The Afro Latina

“I can’t tell what she is….does she even speak Spanish???”

“How about her hair, she looks black, but I don’t know maybe she is trying to be black !!”

Comments I’ve been hearing since childhood, and not surprisingly into adulthood. Most people aren’t aware of what race, ethnicity, or culture they belong to. For a long time, I had the same identity issue, most people face in their lifetime. Throughout my life, I thought I was a Latina, who just was being mistaken for a black girl, I would try very hard to emulate “Latina behavior“ not understanding, that I was just being ignorant to my Latino culture and my undiscovered roots as a “melaninated” woman.

Watching Novelas and tv shows in Spanish; I would never see Black Latinos, and if I did, it was portrayed in a stereotypical way, never for a second did I connect my features to that of a black girl,  even having a dark-skinned father, I didn’t think my father was a “Moreno”. Did I grow up with Puerto Rican and Dominican DNA? Should I look deeper into my bloodline? Who gave us this skin tone? And why do so many of us get that “ I thought you were….” Part of what I observed in my journey, of self-acceptance is that I am not half of this and half of that, I am a whole human, who identifies herself as an Afro-Latina, Afro-Boricua, Afro- Dominican. Many ask what is an Afro-Latina? Why not, just say your black, and speak Spanish!  Afro-Latina/Latinos are people of significant African ancestry, brought out of Latin-America, The Americas, and the Caribbean.

The fact is that Latino ethnicity is very diverse and beautifully put together! It comes with a background, rich in Afro-Diaspora, you can tell within our dialect, which was given to us by European inquisitions. Throughout our history, we’ve had a huge identity crisis, we’ve faced colorism and “shadism”. With that being said, let’s speak of the Latin race, and how many are confused about their ethnicity. Latinos come in many shades and cultural backgrounds, it’s not impossible to point out a Latino, and say she or he doesn’t look like a Latino, stereotypes I grew up hearing.

Hey!! I’m not saying any of us were raised wrong, but it does take time to come to some understanding, about what and who we are as a people, the truth is solid and unshakable!! As I grew up, I came to my own realization with research, that my family is of Haitian descent, and it made me even more proud to be who I am today. Self-discovery is so important for growth in life. I Am A Afro-Latina!  Let love and light in.

-JAHaira

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