Wednesday, September 22, 2010

LBC Day 8 - Latino Racism

If you have read my blog for a while then you know that I am no stranger to this subject. I specifically added this topic to the blog challenge because I think it is something that should always be talked about even though the purpose of this month is unity, it is also about education. Do not get me wrong, I love being Latino and I have said that from day 1, but the only draw back is how there seems to be a color divide amongst us.

Last February I talked a lot about Afro Latinos and how they are at the bottom of the social ladder in the Latin American culture. A good example is the comic book shown above. Memín Pinguín is a character in a comic book created in the 1940's. Somehow this comic is still popular in places like Mexico, Puerto Rico, Venezuela, Peru, Chile, Panama, and Colombia. The character is about the misadventures of a poor Cuban Mexican boy. This book has become so popular that there have been talks about a live action movie.

Depending on whom you speak to there can be arguments that this book is meant to be comedy and that there are stories of pride that takes place from Memín. However, it is my opinion that you can dress up a pig in make up, but it is still a pig. The problem is the way Afro Latinos are viewed in many of the same places that this book is popular. Is there no wonder that they are not taken seriously within Latino culture. I consider this book to be very much like black face in the United States for African Americans.

I made a joke on Twitter during the World Cup that this event would one of the few times we would black people all over Univision (since they televised all the games). While I meant in jest, I know that what I said is more or less true. I will be one of the first people to tell you the this type of prejudice exists in my own family. Dark or light, I will guarantee you that most people in my family have been told to date/marry someone lighter than them. How does something like that make us feel about our skin color? How are we to look in the mirror and see beauty in our complexion when the ones who are supposed to love us find it hard?

We have deep issues with identity as a people. There are those who would rather just believe that we have no African influence at all in our blood and culture. Unfortunately our art and music depute this notion. Being black is viewed so negatively that we are lose the meaning of what makes being Latino so great.  I have personally felt that color divide in college when I simply did not fit in with Latinos and African Americans. Of course, when I look back at it, I never really had to fit into both because being Afro Latino gives me fluidity to  fit into both.

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