"Countless minorities have been propelled forward in their career by people who don’t look like them or share their experiences, writes Victor Menaldo."
Prof. Menaldo starts the piece by giving background that he is a child of an immigrant to this country and had roots in both the U.S. and Latin America. His father worked hard and got an education but still suffered discrimination. Prof. Menaldo notes that once he came back to the U.S. and in college he was considered "latino", even having a prominent academic tell him that he should study "...'Latino philosophy.' With great dignity but also respect and even admiration, I immediately corrected him and said, 'Sir, there is no such thing as Latino philosophy. There is only philosophy, because philosophy is a birthright of all of humanity, the seeds of which were given to us by ancient civilizations that spanned the globe'...I learned along the way: across academe, as in our society, it has become common to hypostatize a unique Latino identity and culture, a people with shared interests and fate. The same goes, according to conventional wisdom, for people of other affinity groups. I’ve also heard some professors, administrators and students throughout academia put forth arguments that white folks cannot speak to my experience or others like it because “they just don’t know what it’s like to be a person of color in America.” Putatively, their “privilege” prevents them from ever really understanding me and people from other minority groups."
But, Prof. Menaldo notes, reality is more complicated than race theory.