Google Header -->
Skip to main content
Curly Nikki

Black-Latino Identity–Naturally Leslie

By September 9th, 202175 Comments

The beautiful and insightful Leslie, of Naturally Leslie, will be contributing cultural pieces to weekly!Check it out, and weigh in!

Black-Latino Identity--Naturally Leslie I used to be a Spanish teacher and one thing I always found interesting was how my students did not know that you could be Black and Latino/a at the same time. They did not know that there were any Black Mexicans or that some Puerto Ricans are as dark as some Africans. This is interesting considering that “In 1570, enslaved Africans outnumbered Spaniards in Mexico three to one, but were reduced to only 10 percent of the population by 1810. On the Caribbean islands, Blacks outnumbered Whites by as many as 23 to 1.” Brazil, whose people are often depicted only as light-skinned with wavy hair, has the largest Black population (fascinating article about race in Brazil) outside of Africa. It is no wonder though since most images we see of Hispanic people are either the light skinned Ricky Martin & J.Lo types or the brown-skinned indigenous “Indian” types. While those are definitely accurate descriptions of many Hispanics, you rarely see dark brown men and women representing Latino beauty in the media.

I think about people like Sammy Sosa (Dominican Republic, baseball player), Celia Cruz(Cuban salsa singer) and Zoe Saldana (Dominican/Puerto Rican actress from NY), just to name a few, who are all Latino but to many Americans are just considered Black.

Black-Latino Identity--Naturally Leslie



Black-Latino Identity--Naturally Leslie

This is a complex issue for many dark skinned Latinos. Some call themselves Afro-Latino (or more specifically Afro-Cuban, Afro-Panamanian, or Afro-Puerto Rican, etc.), which clearly emphasizes their African heritage. Other call themselves both Black and Latino. Now on forms, there is a “Black (not of Hispanic origin)” box that you can check which I assume is to address this very issue. However, not all darker skinned Hispanic people like to be referred to as Black. For some, this may be an issue of not wanting to be lumped into the “Black” category which brings the burden of many negative stereotypes and disadvantages. For others, “Black” simply may not fully represent the full experience of who they feel they are. This is an excerpt of an interesting article talking about the identity issues that come with being Latino with African ancestry:

“Interestingly, efforts to increase awareness regarding Afro-Latino culture and plight can be found on the campuses of historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs). At Howard University, Nadine Bascombe heads Cimarrones, a 50-member black student union of Caribbean, Central, and South Americans that recently expanded to include a chapter at Benedict College in South Carolina. Before Afro-Latinos can even begin to link the black-Hispanic communities, more Afro-Latinos must embrace their African heritage. “Within the population of what are considered Afro-Latinos, not all people identify with being black, so they’ll join the Latino organizations because it’s more of an assimilation of being white,” says Bascombe, a junior. “It seems that if you relate yourself to being black it’s something negative, so with that problem existing within the Afro-Latino population, not too many people run towards having an organization with that name.”

This all came to me as I was looking at and came across two beautiful Black Latina models. The first is Arlenis Sosa Peña who was discovered in the Dominican Republic.

Black-Latino Identity--Naturally Leslie

The second is Sessilee Lopez, who is a self-described African-American fashion model of Dominican and Portuguese decent), on the cover of Latina magazine. If you click the link it will take you to a letter to the editor written by a woman expressing her emotion over seeing a dark
skinned Latina as the cover model.

Black-Latino Identity--Naturally Leslie

I think no matter how you choose to label yourself, people will always go on what they see first. Unfortunately, there is still so much negativity surrounding what it means to be Black because of the history of stereotypes and under-representation (in a positive way) in the media. I think it’s cool that we are beginning to see more and more people of color being represented in a positive light in our culture.

Clearly, there is no “one size fits all” descriptor for any ethnic or cultural group of people. This is a broad topic and many people have very strong opinions about it. So…do any of you consider yourselves to be Black and Latino/a? Do you know anyone who is? If so, what has been your experience with this identity? I only ask because I find it fascinating how we as Americans deal with the complexities of race (a social construct in my opinion), color and identity.

What do you guys think?


  • Anonymous says:

    Well written article! I am Spanish descent both sides from the U.S. for generations. However I have seen this thought amongst many Latin cultures.

    I think that amongst Mexicans it is not hidden though in Vera Cruz which was a slave colony it is understood if you are from this region you are most probably of Black descent.

    There is even a dance La Bamba brought by the salves and incorporated into the culture in that area. But they are not considered black or white they are considered Mexican period. Because Mexico is like the U.S. a mix of cultures Chinese for centuries , Swedish Italian Spanish or course Portuguese and Jewish.

    True there are not many black people in Mexico anymore the slave trade ended early they sent most to Brazil and the rest of South America. I find that Amongst Dominicans Cubans and Puerto Ricans there is hatred in anything having to do with "The Black Slave".

    I have had people in NYC who were visibly more black than white hispanics who called themselves Spanish only. It was embarrassing I think for them to acknowledge the black in them… it is so sad. The white colonizers did a number on the Caribbean islands and Latin America.

    I think if you are From Mexico you are Mexican, Dominican Domincan etc.etc. it is a mix of cultures. It should all be embraced… 😀

    But it is pretty ridiculous when I see someone who is as black as night telling me they are Spanish only… Embrace it all stop the shame game you would think they would be ashamed to be white after what the Europeans did right??

  • Jenn says:

    My father is Black and my mother is Panamanian. I also have French roots as well. By looking at me most ppl say I'm Black. I say I'm Black too, for the most part. But when people hear me listening to salsa, or when i understand spanish, or they see me rocking the Panamanian flag, it's a surprise. To tell you the truth tho, i like the shock on their faces. lol I try to embrace my mother's side as much as possible. I love having the best of both worlds right at home 🙂

  • Anonymous says:

    Everyone is of African Descent the orgin of man began in Africa and if you are going to trace your root then trace them all the way.

  • Madewithlove says:

    Race is a man made concept pure and simple just like social class and all the other lables man could ever think of!

    I am of Congolese descent from both my parents but born in France so i call myself French-African of which i am both in EVERY sense of the word. At the end of the day we are all made the same and it's funny how our insides are all the same! 0_o

    Race is just a distraction and it's a shame and challenge to try think outside of race when describing someone try it and see how far you get…..LOL

    People looking different should be an opportunity to discover about their way of life as oppose to think your way of life is better(pride is the root of prejudice,ignorance,racism and discrimination)

    The reason being society and those stupid boxes encouraging us to distinguish ourselves by how we look rather than who we are which is human made by a loving God.

  • Anonymous says:

    Welp both my parents are from Haiti. So, I just pick Black, non hispanic. I consider myself Haitian-American and not necessarily African-American (unless that's the only option because I know my ancestors are essentially from Africa), I think this because that's the culture I grew up in, the other language I speak (creole/French), the food cooked in my house, the Kompa/Jazz music,etc. I grew up around Caribbean people and people from Africa (directly, they know what part they're from). So, I don't really know any true African-Americans. But I wouldn't be considered latina since Haiti has French influences, not really Spanish. Although I may have some Dominican in me, I know nothing of that family or the culture so I don't relate, nor claim it.

    Off topic but culture plays a big part in how people identify.

    Get this, an Chinese girl grew up in Columbia, Knows Spanish and not Mandarin. Who does she talk to at school, not the asians, but the hispanics. That's why I think culture unifies people more than "race" ever will. Like if someone is of a different "race" shares my culture i'll get along with them more than someone of my "race" who has a totally different culture that I don't understand. Some people may have a problem with that but I don't care, go ahead and hat on it.

  • SweetLadieSadie says:

    (For the purposes of the following comment, I will say that both my parents refer to themselves as black, but "technically", my mom is Creole and my dad is mulatto with a native ancestry as well.)
    My culture is Black American. I know enough about my American history (the kind they don't teach in school)and not enough about my ancestry to fit into both of those categories and still walk around America as Black. I like to click "other" or "multiracial" in any box of an application the governments wants to throw our way until they realize how stupid the concept is.

  • Anonymous says:

    I only ever thought about it when talking to white people. I never considered myself black or latina at all. My mother is Cruzan (from St. Croix)and my father is Portuguese. Mostly I consider myself mixed or Cruzan Creole. I always check other when asked for race on forms. But then again, "my" island has more French and Dutch influence than Spanish and as far as I know I have no Spanish ancestors.

  • JMartinez516 says:

    I didn't mention this before, but I love being black and Mexican. I just hate that I have to fight so hard to prove it.

  • JMartinez516 says:

    I wish I'd seen this article sooner. In addition to being told that I am the whitest black person this fool or that fool has met, I've also been humilated by people doubting that I am Mexican because my skin screams that I am black. Or actually being asked why my last name is Martinez – people assume I married in to that name. Why is it so impossible to be both? It really hurts my heart. I love reading articles like this.

  • Moe in Miami says:

    This all stems out of white Anglo ignorance. In their constant effort to discriminate against others who they see as non-white, they have tried to set up a system of neat categories in which to pigeonhole people so as to try to figure them out: OK this one is Black, this one is white, this one's a Latin, this one is a Jew. But their system falls apart when they confront someone who may be a combination of cultures, such as black Latina like Celia Cruz or lilly white latinos; their circuitry goes haywire when they are confronted with the blonde blue eyed phenomenons of Cameron Diaz and Christina Aguilera. I've actually heard them say: "Hispanics aren't white, they're Hispanic" The problem is Anglos mix the concepts of race with ethnicity, white and black are races, hispanic is an ethnicity based on language that can be any race. I have met white, black, mestizo, indian, mulatto even yellow hispanics. There were never any anti-miscegenation laws in Latin America, racial mixing has always been more accepted than in North America.

  • la tabou says:

    very interesting! growing up in the midwest was very challenging for me. i speak spanish fluently which i began learning at a very young age. most of my family speaks english and some french. so many black students would ask me "what are you… part mexican?" and there was usually a negative tone behind it. in the midwest when people think of spanish anything they (sadly) automatically think mexican.
    i am french/spanish creole, black, and choctaw. i have always gotten the what are you question and i've learned to embrace people's curiosity; it makes me feel like i have a universal connection! now i understand that when i was younger many of my peers simply had not been exposed to other cultures. while i do consider myself black, i also, embrace and celebrate my creole culture and heritage!
    while in college i studied in southern mexico and saw beautiful people of all colors and i felt very much at home there! i uplift all that i am and feel very blessed to have the mixture that i have. so articles like this one are a great chance for learning and sharing knowledge!

  • Anonymous says:

    I love this article! I am African, from the West Coast. I am black, but English is not my native Language. My country is the only Spanish-speaking country in the African Continent. This is the result of being an ancient Spanish Colony. We do, of course, have our own dialects. But Spanish language makes it easier for us to relate with members of different ethnic groups within our country (imperialism had also positive impacts, very few, but there are some). However I, myself have white people in my family tree (my paternal grandfather was white, which I do not believe make me less of a black woman). My African culture is influenced by the Spanish culture, when I listen to my motherland songs and smell my motherland food I feel emotional, and yet I can relate to some Spanish traditional songs, food, sense of humor, and just the way they see the world. I grew up in Spain which at times might make it easier for me to interact with Spaniards than my fellow countrymen. All this should be looked at as cultural wealth…But being realistic, it can be very hard feeling you belong to both cultures and yet not really fitting in any of them 100%.
    This is what I would point out:
    -"Hispanic" is not the same as "Spanish". Spanish or Spaniard is someone from Spain, the name of the Spanish Language or something related to the mentioned country. Spaniards are mostly white, although Hispanic may gather people of different races and features.
    -Those fill-in forms with boxes for people to define their race….don't you believe they have become an obsolete routine for the XXI Century?.
    Why is it that North America is yet so obsessed with labeling people under specific categories of race, ethnicity, cultural background?…
    I lived in Wisconsin for 1 year in the 90's and felt awkward whenever I had to explain what group I belonged to. Which does not mean I am not proud of my race. I am black, look black, so why should I record it on a paper to be handed to my English as a Second Language Teacher?.
    -Why is it so important to know what percentage of each race there is in the different universities? What for?.
    While living in the States I was not able to relate to African Americans, only because the fact that I speak Spanish made it difficult for them to accept me. I could not relate to Latinos, because they would not even address to me since I was black. I felt this was way too funny!,. However, I do not think it´s only peoples' fault. I think it has much to do with government's institutions and propaganda, stereotypes on the Media, tradition, and again (forgive me if I am being rude): stupidity and ignorance.
    Don't you feel free when you travel to Europe or Asia or Africa, and you don't have to explain to everybody around you what you are or what you feel you are or what your father was?
    I must say this is not a U.S issue, as several of you said, I have encountered that same issues in different Latino communities here in Spain (there is a 11-6% of immigrant population in Spain, which equals 5 million people, many of them are of course Latinos).
    Great thing about the U.S: Despite all of this, a black man, with a strange surname becomes the president of the country. Most Spaniards agreed that would not happen in any other country in Europe. And that means A LOT. The huge struggle that all none-White Communities in the U.S have gone through to make their country come up with this extremely significant changes should not be diminished by this color/race identity dilemma.
    I would recommend to look at each person as an individual regardless of their skin color, accent or background, and for each person to seek their own identity and not be offended by the way others may call them (unless it is insultant) As simple as that. Why do we insist in making life so complicated?.
    Dania: gracias por tu poema. Es sencillamente precioso, una joya… Me llegó al alma.

  • Anonymous says:

    Yay!! I'm Afro Latina (mom is Panamanian descended from Jamaica and dad is West Indian who grew up in Panama). When I told someone that I was born in Panama and it's my mom's country, they were like "There are Black people in Panama???" or "So are you Black?" (this comment came from someone that was interested in dating me and I found it offensive!) Some people are just plain ignorant and live in their little world…they need to friggin travel more!!!

    Plus in Panama, if you're Black but have money, you will be called a Gringo aka White.

  • Anonymous says:

    Well said Anonymous written on April 22nd! We can do much better economically, and probably spiritually because spirituality shows who you are, as a group of people knowing that we are the SAME PEOPLE! No matter where the captured African people were shipped too, knowing that our history is what we have more in common with and alot of our culture is the same. Someone once told me the best way to learn about the world is to travel, once you travel to India, South America, North America, Europe and of course Africa you'll see what the dominate characteristics are in this world dark skin, coarse kinky-curly haired people. Look up mitochondrial-eve she is mother earth and everyone has DNA that is traceable to her!! Guess what she looks like? (SMILE) You can't kill what GOD orginally created. GOD created this group of people and created them in his or her's vision there is nothing wrong with our skin complexion or our hair, let's get our minds right. Obviously considering ourselves separate from one another isn't working now is it?

  • Anonymous says:

    Thank you so much for posting this article and bringing more awareness to Black Latinas. I am one myself (African American, Colombian), and this was a confidence booster!

  • Anonymous says:

    I do not think anyone is still reading this post..however..most people on here sound so ignorant. All this I'm Dominican and African-American so I am bi-racial madness. Alot of AA's can check the bi-racial box as well. African Americans, Caribs, Afro-Brazillians etc are just products of the African-diaspora…ALL of our main ancestors were brought to work in the Americas and her islands as a form of cheap labor. ALL of our ancestors experienced inhumane treatment as to justify slavery. That is it. Of course most of us are not "racially" pure..that kind of classification is for white people and it is something that they use to ensure a reason to feel that they are better than someone else. I think as Asians advance in the world, the whole topic of "race" will take on another spin because they will then be the economic power and everyone will want to identify with them. As I stated above, what connects us is our MAIN ancestry to West Africa, which I rarely even see people post about that. I think that blacks in America have gotten a bad rap since the 60's. AA's tried their best to relate to West Africa by calling themselves "black". In their ignorance, they didn't know that the term is something that Caucasions describe us as, not Africans. We are more than "black"..and even if no one wants to admit it, we all are just the mistreated sons & daughters of West Africa..I wish that people could come up with another name for it other than "black".

  • Anonymous says:

    I am a non-Hispanic Black woman, and I grew up knowing that there are Black Latinos and Latinas. Last year, I had to tell a friend of mine that there are Black Latinos/as, and the look on her face was one of total surprise. Even though I am Black (African-American), I can identify a lot with this article. Both of my parents are Black, and each of my parents have one parent that is mixed (Black/White). My mom's father was light-skinned and he had wavy hair, and because my mom and I have darker complexions and tightly coiled hair, people assumed that he was not her biological father or my grandfather (and these were Black people). This was very hurtful. There are those in the Black community that still assume that darker-skinned people can't have a mixed racial background or that they can't possibly be related to lighter-skinned people. I struggled with this a lot growing up, because my cousins are light-skinned, and they both have wavy hair. I still sometimes struggle with it, but I am proud to be Black, and I don't deny my grandparents' mixed racial backgrounds (the only time I bring it up is when people ask, after viewing pictures of my extended family).

  • Curlkitten says:

    This reminds me of a book called The First R: how children learn race and Racism by Debra Van Ausdale. The book discusses the power dynamics at work behind racism and racial misunderstandings between teacher and children and among classmates. In the book, there was a little girl who repeatedly tried to tell her teachers that she was African and spoke French but despite her parents coming up to the school the teacher consistently corrected her and told her, other parents, and a teacher's aide that she was African American and that she was just confused. Eventually, this made this little girl feel as if she didn't have a voice. My parents are Dominican and Cajun and as a child it used to really upset me that the world ignored who I was culturally. My mother told me that if we both got hit by a car the newspaper would report "two Black women hit by car in Brooklyn" and not investigate our cultural heritage. She stressed that I needed to be comfortable with how the rest of America saw me. I still see her point but I think that we should make sure that diversity of all Black people is acknowledged but never ever allow it to separate us. Strength through unity, equality through understanding! The misunderstanding of culture is a subtle form of racism that has the power to remove ones identity and silence us.

  • felicia1836 says:

    Thanks for writing this! I'm Puerto Rican and Black, and I've always had a hard time categorizing myself because I am the darkest person in my family on either side (Black and Puerto Rican) but my features are what most people call "exotic" because my hair is long and straight and my features you could say were more "anglo" i guess. Most White people I meet automatically say that I'm black without even a second thought, but when ever I meet a Black person they always say, "What are you mixed with cause you aren't just Black." My parents always told me to appreciate my 2 different cultures and mixtures and of course i do. When ever someone asks me what i am i say Puerto Rican and Black. I kind of think i'm a new version of Afro-Latino.

    And another thing, people don't realize that in 1 family you can have a wide range of different skin colors and features, like my mami n my tias and tios. I mean if they didn't have the same noses you'd think they were different races. I wish the U.S. had racial categories that were more understanding to Latino differences.

  • Anonymous says:

    Very well explained -Anonymous : January 14, 2010 1:46 PM , from Anonymous : January 19, 2010 6:24 AM.

  • Anonymous says:

    As i always said "there are no race's only countries of people"….who ever thought of categorising people as black, white etc clearly was a narrow minded person as it shows they only see the appearance than the persons culture.
    But a lot is to do with how media/society portrays peoples cultures. People need to be educated right.

  • Unknown says:

    My fiance is a black-latina from colombia, and I see that she is so beautiful, as many would. We need to celebrate both as a culture and heritage in the society we live in. Long live the black-latina!

  • Anonymous says:

    hey people. ok well i came across this cool site and i like to give info from a decedent of a afro rican. i do not look one bit afro latino even though both my grandparents on my dads side do. this is just a thought, all our latin nations are melting pots we are all very mixed up people because all that our ancestors had to take from the original latino nations. spain france portugal italy and some think greek. but the fact of the matter is we cannot claim to one race that is a mixture in our ancestors. i mean if we do then we disown another in our design. its one of our greatest flaws we are not latino we are not afro latino, not white not black not asain, and not fully native. when it truely comes down to it a mexican is a mexican a puerto rican is a puerto rican and a dominican is a dominican. calling our selfs latino is in a way a spit in the face to our other ancestories. calling our selfs this is due to american ignorence. dont get me wrong if im in a crowd of white people and i see others i have a common background i will feel more comfortable with them even though most people think im italian or even portugease im not. im mexican native american and pr. i dont mind being called white but i do correct people when they say it out loud or ask me. my brothers all came out darker then me people see them as typical latinos and they get really shocked to hear they are my family and yes they share both parents with me. you see thats the beauty of being south american or mexican or carribean. we are people of mixed nations and we are beautiful and handsome people. we can be black as hell and have a white completed baby or be white and have a mezito baby or mocha or mullatto baby. this whole latino thing is dumb we are the children of our nations. and we need to be proud and embrace it. and yes i to think all south american people and carribean people and mexican people need to come together because even though i just stated we are not fully latino that is the one thing we do have in common. and we can be stronger and teach each other and own this bitch i mean we all ready do count for 42 million in the U.S. i love my people and i hate the term latino but i will except it when it comes to connecting with all of you guys. to me that word will only have true meaning if we can all come together but for now its still just a reminder of what those people did to our other ancestors. i hope i shedded light on the whole latino thing.

  • Anonymous says:

    Hi, just found this want to add to the chorus.
    Born in Panama, grand parents from Jamaica (chinese great-grandma) and Barbados. Married a dark skinned man from Ghana, now my baby is a GhanaManian-American with soft wavy hair that does not match his daddy. I've been told, I am black but not a n—-r(because I have class). Can be accepted as Latina when they need my language skills to translate and can crack up in a line if spanish speakers are talking about me, thinking I am black. I love been multicultural.
    And yes, I still get mad watching Univision and trying to find anyone with dark skin, that is why I dropped my Latina susbs. Good to see they are finally seeing the light.

  • EchoParkGal says:

    Great posting! Excellent comments. I'm Garifuna by way of Belize AND Honduras! Folks don't really acknowledge Belize as Latin America because the main languages is English (due to being British Honduras). My family speaks Spanish, I speak Spanish as well. Either way the cultures are totally different than what is generally termed "the Caribbean". A great site to check out is Tony Gleaton's docuphoto exhibit on the presence of Africa in Mexico and Central America:

  • Tini says:

    What a great article! I am Afro-Latina (Mom is African American and Dad is Dominican), being born and growing up in New York was such a great experience because it's such a melting pot. Growing up, people who knew me personally knew I was a Afro-Latina but was readily accepted but black girls because I looked like them and later Latina's only after they knew my father was hispanic which was quite interesting. I think they did so because they felt a greater connection knowing that I understood the culture, I guess. I've always been encouraged by my parents to embrace both and I have always stated as such. I'm not ashamed in the least bit to correct someone and say that I am bi-racial. I think the most difficult thing to grasp is filing out applications and having options like: Black, Hispanic (non-black), etc. Well what if I'm both? LOL My mom's side of the family always points out "Girl, you are BLACK." They feel like because my father is from a country where a lot of them have dark complexions like many blacks they are just considered as such. I correct them and say while they are similar in complexion, they're culture is something to be respected and considered-they are HISPANIC and nothing but. I hate being forced to put myself in a box for people who aren't bi-racial.

  • SV says:

    Great article so people can get in the know! Many of the posters have echoed how I feel on the subject. Look forward to reading more articles from you. It just goes to show how Hair is tied to "race" and cultural identity. Great Read!

  • Islandista says:

    Wow… what a great discussion here. It's interesting because over on my blog islandista, we highlight Caribbean women and it always strikes me that the women we profile are definitely a mixed bag of races – from Chinese-Jamaicans like the Chin sisters to Afro-Latinas like Zoe.

    I love that about the Caribbean – it's really not just a black or white issue (terible pun, I know) in a lot of islands and mainland South and Central American places like Guyana and Belize that rim the Caribbean Sea and share a lot in common.

    I was really interested to read about the varied backgrounds of some of the readers and some of the stuff they go through trying to explain to people.

    I can definitely empathise with dark and lovely's trying to explain her 'land of six peoples' background to people -'Well, it's in South America… but we speak English and play cricket…and we're black, Indian, amerindian, chinese and more… and we have five different neighbouring countries that speak four different languages.'

    And Natural Nini's background is actually realllly fascinating – from what she said about being a Honduran of Vincentian heritage, I'm guessing she's of Garifuna descent and their story is really interesting – they were 'black Caribs' (Amerindians who mixed with runaway black slaves) who fought against the British and were eventually deported to an island off Honduras. A garifuna leader is actually one of the national heroes of St. Vincent and there are still some black caribs in Dominica and St. Vincent.

    And as for PR Urbanista with her Bajan blood – hey girl! I'm part bajan too and like a lot of people, have a set of not-too-distant cousins in Panama. A lot of Americans don't know or understand just how many West Indians went over to build the Panama canal – I've seen historians say something like 40 % of Barbadian men went to Panama to build the canal – one of the biggest contingent. That is how you end up with folks like PR and like DC mayor Adrian Fenty, who has a Panamanian father but a last name that is as Bajan as cou-cou. 🙂

    Hope I haven't rambled on too much. I'm a bit of a history geek and I love the whole mix-upness of Caribbean heritage and it kills me how baffling it is for others to figure out and fit into their box.

  • Anonymous says:

    I was so excited to see this article!! I have always considered myself "black hispanic" (I'm black and my parents/ancestors are from Panama). I think where much of the confusion lies is in understanding that HISPANIC IS NOT A RACE, IT'S A CULTURE. Once people start to realize and accept that, then they will be able to understand how there can be black, white and asain latinos.

  • Dark And Lovely says:

    I love Latina magazine too even though I'm not latina it's a really good read

  • luvmylocs says:

    I'm a black American but my little nephew is half-Mexican. I've always liked lating music, taken Spanish lessons off and on and am around lots of Hispanics in Houston and one of my dear friends is Colombian. I think the culture is interesting. I have subscribed to Latina for years because I feel that many of my Latina "sisters" deal with some of the same issues I do and I enjoy it like I do my Essence magazine. The relationship, beauty and feature articles are good. In some ways Latina mag resonates with me more than Glamour or Cosmo. Anyway, great add to your blog Nikki!

  • Anonymous says:

    Maria, Dania,PR Urbanista and the blogger of this article: THANK YOU for expressing the very things I go blue in the face trying to explain to people here!!!

    I am Afro Latina, I Am black i look Black i'm not "running" nor turning from that, that's my color and race But i came here 16 years of age i was Born and raised in Venezuela to Dominican Parents my culture is 110% Latina Hasta La Muerte, we still don't even quite get American traditions and cultures so is incredibly frustrating to be harassed about what am i or why am this or that way

  • Denisse G says:

    WOW.. I can't tell you how great this was to read. My parents are from Honduras and we are dark skinned. I recently started saying I'm Afro-Latino because I do know that my ancestors originated from St.Vincents. I'm hoping one day to be in the media because there isn't alot of Hispanics like me..espcially from Honduras.

  • Anonymous says:

    To anonymous @ 6:54 PM who wrote:
    I really wish AA's would educate themselves on this b/c if I hear someone refer to another latino has "mexican" without understanding the cultural differences of the various groups within I am going to scream!

    Please don't make general negative statements about AA's. I used to be a social worker in Los Angeles and most of the Latino's that I worked with identified themselves as white on paper, even the dark ones.

  • Nia-Raquelle says:

    I'm very happy this was discussed I often get the crooked eye when I defend my latino heritage being of darker complexion. But it also causes a controversy because when people find this out the first thing they say is oh thats why you got that good hair or thats why your skin turns red it's like a way of making an excuse for why I am the way that I am. I personally find more problems amongst the latino community than I do in the black community which is why i identify with them better but I never disregard my roots.

  • Anonymous says:

    Wonderful article. I am latina and black and folks can't seem to wrap their heads around it. I really wish AA's would educate themselves on this b/c if I hear someone refer to another latino has "mexican" without understanding the cultural differences of the various groups within I am going to scream!

    My husband now understands b/c my family is a "funny looking black with curly hair" and at family parties we play American and merengue and salsa music. We have American food PLUS latin food which folks gobble up without a problem.

    My dad just married a woman from Mexico with limited English. No problem for him – Spanish is his first language. He is a "typical" looking hispanic man but I am not b/c my mom is AA.

    I loved the article!

  • Sarah Brooke says:

    I so agree with dark and lovely. at the end of the day we are all black. thats my question as well. What is black? wheres the point where your considered mixed, because blacks are multiracial.

  • Sarah Brooke says:

    im black american, creole, and Choctaw. I just mark black on tests but I am still proud of my back ground. Of course looking at my skin people would just assume blackk which is okay by me. I read so much about the complexes and identities the black latinos/hispanics have and its soo sad. But I know us black americans need help as well, we can't assosciate with African's or the carribeans because of course in culture we are all different. but yet still the same when it boils down to whats running in our blood.

  • Dark And Lovely says:

    Yaaaay!!! Finally somebody brought Afro-Latinas to the forefront and it's about damn time 🙂 I am from South America (Guyana) but we don't get considered Latin because we don't speak English. Alot of what we fail to understand that being Hispanic is a culture not a race. At one point Guyana was a colony of Spain, Dutch, France and lastly England and as a result our native language. There are many places in Guyana that have places that are of spanish heritage due to being owned by the spaniards.I guarantee that if we were to do the history on our latin countires we will c at some point they were not always of spaniard ownership. If we actually take the time out to do our research, many of the things that are considered "latino" are actually of african origin and has a European flair due to the Spain having colonies and black slaves that had to try to retain what they brought but also learn there master's ways in that part of the hemisphere. At the end of the day, i think that we tend to mix up nationality and race.Nationality is your national origin that is the country of your birth.So if ya mum is chinese and dad black and they went to puerto rico and had u would u be not considered puerto rican cuz u don't fit the stereotype of what a puerto rican or dominican or a latina looks like. My dad's mum is mixed with black and ameridian (aka indigenous people as known in latin countries) and can definitely pass for a latina.My mum's side of the family however are extremely dark and so am I.My hair is very curly and people wonder how come and sometimes get confused for even being of latina heritage. If you come to Guyana, you will see indian (from india), chinese ( the first president of guyana was chinese), africans etc. My point here is that suppose my parents went to Japan and had me, would it change the fact that I am of African descent, Nooooo so why is it that when it comes to latinos they tend to say oh i'm not black. From learning history in school, Spain was actually the European nation that treated slaves the worst. It also attibutes to the fact why all latinos don't look alike since Spain was a colonizer and all the different colonies did not have the same people. Also,intermixing that is Spaniards with balck slaves, indians and blacks, indigenous people and Spaniards clearly produced certain types of people. I see my self as an Afro-Guyanese and to me means born in Guyana or African descent. No matter where black people (African people go) at the end of the day we are all black and should learn to embrace that. Arguably, many latino countries do not acknowledge blacks or like the indian caste system, are considered at the bottom of the pole.

    That's all for now think I said enough and thanks to curly nicky for having her a wonderful forum 🙂

  • Anonymous says:

    I think this article is very interesting I dated an el Salvadorian guy once for a long time & he considered himself white & i never understood that. I would always be like "are you confused you are not white your spanish". Then I met his mom & she telling me how she was glad he wasnt dating someone black. And I told her "well im black" and she said "yea your but your ok, i mean those dark black ppl." I realize then & there that the spanish community had racial problems that I never knew even existed. I would watch spanish tv then with his mom & i could count on 1 hand how many times I saw dark-skinned spanish ppl on tv including commercials in 1 hour.

    Also I would like to ask, what is the category of Black? What puts you into that category? Yes we are all descents of African ancestry but we are not 100%. Most of us are mixed with something and that may show in our features. So if this is the case why dont we have a more specific race box.

    Now i have seen race boxes that have the option of Spanish/white, Spanish/black, Bi-racial then a set of boxes to for the bi-racial category, asian/1 parent white, asian/ 1 parent black, white/ 1 parent black… and so on then the asian/pacific box, then black box, then at the bottom multiracial. I usually choose the box that best describe ALL my ancestors…Multi-racial. I dont know if Im wrong for that but what else is that box there for. To me being black is to be mult-racial.

  • Amber Nofetari says:

    hmm well my dad's mother is Venezuelan she considers herself just that Venezuelan. I think it all comes down to cultural difference I think most Black people that do not come from America don't like being called "Black" because that is just another way of saying "African-American" in the US. Now I was born in America but none of my parents were so I don't consider myself "African-American" instead I label myself as Caribbean. Yes I am Black but AA I am not. At the end of the day no one wants to be lumped into a group just because of their appearance. It's like calling a Japenese person Chinese.

  • Maria says:

    Anonymous, you have every right to comment as you please. That's what great about America, we can agree to disagree. I also said Sammy looked a hot mess so we can agree on one thing today. I am not sure why he did it, but I'm sure it has nothing to do with Latinos not liking their color. He obviously has issues.

    Anonymous @12:57 I feel the same way and there's nothing wrong with that.

  • Anonymous says:

    @PR Ubanista: what you're doing with your children sounds exactly what my aunt did with my cousins. They truly love and embrace all of the heritages that make up who they are!

    I never really thought about that gross oversight in not providing an option for black-Hispanic or black-Latino. We have a long way to go in terms of how society views ethnicity, race and identity.

    I'm with you on the Caribbean Labor Day festivities! I don't live in NY now but that is always what I miss the most the celebration and national pride you see everywhere you go no matter where you live.

  • lexibugg says:

    my father is haitian and my mother is quapaw(native American), dominican and irish. and i whole heartedly embrace my african ancestry, infact i will punch someone in the face if they try to tell me i am not african, or anything else about my cultural or ethnic identity!!! that is for me and my family history to define, not society. i guess educating my self on what it means to be of african descent as oppose to excepting what everyone else says it means helps, as well as the fact that i don't care about being excepted or rejected by anyone, i love and except me and that is truly all that matters!!
    But, anyway i used to have a subscription to latina in high school, and there were never any "afro-latinas" anywhere in the magazine, so i am glad to see Sessilee on the cover!!!!! both of these new dominican models are beautiful!!!

  • PR Urbanista says:

    I am Afro-Panamanian and proud to have both Black and Hispanic cultures in my background. I am always frustrated though when filling out applications because the categories are always White non Hispanic, black non Hispanic and then Hispanic like you are incapable of being any other race AND Hispanic.

    In regards to the comments I have read above about this topic… yes, unfortunately there are some other nationalities that don't embrace the African heritage that makes them who they are. It is very sad. I love the fact that on Labor Day I can really appreciate, celebrate and enjoy the Jamaican and Bajan blood that flows through my veins via my Panamanian parents, because my ancestors settled in Panama from those countries when the canal was being built and stayed there.

    All of it makes me who I am and I LOVE LOVE LOVE IT! And I also instill that in my kids. My 8 yr old was able to go to Panama when he was 3 and talks about it to this day. My younger son is 3 months old but when he gets a little older he will be on the plane to Panama as well. His dad's family is from Trinidad so hopefully he will travel there too so he can see and appreciate every little aspect that has come together to make him who he is.

  • Anonymous says:

    Maria, I'm sorry but I was not insinuating that colorism has only been limited to black Latinos as it appears that you interpreted. If you read my comment, I am black myself(1st generation American born with Trinidadian roots)and know all too well how pervasive this concept is around the globe.

    I commented on Sammy Sosa looking a mess because he does! Again, I didn't even mention Latinas in that comment. Skin-bleaching is and has been done in many cultures for various reasons which I will not address.

    I'm sorry that you felt the need to become defensive about my comment and actual family and cultural experience. Believe you me as women of color we definitely do not need another issue to separate us!

  • Maria says:

    Anonymous @12:38 PM – Many cultures have hang ups with the whole dark/light skinned issue, not just black Latinos. Go to any hair care forum geared towards women of color and you'll see this heated debate amongst the african american women. As far as Sammy bleaching his skin, I would never do that and I'm sure most of the Latina's I know wouldn't either. I'm sure he did it for the same reasons Michael Jackson did.

  • knatural says:

    I live in El Paso, Texas which is 86% Hispanic. I meet a lot of Afro-Latinas that are not ashamed of who they are. I've seen some that look White and some that look Black. I did meet an Afro-Latina that was light-skinned with straight hair. She whispered to me that her father was Black and that she thanks God that she did not have kinky hair like mine so that she could pass. Sad but true. We are who we are but the whole perception of what black is and what it isn't has been messed up since we came off the boat.

  • Anonymous says:

    Great article, Leslie! I'm a mixed bag myself. My dad is Dominican and my mom is Barbadian. As far as I'm concerned I'm a child of God first. People slay me when they say that I "don't look Dominican." I was born and raised in Ohio, there aren't very many Dominican people here and most people haven't heard of the country and couldn't find it on a map. So for people to tell me that is laughable. They expect me to speak Spanish(which I refused to learn when I was younger because I didn't want to be an outsider)say "aye" and "papi" all the time(seriously, I couldn't make this up),cook with Adobo and/or eat Goya products. I quickly give these ignoramuses a list of people they thought were black just to prove to them that skin color doesn't determine your race. But I also inform them that race has nothing to do with nationality. I consider myself black because my father choose to come around minimally (my grandmother was always around but it wasn't her job to raise me) and you become accustomed to the environment in which you live.

  • Afrikan Latina says:

    I believe my name AfrikanLatina sums up "what I am". I have never had to deal with the question, "What are you?" as some of my other Latina friends have. Not that I envy them for being asked such an absurd question but because I am a dark skinned woman it is automatically assumed that I'm Black, nothing more, nothing less. While my mother is Afrikan(American) my father is Panamanian with some not so distant relatives being Jamaican as well. Before my father and I had a relationship I would just flat out say I am black in an attempt to disown the man who didn't really play a role in my life. But since I have gotten older and our relationship has grown I accept my Latina side.

    I will not ignore who I am just to please a society that is going to see me as Black anyway. It happens all too often and sometimes I correct them. Other times I just keep it moving.

    Thank you for shedding light on this for all of us Afrikan Latinas that don't fit the stereotypical image of what it is to be Latina.

  • Anonymous says:

    I'm Puerto Rican. I get asked all the time if I'm Black. And am often told how I "don't look Puerto Rican."

    When asked about my background I respond that I am Puerto Rican. Why? I think it describes me more than the label of Black does. When people ask me if I'm Black it's because of the shape of my lips, the hue in my skin, the curls in my hair.

    But to me, being Puerto Rican is the language I speak, the way I was raised, the fact that my mother does not speak to me in English, the soap operas I watched with my family when I was little, the food I grew up on, the salsa I still listen to…I could go on.

    I don't have a problem being called Black. Sometimes,depending on my mood, I don't even correct people. But truth be told, when people think to ask me if I'm Black, I know they're thinking African-American, which to me is a whole different culture. (not to say that there aren't similarities, but I don't want to be lumped into something that I am not).

  • Anonymous says:

    I have cousins who are mixed heritage. My family is from the Caribbean (Trinidad). Their mother is Trinidadian and their father is Puerto Rican. They have always embraced both of their rich cultures although growing up in NY I think they were less accepted from their latin roots so to speak because they were darker-skinned. This whole notion of colorism has not escaped the Caribbean as certain features have typically been valued (i.e lighter skin, long, straight or wavy hair, etc.). With more and more ethnically diverse women and people deciding to be love their true selves it definitely paves the way for more acceptance of the diversity in Afro-latin, Caribbean, and all cultures.

    Side note: Sammy Sosa looks a Casper the Scary Ghost mess!

  • Anonymous says:

    a lot of afro-latinos don't recognize their African blood…. don't call a dominican person "black" but its okay if you call them spanish… look at sammy sosa…. he bleached is skin to get lighter… he doesn't consider himself afro-latin… oh no….
    most afo-latinos teach their children to marry only lighter skin people so they can "better the race" lighter is better.

  • JH69 says:

    Love the article.
    Just a correction. Zoe is not Puerto Rican she is Dominican 100%

  • Anonymous says:

    Gracias por escribir la verdad…se quedan bien confundidos. My husband and I are both from Panama but I am Black y el parece mas Hispano. His brothers are Black. En EEUU, nos tratan como interacial couple but we're not. Los morenos…los hombres..always make comments about being with a brother. And, no one ever understands that we have more in cultural common than I would have with un moreno from here or him with a hispanic looking lady from, for the sake of argument, Mexico. In some countries people are still reluctant to understand that there are 100% Americans that are Black who aren't specifically associated with another country. Every country has ignorance but come by it honestly.

  • Anonymous says:

    Well said Maria!

  • modest-goddess says:

    the problem is the lack of media representation and colorism in the media, whenever the is a Latino role only light skin people are cast so Afro Latinos must audition for African American roles if they want to get work

  • b. says:

    I am not Afro-Latina and cannot read Spanish well. For those in the same situation, I saw this translation of the poem above. It's nice.


    Thanks for the discussion, CN. It's necessary.

  • Carlita says:

    I am black and Puerto Rican. My mom is black. My dad's mom is a black Puerto Rican and his dad is a white Puerto Rican. I consider myself Puerto Rican and Black. I don't know too much about my latin roots because my father wasn't around growing up but I always get asked questions when I tell people my name or if they notice I look like I'm mixed with 'something'. I always acknowledge both though I really wish I knew more about my latin heritage. I have cousins who are also mixed and identify more with their Puerto Rican side because they were raised within the culture. I think its more about the culture than the skin color sometimes.

  • Grace says:

    Great post! Someone sent it to me beacuse I just wrote one on Sammy Sosa… which from the looks of it — you should exclude him for this since he's obviously a gringo now =)

    I'm kidding! EXCELLENT.INFORMATIVE.and most importantly ACCURATE!

  • Maria says:

    Anonymous who posted the link about Sammy Sosa, I already took away his Dominican card yesterday LOL My Caucasian friend and I were discussing it on the phone last night, laughing our butts off. I told her that he's now all hers ,she can claim him. He looks like Latoya Jackson on crack LOL

  • Beads, Braids & Beyond says:

    My brother is half white, half puerto rican. He has darker skin, with hair that seems similar to my daughter's. He keeps a low cut though. He just tells everyone he's white & PR. This is a very interesting article though. I will have to show it to him. All of his life people have told him he is lying about being white/PR and that he is black. "I think no matter how you choose to label yourself, people will always go on what they see first." I totally agree. People need to open their minds a little more. Thanks for posting.

  • FrouLaLa says:

    Thanks for bringing light (no pun intended) to this topic. I am African-American, but encounter this issue all the time, as I live in Miami, Florida. There is a high number of Hispanic popualtions here, particulary Cuban. There is a "stigma" being associated with Black/African and not every Hispanic can associate themselves as such due to intense racism….racism not only in the US, but even in their own countries. I have also wondered why some Hispanics are not portrayed in the media as Hispanic with African descent and can have dark skin? No only African Americans see them as Black, but Whites also. I encountered this when I went to college, when my white roommates assumed some of the basketball players were African American and were utterly perplexed when they started speaking Spanish. My hope is that there is more education, particularly in the U.S., that races and ethnicities come in all colors and can be from all backgrounds.

  • Dania says:

    Thank you for this article. I consider myself Afro-Latina, I am half Dominican and half Puerto Rican and quite proud. My mother raised be to be proud as well as aware of my ancestry. For a long time I felt like I was not accepted by Latinos or African Americans and it was very frustrating. I live in an area where the dominant Latino culture is not Afro-Latin and for some I was the first Afro-Latina they met! I missed being in NY where everyone I knew looked, cooked, and spoke like me… but this experienced helped me to learn about my culture and it's many accomplishments. While researching I discovered the poetry of Nicolás Guillén, and Nancy Morejón and let me tell you, I never questioned myself again. If any of you get to read any of their works you would love it. Here is one called Mujer Negra it's one of my favorites.

    Mujer Negra by Nancy Morejón

    Todavía huelo la espuma del mar que me hicieron atravesar.
    La noche, no puedo recordarla.
    Ni el mismo océano podría recordarla.
    Pero no olvido el primer alcatraz que divisé.
    Altas, las nubes, como inocentes testigos presenciales.
    Acaso no he olvidado ni mi costa perdida, ni mi lengua ancestral
    Me dejaron aquí y aquí he vivido.
    Y porque trabajé como una bestia,
    aquí volví a nacer.
    A cuanta epopeya mandinga intenté recurrir.
    Me rebelé.
    Su Merced me compró en una plaza.
    Bordé la casaca de su Merced y un hijo macho le parí.
    Mi hijo no tuvo nombre.
    Y su Merced murió a manos de un impecable lord inglés.
    Esta es la tierra donde padecí bocabajos y azotes.
    Bogué a lo largo de todos sus ríos.
    Bajo su sol sembré, recolecté y las cosechas no comí.
    Por casa tuve un barracón.
    Yo misma traje piedras para edificarlo,
    pero canté al natural compás de los pájaros nacionales.
    Me sublevé.
    En esta tierra toqué la sangre húmeda
    y los huesos podridos de muchos otros,
    traídos a ella, o no, igual que yo.
    Ya nunca más imaginé el camino a Guinea.
    ¿Era a Guinea? ¿A Benín? ¿Era a
    Madagascar? ¿O a Cabo Verde?
    Trabajé mucho más.
    Fundé mejor mi canto milenario y mi esperanza.
    Aquí construí mi mundo.
    Me fui al monte.
    Mi real independencia fue el palenque
    y cabalgué entre las tropas de Maceo.
    Sólo un siglo más tarde,
    junto a mis descendientes,
    desde una azul montaña.
    Bajé de la Sierra
    Para acabar con capitales y usureros,
    con generales y burgueses.
    Ahora soy: sólo hoy tenemos y creamos.
    Nada nos es ajeno.
    Nuestra la tierra.
    Nuestros el mar y el cielo.
    Nuestras la magia y la quimera.
    Iguales míos, aquí los veo bailar
    alrededor del árbol que plantamos para el comunismo.
    Su pródiga madera ya resuena.

  • Unknown says:

    I am Afro Cuban but have always identified myself as black because that's how I was raised. My mother and father raised us to get along in society-when people see us they would see black woman not dark skinned Cuban woman.

  • Queen says:

    To Anon at 08:28:

    Sister, I have to disagree with you. When it comes to lack of understanding about the Afro-Latino culture, the disconnect has nothing to do with whether or not the people have done enough. The strides the people of our heritage have made are many yet the acknowledgement for our accomplishments is sparse. You have to dig for the information just as you have to dig for information on African-Americans. This is a matter of shame on the parts of Caucasian, Spanish, Portugese slave traders who stole Africans from their villages so they could grow wealthy in the new lands they were so-called discovering. We all know you can't discover something that already has people living there but I digress. To openly speak about the accomplishments of Afro-Americans or Afro-Latinos means also providing a chronological account so as to accurately measure the progress of the people. They know they can't do that without also mentioning that in the early 1500s the first slave ship arrived in Cuba bringing with it hundreds and hundreds of Africans. Or without first detailing the many many adversities brought by them we had to rise against as a people. They don't want to make mention of their atrocious behaviors but they have to so that anyone reading Afro-Latino history knows the reason Francisco Bonet and Antonio Rojas fought for La Igualdad (equal rights of blacks in Cuba). So other can understand Bonet and Rojas movement is such an intricate and emotional accomplishment in our history.

    We've done plenty hermana…plenty! When those that oppressed us want to tell the full story, it will be there as it has always been….ready to be told. In the meantime, we as Afro-Latinos must continue to educate one another. History is to be told holistically, not segmented and pieced off as it pertains to a certain cultural group.

  • Anonymous says:

    The Sammy Sosa pix…

  • Maria says:

    As a black Latina (Dominican) people have always been confused when I say I'm black and Latina, like I can't be both. I ask people "well am I white?" to which they respond "No"… and I then say "then I must be black!" People have a problem with this face – not me, because I've never had an issue with it. This goes for both the white and black community. I think its because of the stereotypes that you see on TV. Yes we are the minority even in the Hispanic community but we do exist and we've always been here. Some of the black models and movie stars you see on TV are Black Latina's. A few actors I can think of are Dania Ramirez (Heroes), Judy Reyes (Scrubs), Zoe Saldaña (Star Trek the movie 2009), rapper Juelz Santana, Fabolous… I just recently found out that Maxwell is Puerto Rican/Haitian. Imagine that!

    Sometimes its a double edged sword. Not all blacks will embrace me because after all I am Latina. Not all Hispanics will embrace me because after all I am dark skinned. But to me its beautiful knowing I am both. I have to embrace everything that I am, including the African and Spanish in me. To not accept both the African and European would be lying about who I am. In America everything is either black or white. In Latino culture its more of a gray area. I think, again, its because living in America we have two different cultures – the black experience and the white experience. Living in the Dominican Republic you are Dominican, there is no white culture and black culture. We listen to the same music, eat the same food, talk the same language, etc… Yes there is definitely discrimination down there, mostly self-discrimination unfortunately.

    Anyway I consider myself Afro-Latina, morenita with long pelo malo that I love LOL We have a long way to go and we women of color need to stick together. Thank you!

  • Anonymous says:

    Good thought-provoking piece and comments.

  • Queen says:

    Afro-Latinas stand UP!! My father brought us up educating us about all our ethnicities encouraging us to embrace them. In elementary school we had to take standardized test and they had "race" bubbles; my dad said check everyone that applies….LOL and I still do to this day. I've always said the "race" bubbles should be eliminated from forms because we're all the same race: HUMAN! My family has always been met with crazy 'what are y'all?' questions and the answer has always been "PEOPLE!" I don't believe in trying to fit into anyone's category because I'll never be any one thing. Who ever can't deal with that just needs to keep it moving.

  • Anonymous says:

    This is def an interesting article…I agree that the history of negative meanings associated with being black keeps some ppl from embracing their full heritage…Maybe this natural revolution (I have seen WAY more people opting to go natural not sure if its a fad or what but I have noticed a huge increase…) will be a minor jumpstart for some to accept themselves in full.

    ALSO has anyone else seen what Sammy Sosa did to his skin????? It looks as if he has bleached his skin…very interesting…

  • Q says:

    Anonymous at 8:56 said she thinks that Afro-Latinos "haven't done enough to see within themselves where they come from." You may mean well, but this sounds like blaming the victim for the brainwashing.

    In my past experience as a teacher with a school population that was 95% Hispanic, even Afro-Latino kids are systematically taught to downplay their African roots because the latin countries where they come from(and thus the adults they know, their environment, etc.) don't value those African roots and African contributions to those individual countries.

    Instead, I found that Afro-Latinos were openly blamed for the social problems afflicting them and were scapegoats for other problems. A Cuban friend once had the nerve to say to my (white) husband–I doubt he would have said it if I was around–that the Blacks in Cuba were "too lazy to work and get ahead." What in the world?

  • Anonymous says:

    Well, this article is very interesting. I often do check (btw I am cuban) and I think the issue with the lack of the amount of understanding within american minds of the afro-latino people has to do with the fact that afro-latinos haven't done enough to see within themselves where they come from, its as if, yes, they rather be lumped together with the already established and more culturally "positive" Spanish (those who came from Spain) side instead of the West African side. What needs to happen is there needs to be more of an embracement of that side of latinos and more of an effort to teach people, for themselves, through literature, scholarship, business, docuementary film-making, art, etc. in order to educate people on the culture and heritage. But also this has to be done in the sense of what many of the founders of the nations wanted, founders such as Antonio Maceo and Jose Marti of Cuba
    🙂 and Simon Bolivar of Venezuela, who wanted the peoples of latinamerica to be one, one people. So there is a lot of work to be done but hopefully we can get there together.

  • Anonymous says:

    Great article…another point of view could be that people associate more with culture than race. An example of this could be whether or not Jews can be considered a race or religious group? I'm not latina/o but I am Cameroonian (W.Africa) and although I know I'm black, when asked what I don't say "black" I say Cameroonian. I do agree with the article, just wanted to give a different point of view.

  • Namun says:

    "I think no matter how you choose to label yourself, people will always go on what they see first." You know, this statement in your post today says it all. I used to have a VERY strong opinion about my race and background. Today, it's not that important to me, as long as I know my roots, that's all that matters.

    Unless I am asked, I don't tell people where I'm from. They see me and assume I'm a certain race or ethnicity. When they ask if I'm from such and such country (usually their own), I always smile and say "not exactly, but we are neighbors." When they finally ask and I tell them, they laugh out loud, because my home is usually on the other side of the world.

Leave a Reply