Since the launch of Black Latina Negra Bella family and friends both have questioned, opinioned, and criticized this movement. "We are Afro-Latinos not Black Latinos" (criticism), "The reason people might mistake you for being African-American is because you speak Spanish with an American accent (opinion), "What about us who don't consider ourselves Black-Latinos, you are leaving us out? (question). Let me start by saying that in the United States of America we are categorized by race. On most applications that collect demographic information you are given four to five options under race. For many years, I have been confused as to what to mark , it wasn't until I was educated in college by taking African- American courses that I was informed through history books and research that I in fact was part of the Black race. I couldn't claim the white race with my particular family make-up. Never mind that by looking at me society would reject that claim anyway.
The Black Latina reference is acknowledging that we are part of the Black race. We also acknowledge that we are Afro-Latinos, we are aware of our African lineage. I particular don't have a preference to being identified as an Afro-Latina or Black Latina. Either one still accurately reflects who I am. As I said before, I am Dominican and proud to be Dominican and very much embrace my culture and adamant about passing on that tradition to my daughter. She has traveled to the Island, understands and speaks the Spanish language, our culture influences our daily life (whether people believe or not) and we eat our traditional meals daily.
My question, Is there anything wrong with being part of the black race if you are Latino? Like I mentioned, it accurately reflects our truth! What is your opinion or truth? Why do we make such a big deal about it? The basic essence of this movement is to respect, love and to embrace all people. We want to walk side by side as an united group. Stay true to yourself but denying your roots would be false.
I would love to hear from you.
By, Dania Peguero, LMSW, EdS.