(1.20.2017) By Lindsey Smith–Dimmitt Fellow Lorenzo Sandoval’s presentation entitled “Growing up Latino in Iowa” highlighted the discrimination he faced as a child and continues to face today, as well as the damage of having a society that considers immigration an “invasion.”
Sandoval stressed the importance of reversing the attitudes towards immigrants that have led to “painful, non-constructive otherizing.” “Otherizing” refers to the actions of people who think of themselves as part of a group of insiders, such as American citizens, but some take it to an extreme where most immigrants are generalized as dangerous outsiders.
A clip of Sandoval’s presentation.
Sandoval pointed out how it has become the norm in politics to call all immigrants part of an invasion, a powerful word that makes all immigrants seem like terrifying outsiders. These politicians emphasize the importance of keeping them out because they just want to steal from Americans instead of assimilating.
In Sandoval’s life, he witnessed many communities of Mexicans trying to assimilate to this new culture by learning English and getting jobs, contrary to these politicians’ beliefs.
Sandoval recounted how the owner of a pool barred him from swimming with his friends, and how random strangers will ask him where he’s “really” from, sometimes accompanied with a look that makes him feel more like a creature than a person. They only saw him for the brown color of his skin.
Born in America to second-generation Mexican-Americans in Illinois, Sandoval decided to continue part of his higher education at Morningside College in the 1970s. Sandoval felt he was given “the keys to two different cultures” and is forever grateful for that experience.
With his time at the college, along with many years spent in other major cities of Iowa, Sandoval became successful in the theater as an actor and playwright, a television host, an entrepreneur in human services, a teacher, and as a director of the Iowa Shakespeare Experience.
Sandoval will be on the Morningside College Campus for the entirety of the spring semester of 2017, living in Dimmitt Hall. He will also be teaching and directing several of his own plays on campus in March and April with titles such as Thrice Told Tales and Juanito and his Tales.