One dark and stormy night, @Latinegro founded the 30 Day Latino Blog Challenge. He scheduled it to coincide with Latino/a and Latin American Heritage Month (I hate the word Hispanic) which began today and ends October 15th. And, hospitable fellow that he is, he’s invited any Latino blogger to join in.
Since I can count on one hand the number of fellow Afrolatina bloggers I know, I think I’ll take the plunge. After all, I haven’t written a post specific to Latina or Afrolatina issues for awhile now. For 30 days and nights, I owe the interwebs at least two paragraphs on the topic o’ the day. To follow along (or backtrack) click the tag “latina/o heritiage month.” Today’s topic(s): Latino Racism
Pedro Pietri, “Puerto Rican Obituary,” 1973
Latinegro might not like this but I’m going to speak my mind.
I’m not the biggest fan of this prompt.
I know, I know.
The prompt makes sense if you aren’t already afrolatina or preoccupied with race and racial configurations in the United States (or both). Because if you aren’t, then you might be missing the ways that narratives of mestizo or mestizaje obscure structures of race and power within the Chicano/Mexican community, obscure the long tenure of slaveholding in the once-upon-a-time Spanish landscapes of North America, a captive population descended from the flood of African slaves in the Americas that began as early as 1492. If you aren’t, you might have been miffed that the 2010 census did not include a “race” for you outside of white and black/African-American but might also not be cognizant of how, on a more regular basis, you accrue all the benefits of light skin privilege.
Without this prompt, you might be a scholar, journalist, professor or student of Latina/o studies and not even realize that calling this Hispanic Heritage Month glorifies our colonizer more than the struggle against genocide, enslavement, colonialism and everyday state violence of globalization that is the reality for peoples of Latina/o and Latin American descent in the Western hemisphere. You might be a scholar, journalist, professor or student in a Latina/o Studies Program that is really a Chicana/o Studies Program that is really a program about the indigenous struggle in the west that maligns the history of Puerto Ricans, Dominicans, Cubans, Haitians, and those of mixed-Latina/o descent on the other side of the Mississippi River, in the urban enclaves of the North and along the waterscapes of the Gulf Coast.
In fact, without this prompt, you might not ever stop to think that Haiti is a part of Latin America too.
Or that J-Lo is not the average Puerto Rican.
Or that speaking Spanish doesn’t MAKE you anything except a Spanish speaker.
Or that my Latinidad is more than just a big booty fetish and a preoccupation with my nappy hair and don’t you dare look at me sideways just because you have the dubious benefit of several generations of white rape and white brainwashing. Where do you think all that mestizaje came from?
Without this prompt, I’d got to bed less angry that the only way to get some of you gente to think twice about your own color and race privilege is to force a prompt on you, a prompt like this, a prompt that is probably only going to garner some superficial complaints about not making it in corporate America because of your last name when doors shut in the faces of your darker brothers and sisters while fingers point around the back to the servant door. (Or some lip service to violence between African-Americans and Latinos, come to think of it)
Without this prompt, I might not even have gotten some of you to even check out this blog because you had to search #race #latino #ism before you put two and two together that we are all in this together and you have no right to question my loyalty, affinity and/or love of my black or brown people just because you don’t like the shape I came in.
So I won’t answer this prompt. The violence of my experience deserve more than one isolated blog post in dedication. Besides, hell, if this is the first you’ve heard of Latino Racism, you should just stop drinking the Koolaid and engage in some #machetebehavior instead