Wednesday, November 27, 2013

A Typical Latina

By Yvonne Arechiga

As a seventeen year old Latina living at home with both of her parents, I feel how high the expectations are for me. Due to the fact that only one of my parents completed a high school education and the other didn’t, I feel the pressure to go beyond high school and make them proud. Being a young female of color can be so stressful. As my father’s oldest daughter, he spends much of his time worrying about the decisions I make in life, which I don’t blame him for. Topics that are constantly being brought to my attention are success and boys.
Boys are my father’s biggest fear. Whether I am having sexual intercourse seems to be constantly crossing my parent's minds. Regardless if I am sexually active or not they remind me constantly that I have to be careful with all boys. My parent’s warn that boys will sweet talk me into a stupid decision. Although my parents have never said, “DON’T GET PREGNANT!” in our culture you’re taught to read between the lines. My response to them every single time they bring this topic up is that I am focused on my future and no boy is on my mind at the moment.

Staying focused in school and not losing track of what I have to do can be a bit difficult given the gender and cultural expectations I experience.  Like most Latinas I know, I’ve been raised to limpiar, cocinar, y cuidar (clean, cook, and care for the household and its members.) and not expect thank yous in return for my contributions. Unlike most of my Latina peers I have found mentors who believe I can achieve great things. I am determined to use my work experiences in catering gained over four years to one day achieve a Master’s degree in business. After business school I plan to become CEO. 

Yvonne Arechiga is a senior at Gardena High School and is proud of working at the Alpine Village swapmeet since the age of thirteen. She hopes to one day have her own catering business but is open to being influenced by other industries as she goes through life and college.

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