Article by Daniela Ramirez
The conversation of anti-blackness needs to be extended to the non-black people of color who perpetuate it. Such is the case as this is not a black-white issue: we people of color are also at fault for the persistence of anti-blackness in our society. We in particular, the Latinx community, need to acknowledge and tackle this issue head-on.
Anti-blackness in the Latinx community is a topic that hasn’t been shone upon in the media. Just because Jordan Peele didn’t include a racist Latinx character in Get Out does not mean we are off the hook. Peele had made an example of pointing out the anti-black notions of the Asian and white community, but this does not necessarily exclude us Latinx people. Though the Latinx community is a marginalized group as well, we all are perpetrators of anti-blackness. Accordingly so, traces of anti-blackness can either be incredibly obvious or discreet within the community, which is why we, the Latinx community, must stay aware of the signs and combat them. Anti-blackness is an issue that has been ingrained in the Latinx community for an incredibly long time. We may even witness famous Latinx individuals make anti-black comments or actions.
Quite recently, George Lopez received criticism over his reaction towards a woman in the audience of one of his stand-up shows. He made a joke about Latinx families, stating, “There’s still two rules in the f**king Latino family, don’t marry someone black and don’t park in front of our house.” A woman in the crowd expressed her distaste at the joke to which Lopez responded that she should leave. Despite Lopez being condemned for making anti-black jokes, what he stated is a sad reality for many Latinx people. We live in a devastating time in which the most casual signs of anti-blackness have become second nature to us and practically unnoticeable to those who perpetuate it.
Apart from anti-blackness rampant in the Latinx community, colorism also plays a large role in societal rules of the Latinx community. Such can be seen in the implications of the policy that the Dominican Republic enacted in 2013 that was directed towards Haitian-Dominicans. Dominican law took away the citizenship of thousands of Haitian-Dominicans based on their Haitian ancestry. This cultural cleansing is a violation of the human rights of many Haitian-Dominican who were forced to leave the only country they knew. Of the many who spoke out against the deportation policy of the Dominican Republic was critically-acclaimed author Junot Diaz, who is Dominican. Consequently, he was criticized by the Dominican government when he spoke out against the citizenship policy with Haitian-American author Edwidge Danticat. Diaz compared what the policy insinuated to Nazi Germany yet also slammed the public for not doing much about it.
It may be so difficult for Latinx people to talk about racism in the community because it happens right next to us every day. I myself have witnessed relatives make anti-black comments, and now is the moment that I stop watching idly by. Now is the moment that we confront those close to us for what they say or do. If you have someone who you love or respect that is clearly anti-black, you have every right to try to explain to them why their actions or words may be offensive. Educate your peers, family members, friends, and others who you see who may be perpetuating damaging attitudes towards the black community. We must acknowledge the flaws of our ways so we can fight together. It’s not all about us and we have to realize that if we really want to help and stand in solidarity for the black people in our communities.