Some search results for Staten Island Stereotypes that I am using in my College Readiness Seminar PowerPoint
I am preparing for my upcoming college readiness presentations, which are launching in February. I am preparing the dialogue and the PowerPoint presentation to go with it – if anyone is interested in seeing it, let me know. A part of my talk is going to center on stereotypes and that got me thinking about so many things in terms of where we come from and how we grow. Education has such an important part on this; in changing us and making us ready to be "adults".
My story of growing up on Staten Island and sounding like Mona Lisa Vito and dealing with the stereotypes of being a Staten Island girl are still valid today, although those stereotypes instead of abating have just gotten worse. With social media and various reality shows, there is even more negativity to combat about being a Staten Islander.
When I started college in 1994, the idea of being from Staten Island was of being Italian, having a bad accent and living with the “dump”. Now, we have Mob Wives and the infamous name of “heroin island” thanks to the Discovery Channel show (along with the unfortunate perils of addiction that exist on this island).
How do we balance these stereotypes against the person we know we are inside. It is challenging and it involves raising above and not engaging with the stereotypes while maintaining professionalism with focus on the end goals. Could be easy for a 20 or 30-something but what about for our high school aged friends and neighbors who are still trying to figure out who they are and what their goals are while fighting against being pigeonholed into set stereotypes and ideas about where they come from and how they speak.
I moved across country as a young kid – like 10 years old and no matter where we went, people stopped us to ask if a) we were in the mob and b) if we had any guns on us and c) if we could just say the word “water” for them one more time. That was, of course, before internet and reality tv. Now, imagine what it is like to travel and go someplace new saying you are from “New York” or “Staten Island”. Ultimately, you can say, “New York” but eventually people will discover it is actually “Staten Island” and how do you manage their perceptions.
A great trick is to have it remain their perceptions; continue to be yourself – a hard working, focused individual and do not sweat the small stuff – people’s perceptions of you based on where you are from is definitely the small stuff. Instead, continue to focus on becoming the best version of you that you can be – and that includes completing your education and achieving your degree so that you can be ready for wherever your next step will take you.
What do you think about my advice on stereotypes? Would you like me to come speak to your high school students about preparing for college? Let me know in the comments or via any of my social media links. Happy hunting!