Sunday, April 28, 2013

Part II: Latina Magazine Criticized for Celebrating Black Heritage

In my April 12, 2013 blog post entitled Latin Magazine Criticized for Celebrating Black Heritage, I pointed out how I could not understand why would spread rhetoric that Latinos are all one and unified regardless of color when I observed the contrary from my personal travels and from watching Spanish television. There are Black organizations springing up all over Latin-America trying to address the racism that they experience in their respective countries. I brought this up in Latin-American forum of which I am a member and received some enlightening feedback that helped to broaden my perspectives. 

A member pointed out that in Latin American countries, there is no such word as Latino. In Latin America, you are identified by your country first, then your region, followed by your town, and finally, your color (not necessarily race.) He went on to explain that the united Latino movement is more passionately addressed here in the US where there is little racism between Latinos whereas in Latin American countries , racism and classicism are more prevalent.

I then asked him to explain why Spanish television here in the USA, like Telemundo and UnivisiĆ³n, does not feature Latinos of color, and why so many Afro-Latino actors forced to play African-American roles and not accepted into the Latino TV and film industry? His only response is that the media is one thing and the general population is another. From his personal experience as a Latin-American living on the East Coast of the USA, he hasn't observed or experienced racism (sometimes nationalism, but not racism) between Latinos in the US. He has observed Black Dominicans, light skinned El Salvadoreans, and Indigenous Peruvians shopping in the same places, dancing at the same clubs, and intermarrying.

This raised another question, which he was able to intelligently clear up; considering that racism is so hard to break; how is it that people can be racist in his or her home country and suddenly turn over a new leaf when they arrive in the USA? Another member of the forum said that the answer to that is simple; in their home countries, many non Black and non-Indigenous Latin-Americans were treated as White, but not so in the US where they are all lumped together as minorities; people of color. The other member stated that many of the Latin-Americans who come to the US are poor, and got along very well back home regardless of race, and when they come to the US, they get negative reception from so many Americans that they are forced to band together. I myself, during my travels, witnessed impoverished Latin Americans, particularly Black, Mestizo, and Indigenous people living together in harmony and even intermarrying.

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