A while ago, on the Afrolatinos facebook page, a member posted about her experience as an Afrolatina in the South. She pointed out that many people she comes in contact with don’t understand the concept of being both Black and Latina.
The conversation thread exploded. For two days, people commented with experiences, opinions and advice. Even I chimed in as an Afro-American Spanish speaking body in Texas. People are shocked when they find that I know Spanish. Where I am from a Black person speaking anything other than English is looked at as strange or interesting.
The main takeaways/experiences mentioned on the thread were:
—Frustrations around people not believing that they were Latin@
—People speak badly in Spanish about Black people around them not expecting them to understand
—Lack of Media attention for Afrolatin@ issues/figures
When someone doesn’t understand your identity, it can be easy to get upset. But I like to look at everything as a teaching moment. Telling them about your experience and identity might just be the seed that can help them grow into an ally.
Here is a list of fine folk whose work champions Afrolatinidad. And get this…they are all based (Although they are not all from) in the Lone Star State. You can share these with your students, teachers and families.
Toi Scott-Artist, Writer and Activist, More info about Toi’s work on: http://www.afrogenderqueer.com
Dr. Frank Guridy, Professor at University of Texas at Austin, Author of Forging Diaspora: Afro-Cubans and African Americans in a World of Empire and Jim Crow
Ishia Lynette AKA Afromexico, Writer for Real Brown Girls.
Dr. Juilet Hooker, Professor at the University of Texas at Austin, Faculty-Lead of Bluefields, Nicaragua Study Abroad Program.
Dr. Jossianna Arroyo-Martinez, Professor at the University of Texas at Austin, Teaches Afrolatino Culture and Afro-Carribean Diaspora courses.
Let’s add to the list of resources
Part of me believes that these experinces noted in the Afrolatinos facebook page post happen due to lack of education and media representation. Yes, even in Texas there are Latinegr@ spaces. It may not be as prevalant as New York City or Miami but these spaces exist. And it’s up to us to have more discussions on this topic in our southern arts orgs, elementary schools and culture centers.
I invite you to add to the list of Texas-based Latinegr@s scholars, artists, allies, resources etc. Share these with your family. Educate ourselves and our community. Knowledge is Power.
This was originally published on The Latinegr@s Project website.