University rep says, "Latinas are not wired for success," promptly fired

woman holding her glassesLatinas are many things. We're diverse, driven, strong, and just all around amazing. But it seems one San Jose State University philanthropy board member hasn't gotten the Latinas Are Awesome memo. During a February meeting of the board, member Wanda Ginner had the nerve to say Latinas "do not have the DNA to be successful." Out loud.  In front of the vice president of university advancement. And no one did a thing about it. Until now.


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A Latina board member who was present during February's meeting filed an informal complaint right after the comment was made, and followed up in August with a formal complaint after it became apparent that the university was just sitting with their heads up their you-know-whats. It's taken almost nine months, but both Ginner and Dukes have resigned from their posts this week and university officials have officially launched an investigation into the matter. It's about time. And they say Latinos take their sweet time doing things. Whatever! We get things done. Efficiency is in our DNA!

I'd like to say I'm absolutely shocked by these allegations, but I'm not. Growing up Puerto Rican in the South Bronx, I've experienced my fair share of prejudice. I'll never forget the time a woman told me during a scholarship gala that I should perhaps consider taking up a trade, as a career in journalism was unlikely for a girl like me. A girl like me? I was a straight A student and a member of New York City's student council. At the time I was taking Intro to Law at NYU, and taking three AP classes. Oh, I was only fifteen! A girl like me? Yeah, right.

Here's a newsflash for people like Ginner and that racist woman who had the nerve to try and deter me from following my dreams: Latinas prove every day that they have what it takes to be successful. Latinas are driven, determined, creative, and fierce. We're fighters. Many of our mothers and grandmothers uprooted their lives to come here and make a new, better life for themselves and their families. They started small businesses from scratch, raised families, and became community advocates. That's not easy. That takes guts, ingenuity, and a certain amount of fearlessness. It takes emotional and mental intelligence. It takes a lot, but we do it. Why? Because it's hard work and success is encoded in our DNA, that's why.

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Topics: culture  latin culture  latina role models