Sunday, February 22, 2009

Black-Latino Identity


I used to be a Spanish teacher and one thing I always found interesting was how my students did not know that you could be Black and Latino/a at the same time. They did not know that there were any Black Mexicans or that some Puerto Ricans are as dark as some Africans. This is interesting considering that"In 1570, enslaved Africans outnumbered Spaniards in Mexico three to one, but were reduced to only 10 percent of the population by 1810. On the Caribbean islands, Blacks outnumbered Whites by as many as 23 to 1." Brazil, whose people are often depicted only as light-skinned with wavy hair, has the largest Black population(fascinating article about race in Brazil) outside of Africa. It is no wonder though since most images we see of Hispanic people are either the light skinned Ricky Martin & J.Lo types or the brown-skinned indigenous "Indian" types. While those are definitely accurate descriptions of many Hispanics, you rarely see dark brown men and women representing Latino beauty in the media.
I think about people like Sammy Sosa (Dominican Republic, baseball player), Celia Cruz(Cuban salsa singer) and Zoe Saldana (Dominican/Puerto Rican actress from NY), just to name a few, who are all Latino but to many Americans are just considered Black.


This is a complex issue for many dark skinned Latinos. Some call themselves Afro-Latino (or more specifically Afro-Cuban, Afro-Panamanian, or Afro-Puerto Rican, etc.), which clearly emphasizes their African heritage. Other call themselves both Black and Latino. Now on forms, there is a "Black (not of Hispanic origin)" box that you can check which I assume is to address this very issue. However, not all darker skinned Hispanic people like to be referred to as Black. For some, this may be an issue of not wanting to be lumped into the "Black" category which brings the burden of many negative stereotypes and disadvantages. For others, "Black" simply may not fully represent the full experience of who they feel they are. This is an excerpt of an interesting article talking about the identity issues that come with being Latino with African ancestry:

Interestingly, efforts to increase awareness regarding Afro-Latino culture and plight can be found on the campuses of historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs). At Howard University, Nadine Bascombe heads Cimarrones, a 50-member black student union of Caribbean, Central, and South Americans that recently expanded to include a chapter at Benedict College in South Carolina. Before Afro-Latinos can even begin to link the black-Hispanic communities, more Afro-Latinos must embrace their African heritage. "Within the population of what are considered Afro-Latinos, not all people identify with being black, so they'll join the Latino organizations because it's more of an assimilation of being white," says Bascombe, a junior. "It seems that if you relate yourself to being black it's something negative, so with that problem existing within the Afro-Latino population, not too many people run towards having an organization with that name."

This all came to me as I was looking at Latina.com and came across two beautiful Black Latina models. The first is Arlenis Sosa Peña who was discovered in the Dominican Republic.


The second is Sessilee Lopez, who is a self-described African-American fashion model (of Dominican and Portuguese decent), on the cover of Latina magazine. If you click the link it will take you to a letter to the editor written by a woman expressing her emotion over seeing a dark skinned Latina as the cover model.


I think no matter how you choose to label yourself, people will always go on what they see first. Unfortunately, there is still so much negativity surrounding what it means to be Black because of the history of stereotypes and under-representation (in a positive way) in the media. I think it's cool that we are beginning to see more and more people of color being represented in a positive light in our culture.

Clearly, there is no "one size fits all" descriptor for any ethnic or cultural group of people. This is a broad topic and many people have very strong opinions about it. So...do any of you consider yourselves to be Black and Latino/a? Do you know anyone who is? If so, what has been your experience with this identity? I only ask because I find it fascinating how we as Americans deal with the complexities of race (a social construct in my opinion), color and identity. What do you guys think?

47 comments:

  1. This post definitely hit home. I am a Panamanian who considers myself to be both Black and Latina. While growing up and trying to find "my identity" so to speak and I would say I was Black/Latina amongst Latinos; I was criticized and told I was not Black but Hispanic. That always bothered me because being Black is a part of me I cannot negate. When I look in the mirror I see Black. When I would say I was Black/Latina amongst Blacks, they would also disagree precisely because of my skin color. My response to that was always that Latinos come in a variation of colors.
    What infuriated me the most before, not so much now, is when I would speak Spanish and I would get jaw dropping looks from other Hispanics as if they were not aware that Black Latinos existed in there countries.
    Culturally, I was raised with "Latino" ways. Everything from the language, to the food, to the music is a part of me that I also cannot deny. Therefore, I consider myself both. However, I have friends from other Latin countries who are my complexion and darker who refuse to associate themselves with being Black.

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  2. Thanks Nikki!

    Sheila- Thanks so much for sharing your experience! In this country we are so desperate to box everybody into some kind of category and often times people don't fall neatly into any one box. I think it is so interesting how one word, "Black", represents so much and many people don't even want to touch it, no matter what their skin color is. Fascinating...and thanks again for your contribution!

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  3. i am waiting for the day when they stop boxing us, and just let us be. black women can be SO MANY things. we are a dynamic race and gender, and i think it's a shame that 'mainstream culture' refuses to give us the nuance we are LONG overdue!

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  4. I loved this post!!

    I remember dating this guy who was Panamanian, and when we first met, I thought he was an average black American. It wasn't until we got to know each other better that he told me he was Latino...I thought, "yea right...you're darker than me." I felt so ignorant when I met his family and saw them speaking Spanish, for I never knew. Since then, I've met other black latinos(as), and I find the culture just as beautiful and diverse as any other culture of color.

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  5. Excellent post! Although I'm not of a hispanic background I've often been "told" that I am. People are always shocked to hear that 1. I'm not mixed, and that 2. Both of my parents are black americans. It is very frustrating to say the least. The worst incident: A cab driver (who was Dominican)insisted that I was from "his country" because I was "too pretty to be black"!!!

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  6. Wes- I get the same thing too. When I was in Mexico people always asked if I was Puerto Rican, then Dominican, then Cuban. They never guessed American first. And some of the kids at my internship site have asked me what I'm mixed with, they don't see how two Black parents produced me(why I don't know). Then again, I had on a head scarf one day and a child asked me if I was African...so I think their perceptions about race, color, and nationality are limited.
    That's a shame...too pretty to be Black. Wow.

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  7. I'm Panamanian (represent!) I just wanted to thank you for your post. My father is African-american but he looks more Mexican. So, growing up I was always insulted when people would question if my mother was my mother (she is a beautiful dark complected Panamanian woman). My mother is much darker than me and so to a certain extent I would understand other's confusion about which of my parents was Hispanic, but it would make me angry when people would insist that my mother couldn't be hispanic. What do they know? Have they been to my country, I would always ask them.

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  8. Bravo! for this articles, IT'A GREAT! If you guys think about it, you'll see that most Latinos with dark skin and don't like to be link as black peoples is because they don't know there History. Meaning that all peoples in the world comme from Africa and that negative image we have of black people is created to better control us. What I do when i hear negative thinks about black people from Latinos i refer them to books ask them to go back to school. Im African-Dominican-Canadian woman and very proud of being black!!!

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  9. Thank you Leslie for the lovely post!

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  10. LOL, I had a really great comment about this post, but I somehow erase it while editing. Anyway. This was very informative and encouraging. It's great that people, especially women are writing about this. Kudos!!!

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  11. I know im late in reading this article but, i was googling pics of famous dark skinned latinos, and many didn't find many. I'm about to be 18, and am half Dominican and Panamanian. My mother born and raised in Panama looks african American, my father born and raised in DR looks Arab. I look black but belong nowhere. Among other black people i say im black as well, but they say no your a spic or your way to light skinned. When i spend summers in DR i see people of my same complexion which is black or "light skinned black" calling themselves white!! When i ask my parents they say your hispanic wih black in your roots. Me and my sister look the same an hate the judgements other people gve on a daily basis, they see our skin and curly hair and other Dominicans would quickly label us as cape verdian, not even Dominican.But when a hispanic man thinks your fine he'd say morena linda, but won't ever let you call yourself black an hispanic at the same time. I hate this issue and its to hard to identify as both black and hispanic, so i just call myself a dark skinned hispanic an tell those who don't undrstand to read a istory book lolz

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  12. Wow anonymous, this is a big issue for you I see. In my opinion "race" is a social construct that unfortunately carries so much weight and meaning. Black has become a dirty word so people don't want to be labeled as such. I think about this all the time and my opinion is constantly evolving about it. When I was in Mexico visiting a friend nobody thought I was American until I told them. They all thought I was Cuban or Dominican. This is how I see it. Both the US and the Islands had the same mix of three "types" of people- European(Spanish, British, French,etc), Indigenous (native people like Taino or some other group), and African (mostly from slavery of course). So you and me share similar ancestry except most of my people were from here and yours are from DR. I have heard a lot of non-Hispanic blacks say they don't like to be called black because it makes them less special, exotic, or just plain black. While others like to emphasize their Afro heritage. IDK, it seems complicated. I guess the bottom line is YOU have to figure our what makes you most comfortable and roll with that. Other people will want to label you and look at your hair, skin, accent and tell you who you are. Good luck with it and thanks so much for your candid comments!

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  13. -Black latinos have fallen into the white man's
    trap, they come to America and want to play white,the Spannish slave owners were very wicked toward their slaves, however, black latinos adore them for some strange reason,
    latino is not a race, white man came up with that phrase to seperate black people and it has worked, wake up and smell the coffee

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  14. Who would want to be associated with blackness if society has taught them that being black is bad. I am a black latino. I am appalled at the attitude other black latino have toward their african heritage. I believe in loving myself, who I am as a person and where I come from. As long as we continue to let society decide who is important and who is not we will always be on the outside trying to figure out a way to fit in.

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  15. This is very intresting, i'm making a video on beautiful black women & wanted to capture different types of beauty, you have beautiful dark as coal women, dark chocolate & mixed looking women. I want to show variety in my video so people can see beauty is one angle. You don't have to look ONE way to be beautiful, you can be any shade & still be beautiful. I'm only 14 years old, however i see these issues alot.
    My friend's mother is half spanish,& black and her dad is full black, therefore my friend does have spanish/white ancestors, but she is the same colour as me even though i'm full black (& proud), you can see my friend is mixed because she has shiney black curly hair, it used to be long but she recently cut off her dead ends so its shoulder length at the moment.
    Anyway i just want people to see that you can find beauty in any woman, & that looking more black doesn't make you less pretty.
    i must admit i'm not very dark & have been mistaken for having a mixed background, however my mothers dark & as a teenager people thought she was so pretty she was nick named 'black beauty'. I think my mother is pretty & she's alot darker then myself because i favour my dad's side of the family, however my mom is evidence black is beautiful.Make no sense why afro-latino's are trying to run away from that. MY friend is black & spanish decent, she's proud of both races, & she's only 14, if she can be open minded & be proud then am sure alot of people can.

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  16. Hi, I am late in reading this article too. I am glad that you posted it. I am medium, brown-skinned black girl whose father is from The Dominican Republic and whose mother is from Trinidad in the West Indies.
    honestly, this topic of being black and latina angers me a lot and always has. I grew up with my mother's West Indian side of the family. Consequently, I have a slight West Indian accent. (that makes being a black latina even more confusing for peeps that meet me. ) My Dominican father was gone for many years until I found him at the end of the century (1999). Growing up without him, I had other Latinos seem to accept me once they knew I was half Dominican and I got that "Oh, really? or Wow! response. I always thought why does it take you finding out about that part of me for you to treat me with the respect every human being deserves. Then they would show me I really wasn't accepted since I don't speak the language as fluently, don't have 2 Spanish speaking parents, and since I didn't grow up in the culture. Many Latinos have black in them but don't want to address that because yes black is perceived as ugly or bad. I have dated black American guys who "fell" for me even harder when they find out I am half Dominican. they find me more exotic and are prouder to show me off. black guys and eve women will look at my hair immediately to see if I am really Latina. )lol. when I got a fresh relaxer, black guys were always among the first to ask me if I was mixed. (people aren't we as blacks all mixed with something?) Latino guys feel safe when I tell them I am half Dominican but at times when they first meet me, they wanted me to be Jamaican since they think jamaicam women all are freaks (that's another story.) or they would tell me "Oh, that is why you are so pretty [because I was half dominican]. that would INFURIATE ME! my mother is gorgeous so I guess she had nothing to do with my looks either, huh? Mother even has a very common Latina name and has been mistaken for Latina more than me LOL and we are the same complexion.
    Make no mistake I am a proud to be black and am transitioning out of my relaxer. people don't seem to understand or know that we as blacks have had a diaspora as the Jews did. We went to the caribbean as slaves too and that includes Puerto Rico, Dom. Rep., Cuba,and Brazil etc. Sadly, Latinos are very racist but then many people of color ironically are. Salsa, merengue, samba all have an AFRICAN BEAT TO THEM! that is what really gets me. AFRICA IS ALL OVER THE CULTURE. Santeria, candomble (in Brazil), the hips and booties that you see on Latinas didn't come from European or indigenous ancestry -- IT CAME FROM AFRICA. EVEN THEIR CURLY/WAVY/DARE I SAY KINKY HAIR COMES FROM AFRICA.
    i can go on and on. latino is an umbrella term used by many to hide from dealing with the race issue. it is sad that if you happen to look like me or zoe saldana you have to say you are a black-latina. everyone else in the ethnic group doesn't have to distinguish themselves like that. there are also Asian latinos for those that don't know that either. I don't mean to rant but as someone who is actually apart of this community, I have to say i have always felt like an outcast. trust me I have more stories to tell but can't tell them here. sometimes i wonder God gave me a dominican father since I didn't grow up with him and I am trying to learn the culture now. but He does everything with a purpse. black Americans, Latinos of all shades,West Indians, etc, have a loooong way to go when it comes to accepting and respecting people. There is such a history of self hatred of any blackness. I think one key to this is for more blacks who are in the Latino community to step up and bring up this very disturbing/racist issue.

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  17. yes to the comment above! you hit the nail on the head! my grandmother is half brazilian /black, and alot of n.american native american we go to pow wows and everything, but yes we still have brazilian culture in our fam(moms side)my dad is african american, i have had blacks ask me why was my dad so dark and i wasnt! i dont even know what to say to that thats god lol. but i live in atlanta ga now there is a bigger brazilian community here than where i was born nc. i live in an area of mostly whites and latinos in atl and honestly the hispanics look at me like im crazy because i am a dark skined african american brazilian mix,( i have alot of brazilian flags like on my keychain and rear view i have famlily that sends me stuff from salvidor lol) i dont like the vibe i get from hispanics at all and i dont know if its discuss from them or confussion, but i hate it, so does my daddy. how ever when i am with brazilians i dont get that uncomfortable vibe, dont get me wrong im not saying all latinos are like this,just my experence,this blog really helped me understand though, because for the longest i was confused, i think dark skined latinos are soo pretty

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  18. hey people im a light skinned latino with dark skinned family from my dads side. they are a mix of puerto rican and mexican with native american some have nappy hair and others straight black hair. i think latino is a race in which we like to associate our selfs with because majority of all south american centaral and the islands have ancestry from the latins. we are all mixed races from where ever mexico, brazil, columbia ect. calling our self latino is recent because in america our communities in the past had to deal with alot of crap being called names like beaners spics and so on. i mean even in the 40 and 50 our people had to deal with the schools telling us we couldnt speak our native tongues. but when we come together we are a force to be realized. now yes it was a white mans idea to cataorize us in a way it was an isult concidering the original latino nations were cruel to all of us killing the natives enslaving the blacks and raping both women. in a way we are latino because now we are the ones all left with makeing things better for our people. and having their mix its the reason why we are so diverse now. its the reason why majority of our countries speak one of the main latin langues, spanish. we all of us black, white and tan latinos are beutiful all of us. we are the children of our countries. we are the latino americans we are mixed and we great greater then the origainal latino nations. spain, france, portugual, italy, and greece. in a way i thank them becuase look at how beutiful and differnt we are and its easier for us to share our culture with each other. mexicans and puerto ricans these days couple up, columbians and domincans, peuvian and el salvadorian. before we can state opinions we should look at our countries history and the history of other latin american races. its all identical. spain left us in a hole and we had to find a way out. now we want to separte our self into new cataories i dont think its right im a mexirican native american amongst whites and blacks but amoungst any other latino american thats what i am. we shouldnt separte our selfs we should come together cuz like a wise man once said history will repeat it self.

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  19. @Anon 3:03 AMEN!
    @Anon 6:55 Thanks for sharing so much about yourself. It really seems like people forget to look to their history when they make comments or come to conclusions about race and culture. If we are not careful, history could definitely repeat itself!

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  20. Thank you Natural Leslie! You helped me realized that what I am is an Afro-Panamanian and it explains what I am without someone having label me as "Mexican" or have someone argue me down that I'm just black! Not to say that there is something wrong with being Black but I feel as if I have discovered an identity that was hidden from me all this time. So, once again, I want to say THANK YOU! :]

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  21. I was born and raised in the south,and I have to admit I was ignorant to the fact of there being Afro-Latinos, until I picked up an African American History book, and read about the slave trade.I will never forget being in a store and seeing a sister who looked like me , but starting yelling at her kids in spanish.I was astonished even though I know there are millions of Afro-Latinos, now I'm taking a spanish class. God Bless

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  22. I had similar experiences in NYC. Darker spanish speaking people are so underrepresented on tv and we always see lighter skinned latinos and think of them as latinos. You're right that there are so many, slaves were taken all over. Good luck with the Spanish class!

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  23. Hi my name is Racqueal, I'm A female in america, and I am so glad that you posted this artical really!!!. I am a mixed race and it is all from my father. My fathers mother is full chinese-jamaican,from jamaica,and she is dark skined and gorgeous. My father's father is Czech republic,cuban and dominican. there for my father does not consist of much of african descent. My mother is black,and her mother is indian. Heres the thing my mother along with lots of people, in america believe the same thing that if you have black in your blood then oh your just black. Which is not true, I have my father's mothers acscent,and my mother makes fun of me about it because i dont sound american(its because she raised me most of my life. I am 17 still in high school. everyone in school looks at me and automatically thinks i'm not black, but asian, or hispanic, never black. My school is all race, consisting of black,asian,hispanic,and more. When i first transfered to that school,the hispanics automatically said oh whats up latina. And when i sat at a table full of asians, one asian guy said your the priettiest asian girl i've seen, he didnt even realise i was mixed race, until i mentioned it. Blacks at school only say say why you trying to act black if your not, when i ask my friends if they think i look black(because i think that i do)They say no u look dominican and asian. you look like a medium brown skin asian. and they are serious about it. White guys at school, mostly latino, ignore it when i say i am black, and i mean why is it hard to believe,i am the same color as the next dark skin chick around(right?)i thoink to myself. and black students ignore the fact that i would like to be called mixed race, they all do. once when i went to a clothing store in the mall, an spanish woman automatically started speaking spanish to me, and when i told her i only chinese and english, she said oh i thought you were Latina(which i am in between),i just left. But my point is why should people be judged on the way they look like by skin color, And who the hell has the right to tell someone what they're race is because they are dark skined or brown skined or any color. Why is that when i mark a box on my tests, or any information, i have to choose black, only. i dont think it is fair. I should have to choose between the races. I am proud of being all that i am and that includes being black!!
    every since i cut my hair short(it was long and i got tired of it) people think i am just an tanned asian. I dont like to be catorgorized, i would like it better if i could just be called human!! because i accept and love all races

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  24. Hey thanks for putting this up. I currently live in Ecuador and I have lived in other countries in latin america, and the thing is that ppl dont call themselves hispanic[only recently due to globalization]...that was a word made in the 1970's by the Ronald Reagan administration[which im not that fond of]...sorry that was a random thought and here people are also American too...in school here we are taught that there are 6 continents, which N and S america are called the americas...lol so we are all american...african american..i know that might sound weird for those living in the states but just giving u are different perspective...it is possible to be afro-latino and not consider ur self "black" per se because as u know racial catergory is much different here. there is not a one-drop rule in most cases...if u have have european and african ancestry then u are mulatto, and depending on the country there may be various degrees of this with different terms.... if u are of indigena and african heritage than you are zambo/jarocho/....etc...i feel like latino and/or hispanic is racialized too much which is ridiculous just like the word Arab. Alot of black ppl pay so much attention to the trans-atalantic slave trade but take the time to learn about the Trans-saharan slave trade...u will learn that there are 'afro-arabs'...im not sure why i brought that up but i always do a comparison of how afro-arabs and afro-Latinos has to acculturate into US society and alot of issues are quite similar....like the negation of blackness due to the maltreatment as second class citizens in their own ethnic group[latino or Arab]....okay ladies i have to go cause they are going to cut the electricity here soon. we have had a really bad drought here in Quito...chao

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  25. Gracias por tus comentarios y tu opinión!

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  26. I am also a Spanish teacher and during Black History Month I make it a point to celebrate OUR BLACK LATINOS. I hate to label them Black Latinos, because for many of us, that's what it means to be Latino. Our diverse backgrounds are exactly what makes us unique and beautiful!!

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  27. IF YOUR PROUD TO BE BLACK AND LATINO/A, AND YOUR NOT AFRAID TO SHOW THAT PRIDE, THEN LISTEN TO THIS BROTHA!!!

    www.myspace.com/balantacimarron

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  28. Wow...I can def. relate. It's not only limited to skin color. I am a light skinned Dominican female and i get mistaken for many races/mixes. When I ask people why they would think that i'm mixed with black, they would point out my full lips and pear shaped body. I also live in the south so nobody mistakes me for cuban, dominican, or puerto rican. In texas you're either black, white, mexican, or any mix of those three races. I'm currently dating a white guy and, before explaining to them how offensive it was to me, his friends would constantly talk about black people or degrade white girls that have relations with black guys. Yes, hispanics are racist too! I don't know how many times i've heard my aunts speak about how ignorant and low class black people are. I have cousins who are in relationships with black or dark latinos and my aunts also like to pick on them and speak badly of them for their choice. It makes it harder to accept my African roots. And honestly i don't think I ever will. I don't understand why people of dark skin color have to label themselves as Afro-Pana, Afro-Cuba, or Afro-Brazil anyway. White people don't go around saying "Well, I am White-German" or "Russian-American" We all have roots coming from somewhere...whether it be african or european etc. I see many posts about being labeled..so why would you put a label on top of another label?! I see everyone equally and someones race or color isn't an importance to me. It's just so terribly sad how the color of skin can hinder someone from having a good job, or getting paid well. I have a feeling the world is never going change as far as race and skin color goes. :\

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  29. WHATS WRONG WITH JUST SAYING THAT YOU ARE BLACK. BLACK CAN MEAN A LOT OF THINGS. THERE ARE BLACK AFRICAN AMERICANS, BLACK LATINA'S, ETC... SOMETIMES I FEEL THAT PEOPLE JUST DONT WANT TO BE ASSOCIATED WITH BEING BLACK, BUT BLACK IS BEAUTIFUL. SOME PEOPLE ARE FROM THE CARRIBEAN, JAMAICA, PUERTO RICO OR WHATEVER BUT THEY ALL CAN STILL BE BLACK. WE ALL HAVE ANCESTORS THAT DATE BACK TO AFRICA. BE PROUD OF THAT.

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  30. So bummed...I just wrote a really really LONG comment, and before posting it, my computer crashed!! In a nutshell, I basically said this article was very insightful and offered such a unique and much needed perspective, especially for the north american public. LOVE YOUR BLOG, and keep up the great work. I look forward to reading more.

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  31. Dang that sux! Well thanks for coming back and commenting again anyway. I hope it all works out with your computer and thank you for reading the blog. Take care!

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  32. ,
    my grandfather is from cuba and my father looks just black but his father is cuban. i never met my grandfather so i didnt really know i was cuabn too . all i knew was that i am black . its kool that im more than 1 thing . i lov who i am . in closeing im black/cuban

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  33. I am a mixed race latina ! :) :) and i LOVE IT !

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  34. The African Blood is hard to elliminate. If it is not obvious in skin color, it is in features. Many Latinos would rather identify with the slave owner than the slave. That is what was taught to them each generation; that it's better to be the house slave (mixed because "massa" had his way with the little African slave and did all the things he could do to his proper white-wife vs the field slave breed like animals by massa with other strong black slaves to do hard labor and it's quite pathetic to witness the mentality still triving in this day and age.

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  35. To be Latino/Hispanic is a culture and not a race. How else would Camaren Diaz, Christina Aguilera, Zoe Saldana, Lauren Velez, JLo, Selma Hyack, Selena, etc all be in the same catagory of Latino/Hispanic when some are visible white, some are black and some are mulatto?

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  36. I could not agree more, is true. I am a puertorican, and my skin is black. The problem here is that we have believed the mess the media or the US government created, and many of us see hispanics as a race, when is nothing but an origin. That is why you can see many races been considered as hispanic. At least I see it every day in Puerto Rico, from blondes, to blacks. But here we are puertoricans that's it, we are plenty aware of what we are, yet some still deny the african ancestry.

    Now is hispanic and latino the same thing?? No why because hispanic is that individual whos country of origin native language is Spanish.

    But Latins apply to those who come from a country whose main language comes from "lenguas romances" and that includes, Italian, Spanish,French, Portuguese, and other languages too. Dont believe it, open a book is that simple.

    Yes there is still people who look at me funny in the States beacause of my skin color and I speak Spanish. I still remember who they look at my mother like she was out of the world because she was dark skin and spoke in Spanish, for some they will consider us dominicas ( like in the Dominican Republic there is no white dominicans)but the point here is that we have done so little so educate people about us, then we cant complain.

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  37. Naturally Leslie:

    As with other facets of black culture, It starts and ends with the sistas. Negritas provide the beauty, sex-appeal, grace, and confidence that are the foundation of latin women, but, white and indian latinas reap the benefits of what they created. It's 2011, the bs needs to stop, as it relates to our latin sistas. Blackwomen have been used and abused for way too long in my opinion, Too Long! As black people, we love all of us unconditionally, no matter how flawed and imperfect we may be at a certain time and place in history. In america, we had to fight for our freedom and dignity, and our latin kin have to do the same. The self-hatred of some black hispanics is frustrating, but we have to love them despite their imperfections that we don't agree with.

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  38. I like how everyone keeps getting hung up on the color thing. Considering that ALL human life originated in Africa [scientifically speaking], wouldn't EVERYONE (living in the americas)basically be African American despite their skin color? Wouldn't everyone be labeled AFRICAN-(other nationality)?

    Race is a social construct, it's been proven that there are more genetic differences WITH IN defined racial categories, than BETWEEN them.
    So what's race but a social construct?

    Ethnicity/Culture is the only truly sound notion in this whole discussion as it influences how people behave and how they see others. The sooner people realize this the better off the world will be and it can stop dividing itself up based on silly color gradients and SOCIAL CONSTRUCTS based on those colors.

    -An annoyed Puerto Riquena

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  39. This is an interesting subject that I am coming to late. My experience as a black, non-latina woman is of being mistaken as a black latina. I am chocolate colored and used to straighten my hair. I lived in NYC for a decade and I consistently had latinos coming up to me to converse in Spanish. I did not get it until a Puerto Rican friend told me that I looked like a black Puerto Rican girl. I did not know there was any such thing.

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  40. What is black? If you or any of your family members are of African desent, then you are black or part black! I dont care if you just got off the boat from Africa it's self, If you live in Europe, Or if your from Kansas, Jamaica, Montreal, Uruguay or any of the Americas(North, Central or South). Being black is something to embrace and be proud of! With that being said, you should be proud of any race you are simply because that was how you entered this world! All these other labels: African-American, Latino, Carribean, Canadian, French are words we use to discribe WHERE we are from! These labels/places describe our CULTURES not our RACE! For example: I was born in the Carribean, my parents are black. My daughter was born in America. Her father is from South America and one of his parents are Indian & white, while the other is white. Their CULTURE, which has nothing to do with the color of their skin, is Spanish! My daughter is simply an American who is half black, half white and a little indian. Black is Beautiful! And so is every other color or shade......

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  41. *Black-AMERICANS:
    Black-North Americans(U.S. & Canada)
    Black-Central Americans(Carribean,Mexico ect...)
    Black-South Americans(Cubans,Brazillians etc..)
    *Black-AFRICANS:(Ghana, Nigeria, Liberia, etc..)
    *Black-EUROPEANS:(France, England, Germany etc..)
    BLACK PEOPLE! LET'S COME TOGETHER AND CLAIM OUR ONENESS, NO MATTER WHERE WE ARE FROM!

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  42. Loving this website! It's so beautiful and humble. I'm an Afro-Panamanian, and I'm currently having identity issues! I can relate to sooo many people here, but I don't have a lot of people who share my thoughts around me as I'd like to. Once I was ridiculed because a half white half black boy wanted to tell me that I wasn't Latino..."She tries so hard to be Latino." He would say. Because I listen to my spanish music. I take pride in being a black Latino! My skin may not be as ivory as Salma Hayek or Marlene Favela, but that doesn't make me any less of what I am. Get this! His mother is fully white and he looks fully black. Hypocritical right? We took the same Latin American History class as well, so you'd think he'd understand that there are different colors of the Latino culture...Urgh! lol But I have a few latino friends, and I feel at peace. But the sucky part about it all is that I don't speak spanish. My mom's side of the family does, including my mom, and all of my younger cousins! But I appreciate this blog because I didn't think that so many people shared my thoughts! Thank you Naturally Leslie. :)

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