For many years while growing up in Chicago, I had a lot of contact with mostly Puerto Ricans and Mexicans for the most part. The interaction between the two consisted of PR’s being accepted by African Americans and befriended on a large scale while AA’s tended to distrust or absolutely dislike Mexicans.
It was not until 1993 that I began to learn more about Latin people around the world in a PBS program called The Americas, hosted by the late Raul Julia. I learned for the first time on that program about the bigotry that Latins with African ancestry endure and in many ways co-collaborate through their own denial of their African history/identification. Brazil for instance, has the second largest African descended people in the world, yet; all one has to do is travel to Brazil in the more touristy places, you’d never know Black people live in the country, however, just take a visit to the slums; and that’s where most darker skinned/Black people live in that country. Brazil has always implemented a caste system based on skin tone It’s the same in the Dominican Republic, Panama, Columbia, Cuba, Mexico etc–in which I didn’t even know had Black African descended people.
I’ll tell you, I was educated after watching the program, but it also helped me to understand why Puerto Ricans and Mexicans didn’t always get along. In Chicago, they literally hated each other. But the program helped me to understand why.
The brainwashing is do deep; even Blacks with Negro features will refer to themselves as either their nationality or more desired racial groups such as calling themselves Indio, Mestizo, et al. Whiteness is highly valued in Latin America, so much so, if you have one drop of European blood (opposite of the U.S.) it makes you white.
As an African American, I do not identify nor sympathize with Black with Spanish roots at all. They are responsible for their identity and if you don’t claim who you are through knowing the depth of your rich African history; [B]THAN WHO ARE YOU?[/B]
Zoe Saldana (Dominican), Maria Carey(part Venezuelan), Stacey Dash (part Mexican), Cassie (part WI/Mexican), Meagan Good (paternal grandmother: Puerto Rican), Tatyana Ali (Panamanian),Trina-Miami rapper (part Dominican),Kelis-rapper/singer(part Puerto Rican), Joan Smalls-model (part Puerto Rican), Reagan Gomez-actress (part Puerto Rican), Shar Jackson-actress (part Puerto Rican/Mexican on her father’s side) et al. I could go on…and on…especially if I start listing the males, but you get the point.
We all remember how Mariah Carey denied being “Black” when she first came out…it was a big issue to her: http://abagond.wordpress.com/2008/11/21/the-blackness-of-mariah-carey/
Basically, I’m a PROUD African American woman and I’m sure if I posted my DNA, you’d see some mixtures there, but honestly, I don’t claim any of it and I KNOW WHO I AM and where my people come from. I don’t have any shame in me–and that is taught to those who hide who they are.
African Americans have issues, but we know our heritage and will not tolerate those who seem to be “ashamed” of themselves, yet, have an interest in our community only when it deems it politically or financially viable for them to do so, such as some of the people listed. Maybe we have an advantage because we had the Civil Rights Movement, as well as the success during Reconstruction in which our people built institutions of learning (HBCU’s), topped by the groundbreaking achievements by African Americans in art, literature, music, sports, business, entertainment, science, etc in the 20th century. We did a lot and this has given us a source of great pride.
Race, racism, and White Supremacy has been used as a weapon against people of color all over the world. Its impact is still very visible in today’s generation of the darker skinned people of the world. However, knowing this intellectually, yet practicing conscious denial of who you are; is not only an offensive betrayal of self; it gives the oppressor even more of a psychological advantage in the war of domination that has enslaved people of color. By denying who you are, literally, you have become a perpetrator by proxy.
And this is how I see Black Latinos.