From my perspective, Cofer’s essay is thought-provoking when it comes to stereotypes about Latin American and Hispanic women. Specifically, the essayist mentions a widespread stereotype that immigrants from Puerto Rico are easy to spot because these girls have no sense of moderation when it comes to jewelry (Cofer 149). The detrimental impact of stereotypes on how Latino women are perceived in English-speaking countries, especially in business contexts, is explained in a profound manner.
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Personally, I have encountered similar stereotypes about non-white women and excessive jewelry. From what I know, the preference for bright colors or patterns can also be laughed at when displayed by racial minority women. The lack of relevant role models, for instance, non-white businesswomen who dress professionally without losing connections with their native cultures’ aesthetic ideals, could be contributing to this perception of Latino women.
Finally, apart from featuring some examples of culture-based stereotypes, it is interesting how the reading depicts many women’s everyday experiences from a new perspective. For example, in the opening paragraph, Cofer mentions the need to fake her positive reaction to another man’s limited knowledge about Latino women expressed in his decision to sing a song. Despite being “not quite as amused [as other bus passengers],” Cofer has to hide her true emotions behind a polite smile (148). In many societies, a woman’s social role involves a set of implicit rules, including pleasing others emotionally and avoiding conflicts. From my viewpoint, the passage cited above illustrates how this issue overlaps with the tendency to make ethnic minorities appreciate any attention to their native culture. After the man’s attempt to highlight the author’s ethnic background without resorting to openly negative beliefs, she is expected to react positively and hide her discontent because he did not mean anything offensive. In this case, the author’s unwillingness to be stereotyped would likely be met with misunderstanding.
Cofer, Judith Ortiz. “The Myth of the Latin Woman: I Just Met a Girl Named Maria.” The Latin Deli: Prose and Poetry, University of Georgia Press, 2010, pp. 148-154.