Category — authority

My Technological World

The following serves as a supplement to the previous entry, “MySpace vs. Facebook.”  Please note that this is a personal recount of a single Lateen’s experience.

It’s no secret that technology is known to make things easier. It’s known to make things work faster without the same physical effort. It’s also known that my generation takes adavantage of technology and uses it constantly. My generation is different, my generation is who will make a better tomorrow for everyone else.

At school, at work, and at home I am involved in so many different activities, from academic clubs, sport teams to volunteer services. I can honestly say that nothing would be possible without my cell phone and laptop. After a while of being so involved, I have learned to network and meet new people. I’ve learned that unfortunately, the truth is most of the time it’s not who you are, it’s who you know. This brings me to my experience with technology and how my friends and I use it.

I recently created an account on Facebook. I already had a MySpace page, but joining Facebook was a necessary thing to do because all the “older” important contacts I have made along the way only have a Facebook page. Personally, I think they think it’s professional. Throughout history, the human species has transformed constantly to meet its enviroment in an effort to survive. Clearly now people are not adapting to eating wild berries like cavemen did long ago, but people are still adapting. For example just a few years ago, friends exchanged beeper numbers.  Now, not only can you contact someone with the click of a button, but with a few more clicks, you can see documentation of their personal lives.

As I’ve said before I attend W.H Adamson High School. My school is roughly 95 percent Hispanic. It’s a small school with about 1,000 students total. Since it’s so small and mostly made up of people from the neighborhood many of us know each other very well. I was recently elected Senior Class President and to be honest there is a lot to the job. That said, I love it because I love being a leader, but a leader is no one if he or she has no followers. So when I have an idea, I like to get feedback from everyone before I make a decision. This makes others happy, and contacting all students would be hard, but now, in 2010, it’s quite easy. I communicate with my friends through mass text messages, and in turn they continue to forward them to anyone who might be interested. I can also chat with them on MySpace or send an event invitation on Facebook. All this technology makes it easier to inform everyone or make new plans simultaneously. [Read more →]

August 13, 2010   No Comments

Lateens and Authority

It is a common characteristic for teenagers (and no differently for Lateens) to act tough, to portray invincibility, and to pretend nothing hurts them, especially when they are around each other. But are they pretending? How tough are teenagers, really? When it comes to dealing with authority, how “invincible” are Lateens?

Let’s just pretend for a second that the most sacred of Lateens’ rights is violated by, say, a teacher, priest, family member or family friend, would they be brave enough to admit it to somebody else? Would they tell their parents? Would they defend themselves? And if so, how?

Say a Lateen is deprived of lunch at the school cafeteria for a day or two due to misbehaving in class, unjustly graded by a teacher, or assaulted by a professor or cop. Where would they go to denounce it?

Lateens are at an age of vulnerability. They are discovering themselves; they are exploring and learning their limits. They are sometimes lonely, and this is what makes them the most vulnerable. Harassment, abuse or an unjust situation can confuse them. If that happened, what would they do next?

Most of the time, Lateens come from a tight family bond, but would that be enough to confront a problem of this magnitude? If they reach out to their teenage friends, the friends might be just as confused as they are, and if they reach out to their parents, that can end up creating more problems than solutions.

Second-generation Lateens might be the little adults (see related post here) walking their parents through the American system and in certain instances, defending them from injustice. The chances of the Lateens’ parents being naïve or inexperienced about the American legal system, the language and the legal rights of a teen are high. As much as a parent loves their kid, their main concern is survival, providing for their family and not creating problems for society or getting attention, especially if they are undocumented.

So, where does this leave the Lateens and their problems? Again, as teachers, friends and mentors, we need to empower them, to teach them their rights, and to let them know that they are tough and have them say it over and over again until they believe it. Society, communities and schools have the responsibility to create bonds with these kids for them to succeed, to have a trusted mentor, and to have someone that can watch their backs for them and give them hope if something bad does happen.

July 22, 2010   7 Comments

Cool Lateens – Julian Castro

A leader is someone that makes people believe in them, but a great leader is someone that makes people believe in themselves. That truth is all around the world. In different settings, there is always that one person that instills people with pride; there is always one person that makes a difference. For example in India, Ghandi believed in peace, in Rome Julius Caesar believed in fighting for the people, in the United States Martin Luther King, Jr. believed in a dream of equality. These individuals (and many more throughout time) allowed their beliefs to shape history for good and bad. These types of historical events inspire others to bend the rules, seek change, and pursue their convictions. A great example is Barack Obama: the first African-American President of the United States. He has made many people around the world believe that anything is possible. Now many Lateens are beginning to ask themselves; Who will represent us? Who will be the face of a progressive Latino society? I wish I could magically skip a few years to start my dream of being a “great” politician and run for Mayor, then Governor and who knows? Maybe even President. But the reality is I can’t skip ahead, and unfortunately I am not old enough. The fact is we need someone, and we need that person NOW.

Don’t have fear, Julián Castro is here! No, he is not a superhero, but he is a Latino politician. Castro was born in San Antonio on September 16, 1974 (also the same day of Mexico’s Independence Day). He is the twin brother of Joaquín Castro. He graduated in 1996 from Stanford University, majoring in political science and communications. He said he began thinking about entering politics while at Stanford. He later graduated from Harvard Law School.  Interestingly enough, his brother graduated from both schools with him.

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July 7, 2010   No Comments

Problems/difficulty of translating to Parents.

The following entry serves as another personal recount of the struggle Lateens face when they’re assigned the role of “translator” for their families.  This is a supplement to a previous entry titled “Little Adults.”

Unity is power. Since early chilhood my dad invoked the belief that our family (he defined our family as my three brothers, Julio, Fabian, Eric and my mom, Zenaida) should always do what’s best for the family. Even if it involves one NOT doing what he/she desires in order to make the family happy. This is an unwritten law that we go by, no exceptions, and no allowance for doing something different. This way of thinking, ironically, has led to much improvement in our lives. Even though my dad is the guy that makes the decisions for all of us, before he does we discuss our opinions as a family. That’s what the system has been for a very long time. But the truth is it’s not really an option. This system is further complicated by my dad’s one obstacle that makes him ask my brothers or me for help, and that is when he needs a translation. Although he can speak and read the English language to a certain degree, and is one of the smartest people I know, he needs help sometimes, especially when things get tricky like words with double meaning.

I have so many experiences with my family involving their lack of understanding English. As a child I remember going to the bank where my dad was served by a non-Spanish speaking employee and it was difficult to watch him become frustrated when they made the wrong transactions. All because they didn’t understand what he was trying to say. When we go out to eat, my dad’s English occasionally is misunderstood to the point that he gets the wrong order. When my mom would go to the store to return an item and they couldn’t understand her, she would just leave the store without doing what she needed to do. When she goes to teacher conferences, she often struggles to understand everything that is said. We have also been pulled over by the police, and when this happens both of them become so afraid. Not afraid because they did anything wrong, but because they did not know how to defend themselves or even ask why they were pulled over. Those are only a few of the experiences I encountered as a younger child. A couple of years ago there was a major change – I learned English and Spanish well enough to translate.

To be honest, at moments in the beginning, I enjoyed the responsibility of translating for my parents. I loved ordering pizza, or explaining my report card to them. Unfortunately as I grew older it began to get more complicated because I was learning more and more English. A great example is when we were on the road and I had to ask for directions. I didn’t know what highways meant or avenues actually were because I didn’t drive. So then I would tell my parents the little that I understood and we would get lost, making the situation even more frustrating. As I continued to get older I started to make purchases and payments online and I didn’t understand how to explain the procedures properly, but my parents would get mad thinking I was just being lazy and didn’t want to help. That’s not the case at all, but I’m only a teenager! My parents receive letters from businesses and the government and I need to tell them what they say. This is even harder because I don’t understand the content. It’s stuff I shouldn’t have to understand and they get mad and blame me for not knowing enough. [Read more →]

June 28, 2010   4 Comments

Expectations for Lateens

An expectation can make or break someone; an expectation can push someone to their fullest potential or drop them deep into a hole of failure. I can honestly say that the expectations set for me have encouraged me and forced me to never settle for good when I can be the best. I can almost guarantee you that I am not the only Lateen that feels this way, but many others are not as lucky. A Lateen’s expectations are different because of the influence of our families, our culture, and society’s views of us. But our Lateen expectations help define us.

For example, ever since I can remember money has been something I have honestly desired. I am sure I am not the only money hungry teen out there, but in my Mexican-American family my parents can only give me so much. If I want something better, I have to work for it! No, it’s not the “work” of butt kissing and back scratching your parents hoping to convince them. But it’s the common work of what many Lateens do. Work like waking up early every morning to cut the neighborhood lawns, going to work with an uncle at a car shop or car wash, working in fast food restaurants or grocery stores, or simply becoming a “paletero.” To some this type of work might seem pointless, but Lateens take advantage of it hoping it will earn them a little pocket change or give them a boost to achieve whatever goal they might have. [Read more →]

June 10, 2010   No Comments