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Tuesday, April 14, 2015

The Afro Latin Experience in Texas







Much of the ignorance described in the blog post below is true in many other parts of the US, especially here on the west coast where I live, and surprisingly in New York where there is a large number of Latinos who are also black.

 

In Texas, there was an occasion when a black woman went to a Mexican restaurant with some brown and olive-skinned friends. The Mexican-American waitress took the order in Spanish from the brown and olive-skinned women.

 

When it was the black woman's turn to order, the waitress automatically switched to English even though the black woman made it evident that she is fluent in Spanish. Little did the waitress know that real Latinas come in all colors, including black. Where has she and so many others been all their lives? 

 

Below is a guest post from  Black Girl Latin World, which was originally published on The Latinegr@s Project website.


Afrolatinidad In Texas
#Escribelanegra

 

A while ago, on the Afrolatinos Facebook page, a member posted about her experience as an Afrolatina in the South. She pointed out that many people she comes in contact with don’t understand the concept of being both Black and Latina.

The conversation thread exploded. For two days, people commented with experiences, opinions and advice. Even I chimed in as an Afro-American Spanish speaking body in Texas. People are shocked when they find that I know Spanish. Where I am from a Black person speaking anything other than English is looked at as strange or interesting.

The main takeaways/experiences mentioned on the thread were:

  • Frustrations around people not believing that they were Latin@
  • People speak badly in Spanish about Black people around them not expecting them to understand
  • Lack of Media attention for Afrolatin@ issues/figures

When someone doesn’t understand your identity, it can be easy to get upset. But I like to look at everything as a teaching moment. Telling them about your experience and identity might just be the seed that can help them grow into an ally.