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Latino 101: 'Stereotypes are boring'

In honor of Hispanic Heritage Month, ASU students and faculty from a variety of backgrounds share what makes them unique

A group of Latino students
September 14, 2017

Being Latino doesn't automatically mean you speak Spanish or that your skin is brown. As National Hispanic Heritage MonthNational Hispanic Heritage Month runs Sept. 15-Oct. 15. begins, members of the Arizona State University community from a variety of backgrounds and cultures share the stereotypes they wish didn't persist, what makes them unique and why the American dream comes in all shapes and shades.

“Stereotypes are boring,” said Monica De La Torre, an assistant professor in the School of Transborder Studies. “I really hope that students that are interested in creating these narratives really do feel inspired in this current moment to pick up a camera, pick up their phones and write a script or do a short … There are so many ways that our technology today can shift those narratives."

It's not just the narrative that's shifting, but even the vocabulary used. "Hispanic," created by the Nixon administration as a way to count a group of people whose race and ethnicity varied greatly but shared origins from Spanish-speaking countries, later gave way in popularity to Chicano as young Mexican-Americans in the 1960s and '70s became more political and wanted to distinguish their heritage and their political leanings — and even that term today has evolved to include Latino and Latinx as a way to be more inclusive. 

ASU Now asked several ASU students from El ConcilioEl Concilio seeks to unite Latin@/Chican@/Hispanic student organizations at ASU to represent their interests and needs and promote awareness of culture within the ASU community. and faculty from the School of Historical, Philosophical and Religious Studies and the School of Transborder Studies to share their thoughts and experiences about being Latino in the United States and to share some of what makes their personal narratives unique.

This video is part of a series that began with Native 101. The project has asked African-Americanswomenveterans and Asians to share their own stories and help dispel stereotypes.  

A selection of campus events celebrating National Hispanic Heritage Month:

¡Aventura Cultural!

6-9 p.m. Oct. 13 at the Student Pavilion, Senita Ballroom (Tempe campus)

A vibrant and interactive cultural experience that incorporates educational displays, activities, music, performances, artifacts, food, and more. Hosted by El Concilio. For more information, contact

Café, Pan y Poesía

10:30 a.m.-noon Sept. 26 at the Devils Den (Polytechnic campus)

What role do borders play in our world? What happens when two or more opposing ideas come together? How do we negotiate borders and how is border culture created? How do we cross borders and what is the result of crossing? Come join this event for poetry based on Borderlands/La Frontera by Gloria Anzaldúa and enjoy conversation with coffee and pastries. Hosted by Student Engagement and the College of Integrative Sciences and Arts. For more information, contact Jennifer Stults at

Merengue Dance Workshop

7-8:30 p.m. Sept. 22 on Fletcher Lawn (West campus)

Learn how to dance Merengue in this fun-filled cultural dance workshop. Hosted by West Programming Activities Board. For more information, contact Annaliese Pickett at

Covering the Latino Community: From the Barrio to the Border               

7-8 p.m. Sept. 18 at the Cronkite School's First Amendment Forum (Downtown Phoenix campus)

Cronkite School’s “Must See Mondays” lecture series features former 12 News anchor Vanessa Ruiz, director of the Cronkite News Borderlands desk, and former New York Times Southwest correspondent Fernanda Santos, Southwest Borderlands Initiative professor, as they share their experiences reporting from the border with Rick Rodriguez, Southwest Borderlands Initiative professor. Hosted by the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication. For more information, visit

Find more events at

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