Employee of the Month is a series portraying photos of employees of a diner called "Hamburger World", which is the typical food place to eat for the common people in the U.S. The employees I chose are immigrants from different places of the world, and I painted them with the traditional outfit of the culture they belong to. The aim of my wok is to question the viewer about who is serving us, who is working out there and living beside us. I want to bring conscience to the people of capitalistic countries; we need to start appreciating the cultural background of everyone, not only by going to a museum or by eating their food; by embracing the differences of others and making them feel proud of who they are. It is sad for me that a lot of cultures and traditions are lost when people are displaced either by wars or to find better opportunities, immigrants need to leave their culture aside and convert to the new culture in order to belong and to adapt, and in that process a cultural treasure is lost.
To me living in the U.S has open a new point of view about cultural diversity. I have come to the conclusion that in the academic world diversity is well apreciated while in reality people fight everyday to have uniformed social circles and lives. In theory it is awesome to be able to live in the same city with people from all over the world but, where are they? how come we don't see them unless their racial features are different? The common assumption is that everyone should be equal, speak English, have similar fashion trends and behave in a certain way in public places. Beyond that, no one cares who you are or where you come from, they don't care to know about your culture or customs. We live in a country in which the majority of the population is composed of foreigners or come from an immigrant family, but this is not evident to the eye as everyone is trying to adapt and belong. A lot of immigrants want to belong so much that they rather hide or dismiss their roots, than to validate themselves as who they are and endure difficult social encounters. As an Art teacher of a Middle School I have seen tons of hispanic children denying they speak Spanish in front of their peers just because they feel they are going to be rejected if they do. I have observed this behavior in adults as well, I have spoken in Spanish to people I know speak Spanish because of their accents and they get angry and respond in English, is as if once they learn to speak English they want to prove it to the world. I don't blame them, I have not lived what they have; I blame this type of society who doesn't admire social differences unless it is for their amusement or profit.