Combating Anti-Black Racism Within Latinx Communities

Featured Artwork: Brittany Holloway

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As tensions erupt across the globe, the Latinx community has shown solidarity by demanding the end of racism and protesting throughout the cities. Systemic racism and police brutality have disproportionately caused pain and merciless murder for Black people in the United States. However, marching in the streets is not enough to end racism. We, as Latinx allies, must have conversations that are often viewed as taboos within our community in order to be better allies. It is our duty to educate our parents, especially because Latinx news sources contain anti-Black media framing. It is not the job of the Black community to educate us, we must do so ourselves. Even though dismantling racism is not easy, we have room to grow and teach others the effects of microaggressions and racism.

Let’s begin.

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Stop the usage of the N-word.

The N-word does not belong to the Latinx community and to use the poor excuse of growing up in a Black neighborhood is wrong. The word has a painful history and obsessing over saying it is ridiculous. It is NOT to be used while rapping or as a form of endearment to a friend, either — just to clarify.

While consuming Black culture, do your research and understand its context. 

Even though the effects of colonialism have affected both groups (Blacks and Latinx), we must not blur the lines. Both groups have experienced things differently. Learn about cultural appropriation and its exploitation of Black culture. Just because your favorite influencer is appropriating Black culture does NOT mean you should too.

Do not forget about Afro-Latinx. 

Older generations of Latinx have denied and actively disowned Afro-Latinx and it is our job to make sure that Afro-Latinx are being heard and their voices are being amplified. We cannot erase their contributions and their history.

This Vlogger Embraces her Afro-Latina Identity

2015 Mexico’s Census that included Afro-Latinx for the first time!

Stop viewing dark skin as a bad feature/the concept of “mejorar la Raza.” 

As a Latina, I grew up hearing the phrase “mejorar la Raza”, which translates to “improve the race” — this essentially means to “whiten the race.” Even though Latinx people come from different races and colors, the mindset of lighter skin associating with worth or beauty remained after colonization. The idea that one should marry someone lighter in order to have better-looking children and thus benefit from being “white-passing” and having white privilege is still inherent in Latinx ideologies.

Protesting in NYC as a white-passing Latinx

Hispanics with darker skin are more likely to experience discrimination than those with lighter skin

Stop adhering to white beauty standards.

The “all-American beauty” ideals in the Miss America pageant were not changed to include women of color until the 1940s, and it wasn’t until the 1970s that the first Black pageant winner was Cheryl Browne. Furthermore, Miss USA pageants were not always inclusive, either. Miss Universe Organization owner, Donald Trump, reluctantly sold the stakes after Univision sponsors criticized him for the anti-Mexican rhetoric. Trump was known to reduce the competition of Latina women and Blacks in order for the idolized white beauty to win — “being too ethnic” was not a beauty standard. Aside from beauty pageants, the media has a distorted idea of beauty. Too often, we see Latinas in minor roles or depicted as maids and amongst other secondary characters, rarely as leads or protagonists. We, the Latinx community, cannot and should not allow for white men to dictate what beauty standards are. In order to be genuinely inclusive, we must accept and be open to diverse beauty, not just Eurocentric standards, and accepting and loving our melanin is one of many steps.

Latina is Tearing Apart European Beauty Standards One Picture at a Time

Stop the consumption of news/TV that is clearly anti-Black. 

Two media news sources that Latinx people consume are Univision and Telemundo, which have been heavily criticized for the coverage of Black Lives Matter and the death of George Floyd. A one-hour special, “I Can’t Breathe”, has faced backlash after portraying looters as “extremely violent” and other anti-Black commentaries. Other subheading titles included: “From liquor stores to family restaurants, athletic shoe stores and supermarket chains in various US cities have been robbed and even lit on fire, tarnishing the protests demanding justice for George Floyd.” Such a portrayal is unethical and it is our duty to call out racism and colorism in our community when we see it. Instagram and Twitter users have taken a stand against anti-Black racism within the networks and even created threads on how to start a conversation with Latinx parents.

Kenya Nunez: Conversation with my Parents in Regard to BLM

Stop laughing or staying quiet over Black jokes/stereotyping.

When we hear our own family members make jokes about Black people, we must speak up — we must be anti-racist.

Get rid of the “I can’t be racist because I am Latinx” myth. 

There is a myth that because one is Latinx one cannot be racist — false! The Latinx community has an abundance of internalized racism that is perpetrated, thus a superiority complex is formed. The reality of this is that under white supremacy, Blacks and Latinx are seen as inferior. We have consciously and subconsciously played into the colonizer’s game of “divide and conquer.”

Divide and Conquer Strategy and Examples

These Leaders Say Latinx community needs to acknowledge their racism too.

Latinos must confront ingrained anti-Black racism

While both the Latinx and Black communities have, and still experience the horrors of colonial exploitation and genocide, we must remember that Black Americans have a different experience. In order to fight and dismantle white supremacy, we must do an internal evaluation of racism and become better allies.