Salsa > Prejudice amongst Salseros

Discussion in 'Salsa' started by IsaacAltman, Jan 3, 2004.

  1. IsaacAltman

    IsaacAltman Member

    Ther is a partiality that prevents objective consideration of a non Latino Salsero that permeates in the Salsa world. I know I have been subject to it and I have talked to others who also have experienced this outward prejudice. I would just like to hear of any others who have had this experience and what do you think about it?
  2. Danish Guy

    Danish Guy New Member

    There’s not that many Latinos in the clubs here, that people think less about my salsa because I’m a white guy.

    But I have noticed a embracing everything from Latinos, Cuba or New York. Style or no style.
    I always look if the style or moves work, more then where it comes from.
  3. SDsalsaguy

    SDsalsaguy Administrator Staff Member

    I've encountered little, if any, such prejudice here in San Diego…and we do have a large Latino population. The divide seems to be more between the flashy and the old school dancers, regardless of nationality and/or ethnicity.
  4. pygmalion

    pygmalion Well-Known Member

    Then there's in crowd /out crowd prejudice. But I've seen both insiders and outsiders of every possible racial background. And, come to think of it, I've also seen that same prejudice at ballroom dances, as well.
  5. SDsalsaguy

    SDsalsaguy Administrator Staff Member

    Good point Jenn. Perhaps Latinos are given benefit of the doubt as insiders, but that only goes so far…extant social groups already have boundaries and, at least in scenes where the dancing comes before socializing, association and dancing itself provide the avenues to in crowd acceptance.
  6. youngsta

    youngsta Active Member

    I wouldn't say I've experienced any prejudice since I've been in the salsa scene, but what DOES happen is people assuming I am of Latino decent because of the way I dance. 90% of the people I meet think I'm Dominican or Cuban.
  7. SDsalsaguy

    SDsalsaguy Administrator Staff Member

    I hear ya youngsta... I tend to get some surprised looks after I come of the floor and when people find out I'm in no way Latino.
  8. cowpaste

    cowpaste New Member

    I'm not yet confident enough to ask random women to dance yet, but I have been to a club once where I was the only Asian. That clubs was PACKED, and very big. There were a handful of blacks and whites, and one sole Asian. :) I got tons of stares...especially when I was dancing with my female friends. I usually don't mind being a minority, but the ONLY freaking one?!? The stares are extremely uncomfortable too. :(
  9. pygmalion

    pygmalion Well-Known Member

    Yeah, cowpaste, I've had similar experiences in other life situations as well. As an African-American female engineer, I've often been the "only one." And I think it's human nature to notice the "only ones." That happens both in salsa clubs and also in other circumstances. I also FEEL conspicuous when I'm the only one. And it's kinda hard to tell the difference between my own feelings and other people's prejudice.

    That said, both in salsa clubs and in life, I've managed to overcome initial feelings/perceptions of uniqueness by just hanging in there a while. People do learn to accept and like you, in time, because people have far more in common than they have that's unique, IMHO.
  10. danceguy

    danceguy New Member

    While I'm still very new to the Salsa scene in my area, I haven't noticed any types of racial prejudices when I've gone out dancing. Although I'm part Hispanic (Spain), I have no physical characteristics that mark me as so, and my knowledge of the language is very limited.

    I have always had very close ties to Latino people, so part of the reason I enjoy learning Salsa is to learn more about the culture. At the venue I frequent the Latino folks are certainly the majority, but they are also very welcoming and kind which is what keeps me coming back.

    The only time I've felt like a minority in dance is in regards to age. At every dance venue I've been to, the main crowd is late 30's to 50+, with a few teenagers or 20 year olds now and then. Being 29 myself, I rarely meet folks my own age at dances. Sometimes I'm the only person there under 40, and while it does make a bit uncomfortable at times, I always remind myself I'm there to have fun.

    Besides, the folks that are older have been dancing a long time, and have a lot to share and teach us young un's. :)
  11. MadamSamba

    MadamSamba Member

    Yeah, I'd have to agree with the majority.

    I've not experienced any prejudice whatsoever. I'm in Australia and while the salsa scene here does have a small Hispanic portion, it's a huge hotch-potch of many nationalities, a mix of caucasians, Indians, Chinese, Malays, Brits, Singaporeans, everything really.

    It's interesting, being invovled in both salsa and ballroom, I find the exact opposite, Isaac, that dancers are a warm and welcoming bunch who generally only judge you on how you dance.

    Perhaps you feel in the minority not being Hispanic, but I don't know the Florida salsa scene well enough to comment. If it helps any, here the most striking differentiations seem to be between experienced salseros/salseras and inexperienced ones and LA-style and Cuban style.
  12. peachexploration

    peachexploration New Member

    Same here Pygmalion. I get this :shock: :shock: :shock: alot when people find out I'm African-American lady who loves Salsa, Sushi, Classical Music and happens to be a computer administrator among other things considered not to be "stereotypical". :roll: It used to bother me too, but most times, I just walk in with a big 'ole smile and say hello to everyone and the ice breaks. :D :D :D
  13. DanceMentor

    DanceMentor Administrator

    I think prejudice is pretty evenly distributed. We should always encourage one another, and be careful not to make jokes that might be interpreted the wrong way. It's easy to be fooling around and before you know it, people think you are prejudiced.

    For example, I have heard white people jokingly using the "N" word about black people and trying to make a joke out of it. While some people may laugh, others may be deeply offended, even if they don't say anything about it.
  14. pygmalion

    pygmalion Well-Known Member

    How did you know I'd check in one last time LOL? I can't resist responding to your post, DM.

    I have a long history with issues of prejudice. I won't give my resume here, but I have spent about 15 years in the diversity/anti-prejudice field via volunteer work, because it's important to me.

    And I learned a heck of a lot about people in the process. I really need to go, which is a good thing, because I could write a book.

    One of the main things I learned is that, to some extent EVERYBODY is prejudiced, with the exception of very young and innocent children. Prejudice is just a set of assumptions based on what we've experienced or what we've been taught. Nothing wrong with prejudice in that sense.

    And, while there are exceptions, most people are well-intentioned, kind people, who are pretty unaware of their own biases. Also nothing wrong with that.

    The opportunity for prejudice to become hurtful comes when you mix people. Then the rubber hits the road, and people need to become willing to challenge their own set of beliefs. The good thing is that the opportunity cuts both ways. Bad things could happen, true, but good things could happen too.

    Look at dance forums, for example. Here, you have people of every description -- young, medium, older. Every racial background. A long and growing list of nationalities. Different languages. Different dance disciplines. And this is one of the kindest, most warm and supportive places to be. Why? Because we all came with our prejudices, but were also willing to challenge them.

    Not bad! 8) :D
  15. cowpaste

    cowpaste New Member

    I have to totally agree with this. Take my mother for example. She was born in Thailand and moved to the United States in her twenties. She came with a clean "prejudice" state. That is, she grew up among Thais, so when she came to the States, she pretty much looked at everyone equally. Now she is 50+, and I can tell from talking with her that she has slight prejudices against blacks and hispanics. Why? Well, it's a simple matter of statistics and where we live. When she watched the news, she noticed that most of the crimes were commited by people of those races. Sad but true (I really hope I don't get flamed for this). So over the years, she has developed slight prejudices.

    It's a bit different with Salsa prejudice. In the above example, it was pretty much a "innocent until proven guilty" thing. The situation Issac brought up is a "guilty until proven innocent" thing.

    Poor, poor cow. :(
  16. tsb

    tsb Well-Known Member

    speaking as someone of asian ancestry, when i first started doing salsa, i had latinas turn me down - AND immediately accept an invite from a latino for the same song. that was their perogative, but when the tables were turned after they'd watched me dance with someone else & they started hovering nearby hoping i'll ask them again, i admit to experiencing a great deal of satisfaction from asking every other woman near them to dance but not them.

    i submit that the large percentage of 'street' dancers in salsa as well as the 'club' factor contributes to this type of experience; most dance teachers include basic dance etiquette & courtesies in their instruction.

    in general, i enjoy 'club' dances, but not necessarily the venues where these dances are the primary dance.
  17. Sagitta

    Sagitta Well-Known Member

    The "club" atmosphere and street education so the latinas must see you prove yourself before they want to dance with you. It definitely happens. Unfortunately that's the way it is, but once you get that one "proving" dance in you can dance to your heart's content. :D
  18. salsachinita

    salsachinita New Member

    Yep, I agree with you there, SD. As MadamSamba said, in our town the divisions are mainly between LA/Cuban studios (that is, after the divisions between studio/street dancers).

    These are DIVISIONS, not really prejudice though.
  19. salsachinita

    salsachinita New Member

    I have been the one freaking one for YEARS, but absolutely LOVING it!

    Think about it, once they get over the fact that you are actually there to DANCE (and learn), these people who stared would actually admire your courage and feel very honoured to have you in their midst :D !

    And think about the celebrity status 8) ......! You are the only one! If you are good, you will stand out in a positive way.

    THAT, my friend, is exactly how I earnt my nickname 8) . I wouldn't change it for the world!
  20. pygmalion

    pygmalion Well-Known Member

    Hey cowpaste, hadn't you noticed? In Dance Forums, most people don't flame. They REASON lol! :lol: :lol:

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