“Most People Assume…”

Oxnard High School students share their views about the stereotype that all Hispanics are Mexican


Zaira Miranda

Oxnard High School seniors Luciano Huapaya and Brandon Haase embracing their heritage.

Melissa Cuevas and Zaira Miranda

Society often connects people with stereotypes based on ethnicity. “People have this stereotype because they are too ignorant to broaden their perspectives,” said Oxnard High School senior Nury Molina, who is of Salvadoran descent. “Most people assume that I’m Mexican.”

According to the most recent census conducted by the U.S. Census Bureau, 73.5% of Oxnard residents are Hispanic, but that begs the question of what percentage is Mexican-American. Perhaps it will never be known because the public perception seems to ignore the fact there are other ethnicities other than their own and assume that all Hispanics fall as a default of Mexican descent.

Senior Luciano Huapaya, who is of Peruvian descent but born in Mexico, said, “People usually see me as a Filipino or Mexican.” Physical appearances greatly influence the public to believe stereotypes.

“People should be more open minded and respectful towards other ethnicities and not categorize people based on their physical appearances,” said senior Veronica Villegas, who is of Guatemalan descent. Furthermore, Villegas said, “I consider it as just another form of racism.”

Likewise, senior Jenna Ramirez who is both of Hispanic and Caucasian ethnicity said, “Pretty much anyone with dark-or-brown skin is automatically considered Mexican.”

Holding the fourth spot as the most commonly spoken language in the world, Spanish currently has “350 million people [speaking] Spanish as their native tongue…[and] there are some 500 million Spanish speakers worldwide,” as evidenced by North Carolina Central University.

With this in mind senior Adrian Damian, who is of Mexican descent said, “People that speak Spanish [are not] necessarily…Mexican, because other races speak Spanish as well.” Regardless of one’s race the Spanish language should not be affiliated with being entirely Mexican because Spanish is a worldwide spoken language.

Senior Johan Mendez, whose heritage descends from Guatemala, said, “United States borders Mexico so a lot of people here are Mexican…and they assume everyone is Mexican.” However, there are many Oxnard residents who fall under the Hispanic category but are not Mexican.

Senior Brandon Haase, who was born and raised in Guatemala City, said “Guatemala’s and Mexico’s cultures are very similar [since] at one point they were both Spanish territory, but there [are] differences.” He also said, “rancheras and corridos, [which are types of music], are Mexico’s tradition. While in Guatemala it is the marimba, [which is another genre of music].

Haase further said, “the well-known ancestors in Mexico are the Aztecs while, in Guatemala they are the Mayans. Guatemala was territory of the Mayans before the Spaniards came and named ‘Guatemala’ as their language, which means land of trees.”

Under the Hispanic category there are many races that fall under this classification other than just the Mexican race. Stereotyping people just because of their race can lead to the spread of inaccurate assumptions. Therefore, in the end as a society barriers needed to be broken and people need to begin connecting with each other for who they are and not their ethnicities.