Black, White + Latino? ....by pemora

Recently, this meme quietly made the rounds on my FB feed:

For those who need help with the translation, the title reads “The Indiscreet Latino Racism,” followed by endearing comments for the whitest baby. The two friends who posted it did the online equivalent of nodding their heads, to which other Latino friends just ‘liked’ the post.

Last night, seated next to my husband and holding our 5 year-old son on my lap, I watched the reading of the George Zimmerman verdict. We put our son to bed, and then I cried. My husband, ever the cool-headed one in our relationship, tried to help me understand what may have happened, what the jury might have been thinking. I turned off the TV and went to bed.

This morning, while reading FB and Twitter, I saw posts from people feeling outrage and dismay, some expressing ‘I told you so’s’. A couple of quotes from some of my heroes. A few links to really great articles.

But what is missing in all of this? A real conversation. One in which we, the Latino community, really take time to reflect on our own prejudices. Our own biases. The context of circumstances that led to George Zimmerman, a non-black Latino, murdering Trayvon Martin, a black teenager.

As someone who teaches Latin American History, I understand the complex political, social and historical background of this issue. The fact that colonialism directly shaped the ways in which we view race is something that we have still not untangled. Latinos of every region, national identity, and socioeconomic class have examples of how race has played out in our interactions with one another. Why do we use words like ‘negrita’ or ‘guerita’? How do we treat our Afro-Latino cousins? How do we treat our blonde hair, blue-eyed ones? Why do we not acknowledge skin privilege?

Trayvon’s death is a tragedy. But I hope that Latinos can use this as the opportunity to truly engage in a conversation on race.

Rest in peace, Trayvon Benjamin Martin. 

**edited by @thewayoftheid

1 comment:

  1. I was in Newton, MA (just outside of Boston) last night and walked into my hotel lobby when I saw the breaking news ticker and I froze. I sat down and waited to because I didn't want to go up to my room and take the chance that I would miss a second of what happened. Me, an elderly white couple, and a Nigerian dude who worked security all stood their and waited with the proverbial "baited breath."

    Afterwards, the Nigerian cat had that I told you so look, the elderly white couple had the most earnest look of dismay and confusion I've seen on a person in a long time, and me... I was irate and wanted a taste of home in the form of a Long Island Iced Tea.

    When pemora asked me to give the song that I've listened to the most in the last year, I opted not to be all depressing and picked a popping ditty instead. The truth is Chrisette Michele's Black Boys Still die has been on my mind a hell of a lot for the last year or so. And not that I haven't had enough anger over this kind of all too frequent tragedy, but I'm going to see Fruitvale Station this week (hopefully like many people will). At the end of the day, this whole talk of "post-racial America" where just because there's a biracial POTUS means all is right with the world... that sh# needs to stop.


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