"Negra." This is the nickname that my family has given to me because out of all of them I am the darkest. I am from the Dominican Republic (DR) and the erasure of blackness within my country is at an all-time high. Just last year a new law was implemented that was unjust towards Haitians who live within the country.
The law was supposed to offer a solution to the illegal immigration issue that exists between the two countries but rather than solve the problem, it infused the entire country in hate towards Haitians. Xenophobia is a real issue within the country yet there are those that claim that this is not the case.
Some say this hate is only towards Haitians but this is something that all dark-skinned Dominicans have experienced. My kinky hair and black features are always topics of conversations with family members. They say to me, "negra, pero tu no te peinas?," (aren't you going to do your hair). The hardest part is hearing my family say that my blackness is a bad thing.
Embracing my identity as an Afro-Latina has been hard for me. I come from a background of people who deny their African heritage, a group of people who solely recognize their Indio and European identity, without realizing that we are a black nation, that we are black people and that our blackness should make us proud. Although efforts are being made within DR to further embrace the country's backness, there is still much work to be done.
I will continue to experience prejudice for embracing my blackness, but all I have to say is that I am black and I am proud. My blackness is me and I am my blackness. #afrolatinahastalamuerte
Negra soy y negra seguiré siendo.
I say to my fellow afro siblings, embrace what makes you, you. Whether it's your hair or your dark skin, embrace it and be thankful for it.