Friday, December 9, 2011

NEGRO: Docu-Series on Latino Identity

Part I

by Britni Danielle 

The African diaspora is vast. Because of the slave trade and natural migration, African-descended people can be found living in and influencing cultures all over the world. A new series, ‘Negro,’ takes a look at another part of the diaspora and explores issues of culture, ethnicity, colorism and the media’s portrayal of Latinos. If we used the media as a guide, we’d think that all Latinos were the same: Fair-skinned, stereotypically “hot blooded,” catholic, and tending to come from a particular region. But the truth is far deeper.

Latinos are incredibly diverse, live all over the globe, and have a range of experiences that have yet to be shown in the mainstream media. Because of this, journalist and filmmaker Dash Harris has set out to tell her story, and those of other Latinos. Born to Panamanian parents, Harris says she wanted to make this documentary to show the world that Latinos are not a monolith. “We have a complex history that shows we come in all colors and hues and the denial of that history really upset me growing up,” Dash explained. In ‘Negro,’ Harris travels around the world chronicling the Latino experience and its historical roots.

Although the documentary takes a look at the ways in which African-descended people have influenced Latino culture (and how some Latinos self-identify), Harris finds the term “Afro-Latino” redundant. “I do not identify as ‘Afro-Latino’ because to me, it’s redundant,” Dash explained to me. “The definition of ‘Latino’ is African, indigenous and European. So to me it’s just repeating what we already are. I am Latina and I am a Black woman.” So far, Harris has traveled to the Dominican Republic and Colombia to interview people on the Latino experience, and she’s hoping to raise $5000 to visit Salvador, Brazil, Puerto Rico and Cuba to continue to tell the story. Whether you can or cannot relate to Harris’ background and experience, encouraging (and supporting) her to tell her life story helps other women do the same.

Watch the first part of Harris’ docu-series, ‘Negro’ and check out her GoFundMe page to learn how you can donate for future episodes.

by Dash Harris
InADash Media


  1. Found this interesting & wanted to share.

    Black Pride: Latin America needs its own civil right movement says the world-famous rapper"
    February 15, 2007
    by Tego Calderon

    Just this morning, I was listening to radio host Luisito Vigeroux talking about a movie project that I am working on which co-stars Mayra Santos Febres and he was saying, "Her? She's starring in it?"

    Questioning her Black beauty.

    I remember, too, when Celia Cruz died, a newscaster, thinking she was being smart, said Celia Cruz wasn't black, she was Cuban. She was pretty even though she's black.

    As if there is something wrong with being black, like the two things can't exist simultaneously and be a majestic thing. There is ignorance and stupidity in Puerto Rico and Latin America when it comes to blackness.

    In Puerto Rico, Spike Lee's "Malcolm X" was only shown in one theater and unlike all the other movies shown here, there were no subtitles. It's as if they don't want the masses to learn.

    But it's not just here - in Puerto Rico - where I experience racism. When I lived in Miami, I was often treated like a second class Boricua. I felt like I was in the middle - Latino kids did not embrace me and African American kids were confused because here I was a black boy who spoke Spanish. But after a while, I felt more embraced by black Americans - as a brother who happens to speak Spanish - than other Latino kids did.

  2. Because I am well known, sometimes I forget the racist ways of the world. But then I travel to places where no one knows Tego Calderón I am reminded.

    For instance, when I travel first class, the stewardess will say, "Sir, this is first class," and ask to see ticket. I take my time, put my bags in the overhead, sit, and gingerly give them my ticket, smiling at them. I try not to get stressed anymore, let them stress themselves.

    And the thing is that many white Puerto Ricans and Latinos don't get it. They are immune to the subtle ways in which we are demeaned, disrespected. They have white privilege. And I've heard it said that we are on the defensive about race.

    Those things happen and it's not because of color, Tego, but because of how you look, how you walk, what you wear, what credit card you have. Then, they spend a couple of days with me, sort of walk in my shoes, and say "Damn negro, you are right."

    When I check into hotels and use my American Express they call the credit card company in front of me saying the machine is broken. This happens a lot in U.S. cities but it's not because there is more racism there, it's because they don't know me. When I'm in Latin America, I am known, so it's different. That is not to say that there is less racism. The reality for blacks in Latin America is severe, in Colombia, Venezuela, Peru, Honduras ...

    Puerto Rican (and Latin American) blacks are confused because we grow up side by side with non-blacks and we are lulled into believing that things are the same. But we are treated differently.

    My parents always celebrated our history. My dad always pointed things out to me. He even left the PIP (Pro-Independence Party) because he always said that los negros and our struggle was never acknowledged.

    Maelo (Ismael Rivera) and Tite Curet did their part in educating and calling out the issues. Today, I do my part but I attack the subject of racism directly.

    It makes me so happy to see Don Omar call himself el negro and La Sister celebrate her blackness. Now it's in fashion to be black and to be from Loiza. And that is awesome, it makes me so happy. Even if they don't give me credit for starting the pride movement, I know what I did to get it out there.

  3. Young black Latinos have to learn their story. We also need to start our own media, and forums and universities. We are treated like second class citizens. They tell blacks in Latin America that we are better off than U.S. blacks or Africans and that we have it better here, but it's a false sense of being. Because here, it's worse.

    We are definitely treated like second class citizens and we are not part of the government or institutions. Take for instance, Jamaica - whites control a Black country.

    They have raised us to be ashamed of our blackness. It's in the language too. Take the word denigrate - denigrar - which is to be less than a negro.

    In Puerto Rico you get used it and don't see it everyday. It takes a visitor to point out that all the dark skin sisters and brothers are in the service industry.

    It's hard in Puerto Rico. There was this Spaniard woman in the elevator of the building where I lived who asked me if I lived there. And poor thing - not only is there one black brother living in the penthouse, but also in the other, lives Tito Trinidad. It gets interesting when we both have our tribes over.

    Black Latinos are not respected in Latin America and we will have to get it by defending our rights, much like African Americans struggled in the U.S.

    It's hard to find information about our people and history but just like kids research the newest Nintendo game or CD they have to take interest in their story. Be hungry for it.

    We need to educate people close to us. I do it one person at a time when language is used and I am offended by it. Sometimes you educate with tenderness, as in the case of my wife, who is not black.

    She's learned a lot and is offended when she sees injustices. She gets it. Our children are mixed, but they understand that they are black and what that means. My wife has taught her parents, and siblings, and they, in turn, educate the nephews and nieces. That is how everyone learns.

  4. This is not about rejecting whiteness rather; it's about learning to love our blackness - to love ourselves. We have to say basta ya, it's enough, and find a way to love our blackness. They have confused us - and taught us to hate each other - to self-hate and create divisions on shades and features.

    Remember that during slavery, they took the light blacks to work the home, and left the dark ones to work the fields. There is a lot residue of self-hatred.

    And each of us has to put a grain in the sand to make it into a movement where we get respect, where we can celebrate our blackness without shame.

    It will be difficult but not impossible.

    As told to Sandra Guzman

  5. Anonymous thanks for posting the above article. It was enlightening until I read the part about Tito having a white wife. It is always ironic that many of these afro latino men talk so much about how black in beautiful and the " struggle" and the first thing that they get is a light, bright or white wife/ girlfriend. If black is so beautiful in their opinion why not appreciate some of the beautiful afro latino women instead of running towards a status symbol. SMH.

  6. I agree with you. Black women are beautiful and I don't understand it either. That is for most black men be they African, Afro-Latino, or African-American.

    Now, I don't know about Tito, but throughout my travels to nine Latin American countries, so far, an overwhelming number of non-black woman were much “friendlier” and open. I wonder if Tito himself was drawn in by this “friendliness.” We don't know.

    Also, keep in mind that a lot of Afro-Latino woman are marrying and having babies with non-blacks. Please read my post: “Mejorar La Raza/Improving the Race” from beginning to end!!!;postID=8056544386975380194

  7. Well you have a point on Tego talking the talk but not walking the walk. However we must give him credit for at least bringing up the topic and give more exposure to the issue. This is why I respect President Obama because he is a great leader and doesn't just walk the walk but represents the African Community well. He could have said well I am mixed race half white so I should marry a white woman but he didn't.
    President Obama Quotes

    "I ceased to advertise my mother's race at the age of 12 or 13, when I began to suspect that by doing so I was ingratiating myself to whites."

    "I never emulate white men and brown men whose fates didn't speak to my own. It was into my father's image, the black man, son of Africa, that I'd packed all the attributes I sought in myself, the attributes of Martin and Malcolm, Dubois and Mandela."

    Bill talking about Improving the race do u feel like many African Americans also adhere to these practices. I recently watch a video on youtube and I was shocked at the numbers of African Americans marrying white women & even black women marrying white men. Most of these people are very successful people. I will add the youtube video link. Just copy and paste in youtube search bar.

    clip 1
    Why do Rich Black Men marry White Women

    clip 2
    Why 70% of Black Hollywood Men Marry White Women (Addendum)

    It is true what you say about AfroLatinas they are already saying that Zoe Saldanda might be dating Bradley Cooper. type this in google. Just read this today.

    Zoe Saldana and Bradley Cooper are 'totally dating,' just one month after 'Avatar' actress splits with fiance

    Read more:

  8. Bill here is some more information about the Latino Identity you may want to know about. I was explaining this to another human being when we talked about the Latino identity.

    Yes, their is and if you want to see it just go to the Original Latino countries of Italy and its sister countries Spain, Portugal, France & Romania to see how Latinos really looked like and how they are suppose to look. Latino itself is a European word and has an Italian origin. Any person with half a brain can understand this. Latinos began in West Central Italy in the Old Latium that included Rome as its inhabitants and yes I have proof.

    The Latins (or Latini) were a people of ancient Italy who included the inhabitants of the early City of Rome. From ca. 1000 BC, the Latins inhabited the small part of the peninsula known to the Romans as Old Latium

    This is no Conspiracy just facts. With the information age and computers and access to information and documentation it makes it easier for people to discover the truth. Why do you think so many dictators have fallen in the middle east. Now people are learning what they have been told was nothing but lies and they are taking a stand. Whether you like it or not the truth will always come to light

  9. I also explained how the word Latino started in the new world as well as Hispano.

    Now one of the questions to ask is how did the word Latino come into existence in the world. That is the key question. Actually the term Latinos was first used - The term "Latin America" was used for the first time in the nineteenth century when the French occupied Mexico (1862–1867), leading to the Second Mexican Empire, and wanted to be included in what was considered Spanish America. source wikipedia

    Now Latino=Southern Europe and Hispano comes from Hispania which is not called Espana. To call yourself a Latino you are saying that your lineage comes from Southern Europe. A person that calls their self Hispano is saying that their linage is from Spain. However if you look at the books Mexico use to be called Nueva Espana or New Spain and the people could be called Nuevo Hispanos.

    Here is more proof. New Spain, formally called the Viceroyalty of New Spain (Spanish: Virreinato de Nueva España), was a viceroyalty of the Spanish colonial empire, comprising primarily territories in what was known then as 'América Septentrional' or North America.[1][2][3][4] Its capital was Mexico City, formerly Tenochtitlan, capital of the Aztec Empire. New Spain was established following the Spanish conquest of the Aztec Empire in 1521,

    Look it up in Wikipedia as well as your local library or historical documents that the Spanish have kept. To make it easy I got all much of this information from Wikipedia and it is much of the same stuff i have read as well in history books. Even a person with half a brain can figure this out or a 5th grader. It does not take a rocket scientist to figure this out. You just have to know how to read and have a little bit of common sense I told him.

  10. Hey, LOL, lighten up! Who are you, anyway? :-)

  11. Oh Bill sorry it was just that guy got me riled up and called me an ignorant American, so I figure I fire back with facts and stop his lies. The reason I gave you this information is because you seem to be searching for the truth yourself. Who am i? I am just a person who likes to spread the truth. Do I now everything? No, but I just do my best to provide factual information to humans that are interested in finding out the truth and are not close minded.

  12. Here is another interesting video on Youtube you may want to check out. Just copy and paste in youtube search bar.
    What's it like to be Latino - and black?

  13. Where is the link, Mr/Ma Anonymous?


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