“If there’s one thing that Latinos have in common, it’s a complete lack of commonality.”
This line in an NPR commentary by Daniel Hernandez caught my attention as I drove home from work recently. Hernandez, a Mexican American blogger in his 20s, was expressing his indignation at pundits’ stereotypical assumptions about the “Latino Vote” in the democratic primaries of Super Tuesday.
As Hernandez spoke, my mind jumped to the photos that illustrate the homepage of Working Films’ multi-media curriculum project New Faces: Latinos in North Carolina – the youthful grin of a middle school student, another face lined from work in the sun, the wire rimed glasses of a hotel manager, the black curly hair of a parent liaison… their skin ranging in shades from beige to coffee. The faces in these photos introduce website visitors to a curriculum project designed to challenge stereotypes and illustrate the varied realities and contributions of North Carolina’s growing Latino population.
So far more than 250 teachers and community leaders are using this curriculum in North Carolina classrooms and non-profit organizations. Our goals for implementation of the New Faces project are to encourage students and citizens to see their connection to all NC residents and to build understanding about how race and ethnicity have played a part in our state’s history and continues to affect each of us today.
As I consider the national conversation about these same issues, which has been brought to the forefront by this historic presidential election, I have begun to consider that New Faces may also prepare youth and adults to question the broad assertions of the pundits and instead make their own informed decisions as they participate in civic life.