Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Blaxicans (Black Mexicans) of California

This post is not about the blacks who were historically born and raised in Mexico, but those born and raised in Los Angeles, California's metropolitan area to Mexican and African-American parents.

According to the University of Southern California researcher Walter Thompson-Hernández, 80% of the Latinos in Los Angeles are of Mexican ancestry and either live in adjoining communities to African Americans or live alongside African Americans. Thus, there are more Blaxicans in the Los Angeles area than any other area.

Walter Thompson Hernández adds that in Los Ángeles people are not used to meeting black people who speak Spanish as in other parts of the country, like New York or Miami, where there are larger numbers of Afro Latinos. Too many people, Latinos as well as non-Latinos, have the false notion ingrained in their psyches that if you don't "look" a certain way that you in no way could be Latino, let alone speak Spanish. This puts the Blaxicans in a neutral corner where they are not black enough for their African-American friends and not Mexican enough for the Mexican-American friends.

Larisa, 27, the son of a black American father and a Mexican mother, grew up in a Mexican influenced home in California, but decided to embrace the African-American side of her family who reside on the east coast of the US. Larisa believes that it is important to recognize all of her roots. Other Blaxicans are in accord according the Walter Thompson-Hernandez's research and report.

In his conversation with the Blaxicans he interviewed, it was realized that due to their dual identities, they possess the rich cultures of two communities, and at the same time experience double-prejudice from both African-American and Mexican communities. They feel that their bi-racial and bi-cultural heritage can build bridges between African Americans and Latinos where both communities undoubtedly face similar issues as people of color in an American society.

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