An unacknowledged and ingrained feature of the Latinx community is the anti-Blackness sentiment that seeps into many dinner conversations and daily life. Indeed, a cornerstone of the Latinx community is the diversity of our appearance; White Latinos, Afro-Latinos, and mestizos share different experiences inside of the Hispanic culture and it’s the difference in Latinx skin-tone that begets the establishment of a social hierarchy, one which invites anti-Blackness.
Unfortunately, the prominence of anti-Black racism among the Latinx community is rarely addressed.
You wouldn’t have to search any further than your own home to witness the ubiquity of anti-blackness. Many Latinx families, including mine, participate in collectively reinforcing the stereotypes against Afro-Latinos.
My community—predominantly of Mexican heritage—derides all Latinos from the Caribbean islands and Central America because of their historically darker complexion. The ideal Latino—fair-skinned, light-haired, and blue-eyed—is another reflection of anti-Blackness within the Latinx community.
Yet, anti-Blackness doesn’t stop there. This discrimination transcends beyond scorning Afro-Latinos and African Americans during friendly table talk and into current social justice movements. The #BlackLivesMatter message is continuously weakened by Latinos who try to conflate the Black struggle with their own struggle.
Now, don’t get me wrong. There certainly is a way to acknowledge the adversity of two type of people but the #BlackandBrownLivesMatter doesn’t succeed in creating a movement of solidarity between the two groups. Instead, the hashtag erases the arduous struggles of Black people and serves as yet another paragon of the subconscious anti-Blackness within the Latino community.
Unfortunately, the Latinx media and entertainment industry also shares an anti-Black sentiment. The lack of variation in skin color in everything from telenovelas to news outlets speaks to the pervasiveness of the issue. I can’t recall a single time when my dark complexion was represented on my TV screen during the daily 8 o’clock telenovela on Univision. On the contrary, the appearance of the protagonist in a novela and leading news reporters align perfectly with the Latino picture of ideal beauty.
Evidently, the Latinx community has a tendency to freely voice and exercise an anti-Black sentiment with little to no consequences. There is a deafening silence found inside the Latinx community in regards to the prevalence of anti-Blackness.
The sad reality is that Latinos choose to ignore this problem but by not acknowledging the issue, we become complicit in perpetuating a divisive and prejudicial sentiment. To stop preserving anti-Blackness inside of our homes, we have to strive for objectivity which, admittedly, is easier said than done.
Ultimately, we can’t continue to conserve the stereotypes that hurt other races – not inside of our families or our communities. We have to begin to challenge what our very own family members are saying. This might be unnerving but it’s necessary to ensure that we’re fighting for all people. We can’t be compliant and we can’t be silent. Let’s fight anti-Blackness in the our dinner conversations, in the media, and in everyday life.
This article was previously published on NYAToday.com.