Fitting in

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In America, everybody’s beliefs and cultures are valid and worth expressing. But it doesn’t mean that American citizens should be able to distinguish who belongs in certain cultures and what their beliefs are and dress a certain way that is a social norm (the accepted behaviors within a society or group) in whatever country you live in. In America people get stereotyped and judged by the way they talk or dress. If a guy who is from another country and dress with super tight jeans and shirt, in America, people most likely think he is not manly. In Cofer’s essay, “Don’t call Me a Hot Tamale”, she describes how being raised as a traditional Puerto Rican by dressing in “tight skirts and bright colors” (592) is not socially acceptable in growing up in New Jersey if you just want to “keep cool as well as look sexy” (592). Instead of replacing her Puerto Rican bright colored dress code and accepting the American “tailored skirts and silk blouses” (592), Cofer complains that she should not change the way she is and she is doing something about being stereotyped in America by reading her composed stories, poems, and her dreams around the U.S and her goal is to get the “audience past the particulars of her skin color, accent or her clothes” (593). She argues against the fact that Americans stereotype and discriminate about her gender, culture, and most important of all her Puerto Rican dress code. She needs to understand that she now lives in a new country and she needs to stop complaining and start adapting to the American social norms.

According to Cofer, in Puerto Rico “showing your skin was one way to keep cool as well as to look sexy. On the island women felt freer to dress and move provocatively since they were protected by the traditions and laws…” (592). Knowing that those social norms are in Puerto Rico and growing up in New Jersey why expect the same respect and protection in America? Here in America, well rounded Latinas get portrayed negative thoughts...
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