I AM AFRO LATINA. RESPECT ME.
POSTED SEPT. 17TH, 2017 | BY TIFFANY GARCIA
What do you think of when someone says they’re Latina or Hispanic? If you live in California, maybe you automatically think the person is of Mexican heritage. Or, if you live on the East coast, maybe you think they’re Puerto Rican or Cuban or Dominican. But what if the person doesn’t look like your typical J. Lo, Eva Mendes or Selena? What if they look like Serena Williams or Gabby Sidibe? Are they any less Latino or any less African American?
I am Afro Latina. I am Puerto Rican. I do not have soft wavy hair, light or fair skin with large round assets. I do not have an accent. I was not born in Puerto Rico.
I have medium brown skin; coarse curly hair and my assets are just fine. I was born in the United States. I can speak Spanish if I have to, but understand it better. I thank my African ancestors for my physical attributes; my ancestors who were kidnapped from their land and dropped off in the Caribbean islands for free labor, raped and killed.
When we lived in New York, everyone looked like me. I never felt out of place, until we moved to California. In California, I didn’t look like my fellow Latinos, and they didn’t accept me as one of them either. Because I had darker skin and different physical attributes, they looked at me as “only black” or “other”.
When I tried to explain my ethnicity to Latinos alike, I would receive comments like, “oh, but you’re mixed, right?” or “you’re not Latino, you’re black” or “do you even speak Spanish?” And when I explained my heritage to African Americans, they would say, “well, you’re not really black” or “you’re white-washed”.
My mother raised me. She has olive skin tone, soft wavy hair and has large round assets. When I would ask my mom “why are people staring at me?” or say to her, “I’m darker than you,” she would respond, “you’re the same color as me and you’ll always be Puerto Rican first.” This did not help with my skin color complex I had growing up. I wasn’t Spanish enough and I wasn’t black enough. So where did I fit in?
More recently, many Afro Latino celebrities have embraced their heritage and created awareness around this “not enough” issue, such as Zoe Saldana, Christina Milian, Tatyana Ali, LaLa Anthony, Sammy Sosa, Celia Cruz, and the list goes on and on.
It’s a large enough burden of being ostracized by your fellow Americans for having dark skin, but to be criticized by your own people, is a different type of hurt.
Let me school you folks about genetics of Latinos in general: we come in all shapes, colors and sizes. Accept it and respect it.
-By CSuiteMusic Lifestyle Blogger Tiffany Garcia
IG/Twitter/Snapchat - @TiffBritt_PR