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  • Writer's pictureAmanda M. Pericles

Why I Hate Being "Afrolatina"

When labeling or identifying a woman, we all pretty much know what to expect. And there are 50 bajillion types of women in this world, so you could gather 50 people and they might all have a different picture in their head if you actually went ahead and asked them to think of a woman. I find that there is no need add any extra adjectives to validate my gender when identifying myself. But for some reason, as soon as someone mentions "Latina", three quarters of the world pictures a European, curvy, brunette, with a heavy accent. Or J Lo. And someone like me is deemed an "afrolatina" or a "black latina" - if I'm even lucky enough to be *gifted* the label of "Latina" by a rando on the street.

Now, don't get me wrong. There is nothing wrong with being black or claiming your African roots. That is not what I'm saying, at all. It is a label that empowers all of us to acknowledge the innovation and greatness that came before us.

But when I say I hate being afrolatina, it's because of this stuff right here.

Can we break this down for a second?

This ignoramus is basically saying, "When you say Latinx you're clearly not talking about all Latinxs. You're only talking about the white ones, cause they are the default. Black Latinxs are not included when referring to Latinxs. They are black latinxs. They are outliers. It's not normal or common to have African ancestry and come from Latin America." Like ...

Are we just going to pretend that approximately 90% of slaves did not get sent to the Caribbean and Latin America? Like ... I'm pretty sure that millions of Africans did not just arrive there and disappear. They had children. Those children had children. And those children had children. Born and raised in Latin America. Making them Latino. I'm pretty sure there are more Latinos with visible African ancestry than there are Sofia Vergaras in this world.

I will claim afrolatina 'til the death of me. I have no shame in my status as a member of the African diaspora. But I absolutely hate that it has become a term that some of us have to use to justify our Latinidad, as if we could not possibly claim it without that one little prefix. The lack of acknowledgement and acceptance, along with the influx of ignorance has made it necessary to use this term, for some, in the hopes that they will feel validated. That is my beef with the term "afrolatina".

When labeling a Latina, there shouldn't be one standard image that pops into our minds. That's why people like me are working hard to broaden the image of a Latina. That's why we get upset when Gina Rodriguez posts a photo of 15 white passing ladies + Rosario Dawson claiming #LatinaPower, further perpetuating the idea that black latinas are few and far between. Sorry, not sorry, but one black latina doesn't count as diversity. It doesn't count as inclusion. It just demonstrates your anti-blackness.

But don't worry. We're gonna keep doing what we're doing. And one day, we will be equally (if not more) proud of our African roots, and not feel that we are literally obligated to place "afro" in front of the word "Latina" in order to validate our Latinidad. Bye Gina and random Twitter person. You're cancelled.


*Gina was never on, 'cause I never cared about her or her show. Twitter person was never on 'cause ... who'd follow that?*

Until the next rant,


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