Stop Ignoring The Colorism In Our Latinx Community

Stop Ignoring The Colorism In Our Latinx Community

Some Latinas look more like Amara La Negra then Jennifer Lopez, and they are just as beautiful


Let me start off with this...I am no expert on how to navigate the waters of conversations surrounding race but what I do know is that I am not afraid to have them, and you shouldn't be either.

Now more than ever, it is so important to be open to having these conversations, however difficult that might seem. What I find interesting and disturbing at the same time is the deeply rooted prejudices that are held even within my own community. I am a second generation Dominican American. My Abuela, like many others who traveled to this country, came here with the hopes of giving her family and legacy a chance at a better life. I am thankful beyond measure for being a first-generation college student.

I can already hear what some might say in response to my opinion on this. I wasn't born in the country, I don't speak the language perfectly, and what do I know, right? And maybe they're right, who am I to point out the very obvious prejudice many of my people hold? But I do acknowledge that it is generations of political and societal oppressions that have contributed to this distorted perception of what beauty in our Latinx community looks like.

I remember my first blowout and how excited everyone was to finally see my hair straight sleek and shiny. Every time I stepped into the salon with my tangled messy bun, or what we call a pajon, people would ask my mother how she managed my hair. She'd jokingly say that she doesn't and that we were there so they could fix it since it was just too much for her to handle.

By the end of those visits, my hair was pin straight and everyone would point out how beautiful the blanquita was and how blessed I was with that head of hair. I quickly associated my feeling beautiful with getting my hair straightened and for a long time hated my curly hair.

Denise Hernandez

What really struck me though, was the difference in the way they approached my hair compared to my sister's. My sister is much darker than I am, and with curls that coil much more refined, was always told that she needed to relax her hair. They'd explain that she needed to come in at least once a month for treatments to make it more manageable. This bothered me because, as her older sister, she is my entire world. I never wanted her to feel as though she needed to change herself to feel beautiful.

I remember the first time we sat down and watched Black Girls Rock together because she cried seeing herself celebrated on tv. I created a playlist of music that was inspired by her beauty. On it, songs I have songs like Solange's 'Don't Touch My Hair', India Arie's 'I Am Not My Hair,' and 'Girl Can't Be Herself' by Alicia Keys. This was one of the first times that I realized and understood my role in her life not only as her sister but as a conscious human being.

I am a light skinned Latina, I have a privilege and a responsibility to celebrate Latinas that look like me, but more importantly the ones who don't.

To my family members darker than me, I have always been in awe of your radiance, beauty, and intellect. I want the world to celebrate you in the same ways I do, and I want to be a part of that change.

Till then, let's call each other out when people make comments about marrying lighter to "advance the race," and let's stop claiming that our hair is unmanageable when in its natural state, and let's instill a sense of pride in our younger generations so they grow up challenging the standard. Many in the latinx community don't like to identify as Afro-Latina/o/x, and they don't have, too but for those who do: I hope you stand proudly in your power.

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That's Not Racist, Right? : Black People and Family Feud

I want the black people to win... is that wrong?

Is it racist to always root for the black people on a game show? Or to feel some type of relief when you find out that the guy who robbed a bank down the street wasn’t black? Or to hope that your daughter or son brings home a fine BROWN man or a beautiful CHOCOLATE princess?

This article is the first in a series I am calling, "That's Not Racist, Right? :The Art of Having Our Own Backs". In this series, I will cover everything from black people on game shows, having a black president, interracial dating and even OJ Simpson.

First up: Black people on Family Feud.

I always root for the black families to win on Family Feud. That's not racist, right?

Let me break it down for you:

Since the establishment of this country, the two main sources of support for black people have been God and other black people. Black people have always used their faith as means of endurance and strength whenever things got tough. Other black people have always been a reliable source of support for the black community because… they're black too and they understand the inherited struggles that come with pigmented skin. I think that the black community has mastered the art of having our own backs. I consider myself to be a “Pro-Black” cheerleader. I will support black people til the end (within reason, of course). I believe a majority, if not all, of the black community, is the same way. We always root for other black people to succeed because they are us and we are them.

I always root for the black people to win when I’m watching Family Feud or any other game show for two main reasons: One, because for so long, black people were rarely seen on game shows or any type of television for that matter, and two, I'm black. When I watch Family Feud on TV every weeknight at 7 o'clock, it takes me all of .025 seconds to look at both families and determine who I’m rooting for (I always root for the black family, assuming that there is one on that episode. If not, I root for whichever family gives the best answers, and if we’re lucky enough to get two black families, it’s automatically a win-win situation!) I cannot tell you how many times my family has crowded around the television hoping and praying that the black family comes up with the final answer to clear the board and wins the game. And when they do, the amount of celebration coming from our living room would make you think that we were the ones walking away with $20,000. Our unwavering support for the black families on Family Feud or any other game show (regardless of their performance) is not us rooting against non-black people, but us rooting for ourselves. We see ourselves in these people. We see their intelligence, their humor, and their style and we see in them our mothers, fathers, aunts, uncles, brothers and cousins. We see other black people having a chance to come out on top and we support them by yelling answers at the TV screen (even though they can't hear us) and celebrate when they bring home the victory. As far as I’m concerned, a victory for one black family is a victory for all.

That's not racist, right?

Do you guys think it's wrong to root for people to win because of their skin color?

Please comment below and let me know what you think and be sure to stay tuned for my article next week when I discuss crime and OJ Simpson!

Cover Image Credit: 411 Mania

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Dear Marvel, You Really Need TO Do Better With Representation

This is simply a poor attempt at more diversity.


SPOILER WARNING: This article contains spoilers for the Marvel Cinematic Universe

Avengers "Endgame" hit theaters and shattered records across the world with making an amazing $350 million in North America and an even more stunning $1.2 billion worldwide. In fact, 'Endgame' has already destroyed records set back "Star Wars: The Force Awakens," "Avatar," and even the first part of the movie, 'Infinity War.' Fans went in expecting a mix of emotions and for the most part, the movie definitely delivered. However, there is one thing that some fans are severely disappointed in.

Directors like the Russo Brothers hyped up an "exclusive gay character" and "Marvel's first openly gay character" in the 22 movie franchise. But fans weren't happy with what they received after all of this hype beforehand. While representation is representation sometimes it's simply not good enough. In this movie, Steve Rogers (Captain America) goes to a counseling group with others to deal with such a huge loss in their world and lives. This is where we meet the "exclusive" gay character, who barely even has a name. He's an unnoticeable character if you're not paying attention, has no relevance to the plot, and doesn't make any kind of difference in the movie at all. He talks about how he finally went out on a date, with a guy, and how eventually they both cry while reflecting on their lives after the snap. While they call this "exclusive," we call this pretty close to queerbaiting.

Making a big deal over a background character and parading him around for his sexuality isn't what we would call representation. While it's always cool to see an LGBTQ character on the screen in such a huge series, this character is still just a minor character and has no relevance and is literally never seen again. He is on screen for less than five minutes before we never see this character again. This is what you call representation? A minor background character with no importance whatsoever? No thanks!

What we are looking for is at least someone that has something to do with the plot, not just there to say they've done it and market to the LGBTQ community. Marvel needs to do better when it comes to this. Their big deal over a minor character lost our respect more than it gained because this excitement was only a money grab more than an actual attempt at diversity. When we have characters like Valkyrie, who is Bisexual in the comics, we want to see more major characters gain this diversity. Even Captain Marvel actress Brie Larson agrees, "we gotta move faster" as no person should be excluded from being a superhero for any reason, even sexual orientation.

So Marvel, while you're here breaking box office records, don't forget to do better at giving the LGBTQ community the representation they deserve, and the representation we all want! And until you do, we'll just be here looking over Brie Larson's and Bev Johnson's support of Captain Marvel and Valkyrie!

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