Latino Student Apathy or Entitlement?

I wanted to the last two posts about Black in Latin America to ferment in the minds of my readers. I think it is a lot of information to take in even if you have seen the series before. This is middle of Latino Heritage Month and I have been on that steady mission of educating people on how” our rich culture is.

Sure, I have focused my energy on Afro Latinos. That is to be expected. I know that is the buzz word now and almost the “in” thing to do for most. But, I take this seriously because I feel I am learning with everyone else. More importantly, Latinos come in all colors and shapes and that is something that we need to hold on to.

What frustrates me is the lack of interest that I see amongst Latino students. People want to just call it apathy but, I want to call it entitlement. I realized after seeing fellow Syracuse University alums this past weekend during Coming Back Together 10, that our past cannot be ignored. The struggles of our people before us cannot be overlooked because it is because of them that our brightest youth are where they are. Yet there is this sense of entitlement because there is nothing for these students to fight except for each other.

I wondered how these same students at Syracuse University felt if we just stopped celebrating Latino Heritage Month. I am sure there will be complaints about how unfair it is because there would be no programming exclusively for them. But, would they really complain outside of missing our annual Fiesta Latina? Sure, I personally fought to have this month celebrated years ago, but it pains me to see these same student take it for granted. I know how Moses felt when he broke the commandments after seeing the Jews break every last law and take their freedom for granted.

So where does the sense of entitlement come from? The fact that these students have everything they need. Social Justice takes the shape of canned food drives and tutoring students as part of a job or a Fraternity/Sorority philanthropy. While those maybe important, the idea of education of their own culture becomes less important quite simply because they don’t have to. It is not their core curriculum.

I shake my head at the students who tell me that they didn’t know what was going on which is just an excuse. We should all make it our business what is going on either on the campus or in the world in general. There were plenty of Latino Heritage Month calendars going around, but I am quite sure that students know when the next NPHC or NALFO party is. I am sure they know when the next party is on Marshall Street. I am quite sure they know when Jersey Shore comes on MTV. They will plan their social time and studies around those.

So what now? I will continue to do my workshops and promote workshops because they are important because if one student is positively effected by our programming, then it is worth it.

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