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ERNESTO Caravantes

Clipping Their Own Wings z

A reflection on the past, present and future of our youth...

Nearly six years ago, I set pen ping Their Own Wings, I
to paper and began to write a wanted to approach this prob-
book. As a Mexican-American, lem from a different angle. I
I felt that something needed to focused on the culture, and
be done to help the took the bold
plight of Latino position of stat-
students who drop ing that it was
out of school in the culture that
droves. I wanted to was at the heart
On Friday, February help culture to of the problem.
05th, I will have the which I belong. In so doing, I
pleasure of speaking with put forth my
some promising leaders When nearly half proposition that
of tomorrow at the of the Latino stu- the culture val-
Chinatown Service dent population ues other things
Center in Los Angeles, drops out of high over and above
California. school, the entire education. I was
country suffers as a not stating that
result. These former students the culture couldn’t care less
nnn end up committing violent about education, but, rather,
Chinatown Service Center crimes, joining street gangs, or that other things, such as sheer
end up having several children survival, and family cohesion,
February 05, 2010 out of wedlock. They also end pull rank over education. My
up going on public assistance. book’s message was not placing
4:30pm You and I as taxpayers end up any value judgment on this
footing the bill. It drains the matter. We all have to survive
Los Angeles, CA national and state economies of and most of us place strong
valuable resources. However, importance on family values.
when I decided to write Clip- However, for some cultures,
education is more important Like with any large group of general, and Mexican-
and more of a priority than it people, one is going to see the Americans in particular, in any
is for others. Plain and simple. bell curve of mental and intel- way I can through my work.
And for those of us who are lectual abilities in the Mexican- There will be times when my
able to study the panoply of American population. On one work will force me to confront
cultures living in our modern end of the curve will be the the divergent attitudes in soci-
society, this should be rather outliers who are incredibly in- ety with a critical eye and an
self-evident. telligent. On the other end will even more critical mind.
be the outliers who are in-
I then decided to take an even credibly slow. As usual, the Even if I must stand alone, the
more discerning view of the bulk of the population will be importance of achieving my
Mexican-American culture. I somewhere in the middle. goals is worth the effort and
put together the series of essays Thus, when I am speaking or the criticism I will receive.
that I compiled and published writing in such over-reaching
them as the book, The terms to describe a very large
Mexican-American Mind. It population, I use terms that
came to attention of my read- attempt to capture, as accu-
ers that I was using words such
as “lazy”, or “ignorant.” How-
rately and as candidly as possi-
ble, public perceptions and
Connect with
ever, what was less known was
that I was using terms to de-
popular stereotypes. Many of
these perceptions and stereo-
Ernesto Online:
scribe other people’s percep- types are unfair and unpopular.
tions of the Mexican- One cannot describe the entire
American culture. Those terms population by only looking at Web
are not necessarily representa- the bottom of the barrel.
tive of my own views of the
people who comprise the cul- My books were written with
ture. Many of my readers the intention of examining, as
made the mistaken assumption critically as possible, only the Blog:
that because such terms were sub-population of Mexican-
being used in my books, they Americans that are dropping
must be some indication of out of high school in record ernestocaravantes.
how I personally view Latin numbers and plaguing our so-
Americans in general, and ciety with violent crimes. In the
Mexican-Americans in particu- course of doing this difficult
lar. Naturally, this caused much work, I undertook the unpleas-
indignation, which I com- ant task of reviewing popular Invite Ernesto...
pletely understand. Those are perceptions and prejudices to
harsh terms. It is only natural see if they had any validity or Special Events
that intelligent and hard- truth behind them. However, it College / University,
working Hispanic readers was not my intention to mix or Conferences, Forums
would feel incensed at seeing tangle my personal views with
such adjectives being placed so the views that other people
strategically in front of their have of this culture. I am very
ethnic category. proud of my heritage and want
to help Latin Americans in
Ernesto to visit
Chinatown Service Center
“We are certain that Mr. Ernesto Caravantes' mission to motivate success in minorities will have the
critical ability to lend a hand in assisting our community to bridge the cultural gap.” ~ CSCLA


“I am honored to be invited to speak at the Chinatown Service Center for Los Angeles,” says Ernesto. “My
presentation will be part of the center’s Bridging the Gap (BTG) project, which strives to create social change in
the community of Chinatown by building positive relationships between the disconnected cultures and people of
Chinese and Hispanic descent.”

Ernesto will highlight the commonalities between the two cultures, share his experiences of growing up, and
educate the youth that as minorities, they have to empathize and help each other. 

Chinatown Service Center (CSC) is a non-profit social service agency that provides services to the disadvantage
immigrant population in Chinatown and other nearby areas. It is the largest human service organization in the
south of California that provides services in Spanish and various Chinese dialects. CSC's organization mission is
to provide outstanding services and advocacy that promote better quality of life and equal opportunity for
immigrants and other communities.

“The community of Chinatown is diverse and yet divided, despite the common backgrounds of our immigrant
residents,” says Senior Program Assistant Specialist Danee Prasert. “As a social service agency, Chinatown
Service Center (CSC) would like to see the community become more solidified through stronger race relations.
We hope that Mr. Ernesto Caravantes' visit to CSC's Youth Center (and essentially, the community of
Chinatown) will help enlighten our youth generation to increase empathy and respect for one another's cultures.

We are certain that Mr. Ernesto Caravantes' mission to motivate success in minorities will have the
critical ability to lend a hand in assisting our community to bridge the cultural gap.”

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