Latino 101 discussion explores what it means to be Latino at UM

Students from a multitude of ethnic backgrounds gathered in the Eaton Residential College lobby last week, prepared to voice their opinions about everything Latino.

As part of Hispanic Heritage Month, Latino 101 was an event hosted by the Department of Multicultural Student Affairs [MSA] and Sabor, the student organization that opens the door to students from all walks of life to openly discuss issues pertaining to the Latino community.

Elizabeth Aranda of the sociology department and Sally Hughes of the journalism program supervised the event.

According to Aranda and Hughes, Latino 101 is an important tool to let students have access to professors who can nurture the Latino community in regards to the varying issues they may face on a day-to-day basis.

The first topic approached for discussion revolved around transitioning into the UM community. Although some students voiced that many times they felt like an underrepresented minority, some students felt the complete opposite.

“I had a great transition,” Maria Lopez, a senior from Louisiana, said. “It was wonderful to always run into other [Latinos].”

Other issues pertaining to stereotypes and discrimination within Latino society were also discussed.

“There are social status factors,” Alexander Martin, senior and author of Heaven’s Gate, said.

The idea that the majority of Latino discriminatory social ranks are decided on the basis of skin color, where lighter skin is regarded as superior to darker skin, was discussed.

However, most of those at the event felt that present-generation Latinos are against that particular manner of thinking. This became evident when students expressed opposing views.

Also, throughout the discussion, the issue of what factors unite Latinos was brought up.

“Food, music – definitely music – and religion,” Ivan Morales, a senior who attended the event, said.

Other variables presented by students included language, the Latino way of life and how Latino children are raised.

At the end of the event, refreshments were served along with small sandwiches, guava pastries and various other Hispanic finger foods.

“Events like Latino 101 cater to the Hispanic community, and educate the Hispanic society,” said Sheila Blake, senior and chair of the Hispanic Heritage Month committee.

The Hispanic Heritage Month committee encourages all students to get involved in the events they have planned.

The next event will be a gala featuring Tito Puente Jr. and his orchestra from 8 p.m. to midnight at a local venue.

A formal dinner will be served, and semi-formal dress is required.

Transportation will be provided leaving the University at 7:15 p.m.

Tickets are $20 when purchased through MSA. For more information, call the MSA office at 305-284-2855.

Christine Dominguez can be contacted at