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.