Latino Boomers Missing
When I saw the Next Avenue 2016 Influencers in Aging I was thrilled. What a joy, to see my friends receive an honor. Then, I realized there were no faces like mine. Where are the Latino boomers? Now I like every other Latino know we come in different colors. Some of us with blonde and red hair. Others with various shades of brown and black. Now many of us have a common color gray. However, scanning the faces of the influencers there was no one who looked like me.
Growing Up Without Role Models
As a child growing up in the 70s and 80s in Los Angeles there no Latina faces in pop culture. I remember driving with my mom and spying a huge billboard advertising soap. Featured prominently in the ad was an African American woman. I remember, point it out and saying to my mom, “Look black people use soap too. Do you think they’ll show brown people too? My mother smiled back and sighed. Now, fifty years later I wonder, Do brown people get old too?
The Privilege Walk
There are different reasons why Latino faces, especially female faces are missing. In fact, there might be one in particular to explain this lack of diversity. The Privilege Walk. The exercise was introduced to me a couple of summers ago. Friends I made through volunteer work met for lunch. The conversation turned to opportunity and then to privilege. Prior to the conversation, privilege meant opportunity. In the video below by the University of Louisianna Monroe see what else it might mean.
In Plain Sight
With regard to the Privilege Walk, it may be decades before Latinos move forward as Influencers of Aging. However, some of the eight million Latino boomers will become professionals in aging. Eventually, it will happen and there will be more Latino boomer influencers in aging.
About the Author
Currently, Judi Bonilla is the Director of Program Innovation at Advocates For Aging. She is the first gerontologist to speak at South by Southwest. Judi has also spoken at the American Society on Aging and Certified Senior Advisors conferences. She also served as a fellow for Hispanics in Philanthropy and Senior Service America. Judi is the author of Freewheeling After Sixty a book for older drivers. In addition, you can find her at theaginexpert.com.