Friday, August 27, 2010

Do All Latinos Look Alike?

Any one or all of these folks could be Latino.

 One day while riding the Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) from San Francisco, where I work, to Oakland, where I live; I was engaged in conversation with two other black guys. One was Cuban and the other Colombian. Since the Colombian brother spoke limited English, we carried on our conversation in Spanish. These two guys didn't notice, but I got a real thrill out of observing whites, blacks, Asians, and Latinos (who really should know better) reacting in surprise because three “brothas” were conversing Spanish.

How can you possibly look at people and know for sure which language they can and cannot speak?

History tells us that more slaves ships went to Latin America than the U.S., thus there are more Spanish-speaking black folks than English-speaking black folks. Furthermore, I've had the pleasure of meeting Latinos of Asian, Middle Eastern, German, and Indigenous ancestry. So, why do so many people feel they can simply look at someone and determine which language one speaks? WELL, I'M LISTENING!!!

Please the comment section below and educate me.


  1. We all, and many of us in the Latino community, have a long way to go when it comes to racial and ethnic consciousness. Even on my side of the world, where there has been more exposure for longer, I still get ignorant comments, made out loud from people who don't think I could possibly understand. I know the feeling of reveling in others' awe that you are speaking Spanish, but the real challenge is engaging those folks, which utlimately will be the only path to shaking that ignorance some of us have that Latinos do or should only look a certain way.

    It's very ( difficult sometimes. Some things that have been said about me have been insensitive, sometimes even outright vulgar, and most of all, hurtful, especially when they come from someone who looks JUST like me. And, I've been the first to say f***k them. But we gotta talk to Spanish. Pa'que sepan! ;0) I'm glad that you are doing just that.

    Good job, Bill!

  2. Me gusto mucho este post. Y si, es cierto, habemos muchos afrodescendants en las americas y los de por aqui (aunque parezcamos de alla) hablamos español jaja
    Ojala que los de por alla (como ustedes) se interesen en cultivarlo tambien.
    Nos seguimos leyendo...

  3. I won't lie. I went to a Cuban restaurant where our waiter was Asian. One of my family members has trouble with the English language so we were helping him out. The waiter saw, came right over and went over everything in Spanish. I kinda looked at him like "WTF?", then we all listened as he told us a history of Asians in Cuba.

    I'm always stared at whenever I speak Spanish, so I should have known better. Now...I do.

  4. Yes, Miss M. Some of the best Chinese food I ever had was in a Chinese restaurant in Lima, Perú where they have a huge, I do mean huge Chinatown.


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