The student news site of California State University - Los Angeles

University Times

The student news site of California State University - Los Angeles

University Times

The student news site of California State University - Los Angeles

University Times

This is an illustration with a chocolate brown background, showing seven cartoon figures with headphones on and the words, "Hear Me: Stories of the Real People of SoCal"

From the Black woman who struggled with self-esteem issues because of media ideals and the Filipina woman who was bullied for her dark complexion to the Black man who felt isolated in a primarily Latinx part of Compton and the Twitch broadcaster whose relationships have been tainted by LQBTQ stereotypes on television shows, these are some of the 12 “real people” of Southern California whose lives have been altered by the media and society’s image or expectations of them.

Hearing from folks in our communities, our neighbors, gives us the opportunity to see and understand what they have been through.

In turn, we become more aware of   injustices — racism,  colorism, sexism, homophobia, colorism, classism and other forms of discrimination — and the long-term impact of stereotypes on one’s confidence and sense of self.

We can also learn from how they moved past these challenges and how their lives or careers were shaped by some of these experiences.

Stories like this help us understand those around us and also allow us to reflect on who we are and how we see ourselves in relation to those around us.

These stories may be specific to individuals yet are often widely felt.

Cal State LA student journalists conducted, recorded and edited the interviews — paring each podcast episode down from 30 minutes or more to about four minutes — and re-arranging the soundbites to an order that makes sense for the listener and tells a coherent story.

The people interviewed have lived in or grew up in Southern California cities like Long Beach and Inglewood to Los Angeles neighborhoods like South L.A. and the Eastside.

These are their stories.

-Katherine Conchas & Krysta Pae

Individuals and institutions can help dismantle harmful attitudes and policies

By Katherine Conchas and Krysta Pae

Media is a part of our lives that can’t be ignored. The lack of proper representation in media, and societal stereotypes that both shape and are shaped by the media, are a defining issue in our communities. Spreading acceptance and kindness is sorely needed so that all people — regardless of race, gender, class, age, religion, disability status, body type or anything in between — can thrive as their best selves.

On the institutional level, employers, legislators and government agencies can also make meaningful changes. Here are some suggestions that come from several reports produced by the Center for American Progress, a nonpartisan policy institute:

  • Eliminate all employer exemptions for anti-discrimination laws.
  • Dismantle all exclusions from federal labor under the Fair Labor Standards Act and the Wagner Act.
  • Remove gender-biased dress codes and other subjective disciplinary measures that perpetuate bias and fuel hostility towards LGBTQ youth.
  • Federal agencies should coordinate with the appropriate parties to collect LGBTQ data instruments to properly understand the queer community.
  • Employers should undertake a compensation audit that looks at racial, ethnic, and gender pay differences on an annual basis.
  • Employers should require all staff to participate in anti-gender bias training on an annual basis.

At home, almost

At home, almost

By Zoe Little

Ledi Ham Loot  was bullied in the Philippines for her darker skin tone. It wasn’t until she moved to the United States that people appreciated it. Not everything has been perfect though: Since the COVID-19 pandemic, she was targeted with anti-Asian racism.

 

Perceptions changed

Perceptions changed

By Brandon Rodriguez

Alex Robinson faced stereotypes about the kind of music he should like as a Black man and how he should be. When he moved to Inglewood, his own perceptions of urban students evolved. The Black Lives Matter protests last year also left a deep impression on him.

 

Being biracial, being Black

Being biracial, being Black

By Jorge Garcia, Juan Ricardo Gomez & Ronald Cruz

Despite having predominantly Black-looking parents, Vanessa Hill is what she calls “white passing.” She recalls her experiences as a mixed-race child who struggled to see someone who looked like herself in the media.

My hair and me

My hair and me

By Briana Munoz

Ashley Clayton struggled with self-esteem issues after growing up around toys that didn’t represent her. Now, she spends her time teaching others how to find the beauty within themselves.

 

 

Moving on, growing

Giving up, growing

By Stephanie Presz

Looking back, Hannah Keith is able to pinpoint why she abandoned her childhood dream to be a fashion designer: Her body didn’t represent the “high fashion” look portrayed in the media and by the industry.

 

 

Respecting each other

Respecting each other

By Meghan Bravo and Marisa Martinez

Joseph Brown grew up as one of a few Black folks in a primarily Latinx part of Compton, and he experienced racism there. Through taking an ethnic studies course, he and his classmates learned to respect each other’s backgrounds and struggles.

 

That's not me

That's not me

By Kilmer Salinas

Stereotypes in the media can have a deep affect on our lives and even our relationships. Shane Dela Cruz, a Twitch streamer from Los Angeles, has learned that first-hand.

 

Choosing education

Choosing education

By Jericho Caleb Dancel

Mario Alexander Sanchez Diaz defied expectations of himself by society as a Latino man and took the academic route, while some of his friends got caught up in the “gang life.”

 

Stereotypes, even in college

Stereotypes, even in college

By Catherine Valdez

Jesus Estrada grew up in South L.A. and his dad works at the Farmer John plant in Vernon. He overcame various stereotypes of Latinos growing up but the worst point of his life when he and his family got COVID-19.

Forgiveness

Forgiveness

By Edward Nelson

Courtney Renee was marginalized on her soccer team because of the color of her skin, which hurt her deeply and influenced her outlook. She overcame those feelings through her relationship with God and growth as a person.

Finally represented

Finally represented

By Nicholas Juarez

Diego Crespo describes how it was hard for him to want to be Mexican in high school and how the movie, “Spy Kids,” helped him because he saw a family like his on television.

 

I don't speak Spanish

I don't speak Spanish

By Marisa Escalante

People assume Franki Piloto speaks Spanish because of her darker skin tone and they’re thrown off by her height because “typically Mexican’s aren’t very tall.” But she has used it to her advantage.

Credits

“Hear me: Stories of the real people of SoCal” was produced by students enrolled in Cal State LA’s Race, Class & Gender in American Journalism course.

Professor and web support: Julie Patel Liss/UT Community News

Lead audio editors: Ronald Cruz, Jorge Garcia and Juan Ricardo Gomez

Illustrators: Meghan Bravo and Marisa Martinez

Reporters: Meghan Bravo, Katherine Conchas, Ronald Cruz Orellana, Jericho Caleb Dancel
Marisa Escalante, Jorge Garcia, Juan Ricardo Gomez, Nicholas Juarez, Zoe Little, Marisa Martinez, Briana Munoz, Edward Nelson, Krysta Pae, Stephanie Presz, Brandon Rodriguez, Kilmer Salinas, and Catherine Valdez.

Translate »