In the Latino community, we tend not to talk about race – at least not in the obvious manner. Racial descriptors often come as terms of endearment, i.e. “negrito/a” or “moreno/a”, “rubio/a” or “güero/a”, but are seldom exposed as what many believe is an inherent rejection of a very important part of our heritage.
According to Wikipedia, approximately 5% of the Latin American population self-identify, or are classified as being primarily of black ancestry. Living in a country where race is defined with astonishing clarity, many are often forced to take sides by choosing to identify by the color of their skin rather than by nationality or culture.
In recent times, however, a new breed is surging, as young Latinos are embracing their multifaceted identity and taking pride on their African roots, dubbing themselves “Afro-Latinos” – in an attempt to give voice to a community that, just like its indigenous counterparts, are often left out of the Latino definition. At the same time, many others question the notion that if you have a light complexion, you may not be “Latino” enough, and feel less embraced by their Latino peers and others for it.
Tonight on LATISM, we explore the many ways in which the race consciousness of America forces us to adopt an identity, and discuss the best ways we can celebrate and honor our beautiful heritage, not matter what shade it comes in! Join us!
- How does the history of negative meanings associated with being “black” keeps some people from embracing their full heritage?
- Conversely, does being lighter skinned makes some of us “not Latino enough”? Can the “Latino” identity be defined by skin color?
- Does homogenizing the Latino identity ultimately benefit us as an ethnic group?
- How are self-defined Afro Latinos changing the definitions/perceptions of race and skin color in America?