culture/multiculturalism · Hispanics/Latinos · New York

Is Latino culture putting a low emphasis on education?

In his new book, Ernesto Caravantes, author of the controversial book “Clipping Their Own Wings: The Incompatibility Between Latino Culture and American Education,” insists that Hispanics need to start putting education first.

But is it really a part of Hispanic culture not to value education or is it a Hispanic American cultural problem?

My family in the Dominican Republic is highly educated. In just a few generations, they went from living in the rural countryside to owning businesses in the big city. They valued education before they arrived in America and they brought these values with them. Both my parents emphasized education as important. Indeed, they saw it as the only way to get ahead in American society and get out of poverty.

But what I found in the New York City public schools that I attended was that most Hispanic students thought that becoming educated was a negative thing, it was called “acting white.”

I’m not sure if the problem lies in Hispanic culture or in Hispanics in America who are suffocating from poverty and finding it difficult to put education first. It’s hard to convince someone who hasn’t seen the dividends in their own community that supporting their child’s educational needs will pay off in the long-term, forget the short-term.

I propose that the more positive educated role models we have, the sooner this problem will be solved.

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