“Invisibility” dinner addresses marginalization of Hispanic students

Julia de la Parra, Staff Writer

According to the United States Census Bureau, Hispanic individuals comprise 17 percent of the U.S. population, making the Hispanic community the largest minority group in the United States. The University’s Class of 2019 profile, available on the University’s website, shows that 23.3 percent of first-years are students of color, which include students who identify as Hispanic.

So why are differences in race on campus often delineated to a discussion about persons of either black or white skin colors?

A dinner held on Feb. 23 titled “Spanish/Hispanic/LatinX: Invisible at Bucknell?” was hosted by the Latin@ Alliance for Community and Opportunity (LACOS/LAZOS). The event aimed to create an open discussion about the lack of representation and visibility that the LatinX community experiences at the University. LACOS/LAZOS is a student organization that focuses on building community among Latina/o students and engaging the campus community cross-culturally.

The evening kicked off with a simple dinner, but quickly transitioned into a forum for people to voice their experiences about feeling “invisible” on campus. Students shared personal stories that addressed topics such as the idea of “white appearing/Hispanic identifying,” microaggressions, and a yearning for more Hispanic cultural influences at the University.

Justin Guzman ’19, who identifies as both Puerto Rican and Dominican, discussed his experiences that involved meeting people who immediately assume that he is white.

“As invisible as I am, it is helping me [to] identify,” Guzman said. “I appreciate where I came from.”

Jacqueline Galindo ’18 talked about transitioning from living in a predominantly Hispanic, Los Angeles community, to living in a mostly white region in central Pennsylvania. Galindo spoke about missing the food, music, and culture of her home, a nostalgia that encouraged her to become involved with LACOS/LAZOS. Galindo said that she would love to see more involvement and awareness of the Latincommunity on campus.

After the participants finished sharing their stories, they were given questions to contemplate, and then discussed their opinions with each other. Afterwards, they watched a video that detailed how Hispanics and the LatinX community are portrayed in the media. They were then asked to write down one thing that they learned and one thing that they can do in order to make the LatinX community more visible at the University.

The evening brought different communities together for a successful discussion about ethnicity and visibility. To join or learn more about LACOS/LAZOS, students can visit their Get INvolved page.

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