether, this paper exposed several previously unknown facts about the different ttitudes, positive ; negative acknowledgements that people in general have towards young, Hispanic women.
What I found much interesting was the fact that I never imagined getting so many bad looks, with kids. I always believed I’d be more respected in public when I was with kids, especially because I could blend in as a single mother. If I could I would raise a program to assist young Hispanic women to overcome all stereotypes as they are growing up. As I stated earlier there isn’t a solution that I could recommend to avoid stereotypes. Only to work towards goals and dreams, and never give up!