Black or Latina? I’ve heard that question so many times that it drives me muy loca (very crazy…lol). Some people do not understand that Afro-Latinos/Latinas do exist in this world. They are so used to the ideal Latina that looks like Jennifer Lopez. A lot of black Latinos are criticized for either not being black enough to fit in the black community or not Latino enough to fit in the Latino community. There are some celebrities who could not get Latino roles in movies because they were not what the directors were looking for. Crazy right? It is! Afro-Latinos are overlooked as if we have to choose to be black or Latino.
I remember when I was a kid growing up… a lot of people would make jokes about the way I looked, the way I spoke, the way my complexion looked and the way my hair looked. I didn’t fit in with the blacks or Latinos because I didn’t look like them. Some would say, “Oh, you’re just black…you’re not Latina.” Others would say, “You’re just Latina… you’re not black!” As if I can’t be both… which I am.
I would feel ashamed of who I was because of what others would say about me. As I got older, I started to understand more about who I was. I did a lot of research and even had discussions with my family.
In my family, it’s different shades of Latinos. Some are light skinned and close to being white with blonde and blue eyes, while others are more tan to dark-skinned with curly and/or kinky hair with green or brown eyes.
I want to share this video of this young lady named Elizabeth Acevedo. She is an Afro-Latina poet. Her words of wisdom for Afro-Latinas around the world really inspired me to be proud of being an Afro-Latina.