Seen Elsewhere: Our Big Afro-Descendant Sisterhood

Via Giphy

I remember sitting with a friend who identified as Afro-Latina.  She beamed with joy as she told me about her Afro-Cuban friend from class, her coworker from Guyana, and me, a Black American she met through a mutual friend. The bond that she felt with all of us was special. Despite our ethnic and cultural differences, we were all Black women. We may go by different names, speak contrasting languages and dance to separate music, but we all are apart of an unspoken sisterhood. Continue reading


Diasporic Realness Guest Writer’s Month: Chocolate and Vanilla: Learning to Love My Skin Color

textgram_1441938428Diasporic Realness is a Guest Writer’s Month dedicated to US telling our stories!

By: Anali Martinez of The Nueva Latina

“Papi, porque yo soy de chocolate y Abner es de vanilla? Yo quiero ser de vanilla tambien.”

I wasn’t always as dark as I am now. I remember I used to be very close in skin color to my brother. One summer on our family trip to the beach, I came back in to the hotel room and as I turned to look in the mirror I jumped back scared.

I was dark. I was brown. What happened?!?!? I started crying.

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Spotlight of the Month: Facebook Community Raising Afrolatino Kids


PHOTO CREDIT: Shannon Guzman

The Guzman Family: Shannon, Bernard, Matthew and Milagros

PHOTO CREDIT: Shannon Guzman
Every month, Black Girl, Latin World showcases awesome organizations that champion Afrolatinidad!   This month’s addition to the Spotlight of the Month is none other than the social media space Raising Afrolatino Kids. I came across this facebook group some months ago and I enjoy the discussions, resources and insight that the communidad shares on intercultural families and Afrolatino culture. No, I am not a parent but I do share many of the things that I learn with my own family when we discuss intercultural families/dating and the like.  Feel free to check out this interview where co-founder Shannon Guzman tells us why she is so passionate about Afro-Latino families, multicultural representation in the media and where she sees RALK going in the future. 

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The “Power” of James St. Patrick’s Spanish


So, I wasn’t going to watch the series Power but my family was watching a marathon this weekend and I got pulled in.  There are some great actors, some strong writing and some racy scenes.  While I’m not here for Black folk playing drug dealers and men leaving their families for other women, I do enjoy one element of the show more than anything else.

James AKA Ghost speaks Spanish. Continue reading

Spotlight of the Month: Musician X’ene Sky



Every month, Black Girl, Latin World likes to showcase beautiful Black artists that make us think and feel.   This month’s addition to the Spotlight of the Month is none other than the fabulous musician, writer and activist X’ene Sky.  Check out what she has to say about her musical journey, Afro-Mexican roots and why art is important.

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The Play I Had to Write: The Stories of Us


These lovely actors helped me with the first reading of Untitled Stories, the original The Stories of Us script.

This is a journey that has been a long time coming.  The Stories of Us is the play that I have been writing for six years but I never knew that I was writing it.

All of the stories share some Afro-Latin@, African American, Choco-taco realness that has been boiling up inside of me and situating itself around me ever since I was 13.
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GUEST POST: The Broken Spanish Speaker Radar in New York

PHOTO CREDIT: wikipedia.commons

Written by: Dallas Rico

I often wonder how Nuyoricans (a popular term for Puerto Ricans living in New York) and Dominicans determine whether or not someone speaks Spanish. Is it like a gaydar, but for Spanish-speakers. A year before I moved to New York, my cousin, who lived in Williamsburg at the time and who doesn’t speak a lick of Spanish, mentioned people would approach her almost every day and start speaking Spanish to her. It was so overbearing to the point where she’d avoid eye contact with anyone who looked Dominican or Puerto Rican, lest they strike a conversation. That’s one of the many things that got me excited about moving to the Big Apple. I’m a Spanish teacher and love to speak the language outside the classroom. The prospect of speaking Spanish every day was thrilling.

Unfortunately, when I got here I quickly learned that would not be the case. The moment I walk into an establishment, I’m immediately pegged as a non-Spanish speaker. For instance, I remember the look I got when I went to a Dominican barbershop last year. When I sat in an open chair, the barber asked one of his colleagues to translate for him. He didn’t even ask me if I spoke Spanish. He just assumed I didn’t. Even when he realized that I did he still tried to speak his broken English to me. What I don’t get is why the guy who was as black as midnight gets a pass, but I don’t. When he walked everyone greeted him in Spanish like they were homeboys. I just don’t understand. Is it my hair? The shape of my head? The way I walk? My breath? Can someone please explain this to me?!

Some people look entirely African American but they speak Spanish. It’s curious that the Nuyorican and Dominican communities feel so aggressively non-black. I believe they use language as a way to segregate themselves from the black community, as a way of saying, “you are not us,”despite our similar heritage. That’s right. Many Dominicans and Puerto Ricans are indeed black or mixed with black though they refuse to acknowledge it. They had slaves on those islands. Do your research. At any rate, language may serve as a comfortable barrier to deny blackness. Hey, I can’t be black. I speak Spanish. Black people don’t speak Spanish.

I miss the brotherhood I felt with my fellow Mexicans in Texas and California. Things were different there. The Mexican community felt so much more welcoming even though I definitely didn’t look like them. Though I’m black by blood, I also culturally identify as Mexican due to my intimacy with that community. It’s a part of who I am. It’s ironic because I can understand why they’d assume I don’t speak Spanish. Pretty much the majority of Spanish-speakers there are either Mexican or Salvadorian. So, it’s a shock when a person with African features speaks Spanish. Yet, when I spoke there people just went with it. I miss those days, man.

I had hoped the diversity of Latin American countries represented in New York would give people an open mind. We’ve got folks from places like Venezuela, Colombia, Ecuador, Nicaragua, and the Caribbean islands. (Did you know there are huge Afro-Latino communities all over South America? I watched a fascinating documentary on that subject) Spanish speakers come in all colors here. So, one shouldn’t assume someone’s linguistic ability. Alas, in a form of linguistic chauvinism, it seems I’ll forever be pegged as a non-Spanish speaker.

So, if you are a black Spanish speaker who plans to visit New York, curb you enthusiasm if you hope to practice Spanish. You may or may not get that opportunity. There’s really no way to tell. If you don’t happen to get accepted into the Spanish-Speakers Club, please hook me up with a recommendation.

Now, where will I get to speak Spanish if not NYC? Even when I visit Puerto Rico they speak to me in English. Also, many of my Latino friends here prefer to speak in English, so that’s a bust. I guess I’ll have to keep my Spanish in the classroom and during Skype sessions with friends abroad. I could always move to Mexico. ¡Qué lástima!



Dallas, who’s actually from Dallas, is a high school Spanish teacher and an aspriring novelist living in Brooklyn.  Look for his name on the New York Times Best-Sellers list one day.  Maybe. Hopefully.  Follow his (mis)adventures at @scandallas.


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