Anti-Blackness In The Latinx Community

Anti-Blackness In The Latinx Community

It's time for us to address anti-blackness in the Latinx community.
647
views

The Latinx community is extremely racially diverse -- within the Latinx community both whites, black and mixed peoples exist. Although society is slowing accepting the concept of people within the Latinx community being something other than brown, the majority of society has yet to accept that whiteness does not solely mean Anglo-white, and blackness does not solely mean African-American. The lack of acceptance of this concept, however, has caused for a racial bigotry with the Latinx community to become relatively under-reported and unchecked.

There’s a common misconception that racial hierarchy doesn’t not exist within the Latinx community, which it absolutely does. White Latinos and Afro-Latinos experience two different Americas, and thus cannot be placed into this box of having the same Latino-American experience. For example, The Afro-Puerto Rican actor, Juano Hernandez, took black roles as an actor because he experienced the same segregation as other black people in the United States while the white Cuban actor, Ricky Ricardo (Desi Arnaz), took advantage of his white privilege while still being seen as foreign, inferior and exotic.

In the United States, this separation has manifested in a very interesting way. More often than not, white Latinos are able to keep their Latino identity and benefit from white privilege, while a sizable amount of Afro-Latinos have their Latino identity erased by our society (this is changing, but agonizingly slowly). While the cause of this is debatable, one thing is clear -- there’s a distinct separation between different racial identifications within the Latino community.

With Latino whiteness, of course, comes the concept of white supremacy -- it’s been allowed to manifest in a really interesting fashion, considering Latinos are not often checked, or do not check their own privilege because they are not Anglo-Saxon. In other words -- white privilege, black oppression and racism exists towards Afro-Latinos in the Latinx community and goes largely unchallenged.

In the past year, we’ve seen Univision TV Host Rodner Figuero compare Michelle Obama to a simian from the "Planet of the Apes," the Miss Puerto Rico winner for Miss America get suspended over Anti-Muslim tweets (many outlets reported her suspension as being due to "poor interactions with the media"), and a slew of white-Latinos attack Steve Harvey with racist remarks regarding the Miss Columbia controversy. Most of this has gone largely under-reported in mainstream media, perhaps because many people aren’t sure how to address bigotry coming from non-Anglo-Saxon peoples.

There’s even been speculation whether white Latinos have more racist tendencies than Afro-Latinos. As someone with a white mom and Latino father, you might expect I’ve experienced more anti-black rhetoric from the white side of my family when in fact, the opposite is true. I’m not alone in this observation. Often, in Latino families, anti-blackness is present in every aspect of their lives.

As a white Latina, I’ve been praised for my light skin and blue eyes, while my Afro-Latina cousins have called "pretty for a black girls." I’ve never really thought of ever changing my hair, while my Afro-Latina cousins constantly change their hair to look more like mine. A white-Latina cousin of mine has been criticized for dating a black man, while my other white-Latina cousin has been showered with compliments for dating her white-Latino boyfriend. The bigotry present in our Latinx families can be seen when we converse outside of our families, as well.

The best evidence of this is to log onto Twitter, and check the hashtag #AllLivesMatter. A lot of these tweets are full of bigotry from Latinx, repeating terms they’ve hear their own family members call black Americans. That, in itself, is extremely ironic. Being a Latinx implies a cohesion of culture -- Native, Black and European. It’s painful to watch members of my Puerto Rican family post racist things all over Facebook when so much of Latinx culture takes from black culture. Unfortunately, the denial that our own culture draws from black culture, is also part of our culture.

From certain perspectives, it might seem natural that Latinx community members would stand in solidarity with movements like Black Lives Matter. In reality, we have a massive amount of silence and anti-blackness from the Latinx community. The first thing we need do to change the anti-blackness in our community is to challenge our friends and family that perpetuate anti-blackness. It start in our home, within our families, and it can start to begin to end there. It may seem daunting to call out a mother, aunt, or uncle, but isn’t it a bit more daunting to stay silent and let this cycle of hate continue?

Cover Image Credit: Overage

Popular Right Now

College As Told By Junie B. Jones

A tribute to the beloved author Barbara Parks.
37901
views

The Junie B. Jones series was a big part of my childhood. They were the first chapter books I ever read. On car trips, my mother would entertain my sister and me by purchasing a new Junie B. Jones book and reading it to us. My favorite part about the books then, and still, are how funny they are. Junie B. takes things very literally, and her (mis)adventures are hilarious. A lot of children's authors tend to write for children and parents in their books to keep the attention of both parties. Barbara Park, the author of the Junie B. Jones series, did just that. This is why many things Junie B. said in Kindergarten could be applied to her experiences in college, as shown here.

When Junie B. introduces herself hundreds of times during orientation week:

“My name is Junie B. Jones. The B stands for Beatrice. Except I don't like Beatrice. I just like B and that's all." (Junie B. Jones and the Stupid Smelly Bus, p. 1)

When she goes to her first college career fair:

"Yeah, only guess what? I never even heard of that dumb word careers before. And so I won't know what the heck we're talking about." (Junie B. Jones and her Big Fat Mouth, p. 2)

When she thinks people in class are gossiping about her:

“They whispered to each other for a real long time. Also, they kept looking at me. And they wouldn't even stop." (Junie B., First Grader Boss of Lunch, p. 66)

When someone asks her about the library:

“It's where the books are. And guess what? Books are my very favorite things in the whole world!" (Junie B. Jones and the Stupid Smelly Bus, p. 27)

When she doesn't know what she's eating at the caf:

“I peeked inside the bread. I stared and stared for a real long time. 'Cause I didn't actually recognize the meat, that's why. Finally, I ate it anyway. It was tasty...whatever it was." (Junie B., First Grader Boss of Lunch, p. 66)

When she gets bored during class:

“I drew a sausage patty on my arm. Only that wasn't even an assignment." (Junie B. Jones Loves Handsome Warren, p. 18)

When she considers dropping out:

“Maybe someday I will just be the Boss of Cookies instead!" (Junie B., First Grader Boss of Lunch, p. 76)

When her friends invite her to the lake for Labor Day:

“GOOD NEWS! I CAN COME TO THE LAKE WITH YOU, I BELIEVE!" (Junie B. Jones Smells Something Fishy, p. 17)

When her professor never enters grades on time:

“I rolled my eyes way up to the sky." (Junie B., First Grader Boss of Lunch, p. 38)

When her friends won't stop poking her on Facebook:


“Do not poke me one more time, and I mean it." (Junie B. Jones Smells Something Fishy, p. 7)

When she finds out she got a bad test grade:

“Then my eyes got a little bit wet. I wasn't crying, though." (Junie B. Jones and the Stupid Smelly Bus, p. 17)

When she isn't allowed to have a pet on campus but really wants one:

“FISH STICK! I NAMED HIM FISH STICK BECAUSE HE'S A FISH STICK, OF COURSE!" (Junie B. Jones Smells Something Fishy, p. 59)

When she has to walk across campus in the dark:

“There's no such thing as monsters. There's no such thing as monsters." (Junie B. Jones Has a Monster Under Her Bed, p. 12)

When her boyfriend breaks her heart:

“I am a bachelorette. A bachelorette is when your boyfriend named Ricardo dumps you at recess. Only I wasn't actually expecting that terrible trouble." (Junie B. Jones Is (almost) a Flower Girl, p. 1)

When she paints her first canvas:


"And painting is the funnest thing I love!" (Junie B. Jones and her Big Fat Mouth, p. 61)

When her sorority takes stacked pictures:

“The biggie kids stand in the back. And the shortie kids stand in the front. I am a shortie kid. Only that is nothing to be ashamed of." (Junie B. Jones Has a Monster Under Her Bed, p. 7)

When she's had enough of the caf's food:

“Want to bake a lemon pie? A lemon pie would be fun, don't you think?" (Junie B. Jones Has a Monster Under Her Bed p. 34)

When she forgets about an exam:

“Speechless is when your mouth can't speech." (Junie B. Jones Loves Handsome Warren, p. 54)

When she finds out she has enough credits to graduate:

“A DIPLOMA! A DIPLOMA! I WILL LOVE A DIPLOMA!" (Junie B. Jones is a Graduation Girl p. 6)

When she gets home from college:

"IT'S ME! IT'S JUNIE B. JONES! I'M HOME FROM MY SCHOOL!" (Junie B. Jones and some Sneaky Peaky Spying p. 20)

Cover Image Credit: OrderOfBooks

Related Content

Connect with a generation
of new voices.

We are students, thinkers, influencers, and communities sharing our ideas with the world. Join our platform to create and discover content that actually matters to you.

Learn more Start Creating

'The Farewell' Brings An Asian-American Narrative To Hollywood

I've never imagined that a story like this would make its way to Hollywood, and it's definitely a welcome change.

soniatam
soniatam
109
views

The trailer for Lulu Wang's "The Farewell" was recently released. The film, based on Wang's own experience, stars Awkwafina as Billi, a Chinese-American woman who travels to China after learning her grandmother has been diagnosed with terminal lung cancer. "The Farewell" initially debuted at the 2019 Sundance Film Festival in January, and currently holds a rating of 100% on Rotten Tomatoes.

"The Farewell" is an exciting film for members of the Asian-American community, as it encompasses many of our own experiences in having family overseas. Having this Asian-American narrative portrayed in Hollywood is especially groundbreaking and important to the community. "Crazy Rich Asians" has received much well-deserved acclaim for its leap in Asian representation, but the film did not necessarily depict a completely relatable experience and was only one story out of many in the Asian-American community. There were aspects of the characters' cultures that allowed the Asian-American audience to connect with much of the film, but the upper-class narrative wasn't quite as accessible to everyone.

While "Crazy Rich Asians" portrays Asians in a way that is very much uncommon in Hollywood and American media in general and had a hand in helping to break stereotypes, "The Farewell" introduces a nearly universal first-generation American or immigrant narrative to Hollywood. In doing so, the film allows many members of the Asian-American community to truly see their own experiences and their own stories on the screen.

For me, the trailer alone was enough to make me tear up, and I've seen many other Asian Americans share a similar experience in seeing the trailer. The film reminds us of our own families, whether it's our grandparents or any other family living overseas. I've never imagined that a story like this would make its way to Hollywood, and it's definitely a welcome change.

"The Farewell," which is scheduled for release on July 12, 2019, depicts a family dynamic in the Asian-American experience that hits home for many, including myself. The initial critical response, especially towards Awkwafina's performance, is certainly promising and will hopefully motivate more Asian-American and other minority filmmakers to bring their own stories to Hollywood.

soniatam
soniatam

Related Content

Facebook Comments