I don’t identify as LatinX. Why? Because a movement that is so focused on empowering and giving voice to a group of people is led by individuals who all look the same. Who looks nothing like me. Who makes no room for voices like mine. A group of people who are discriminatory towards Blacks here and in their parent's countries. So how do we expect the children of racists to be any different? The same LatinX kids who seem to be fighting for the cause on Instagram, but can’t fight for the same cause when their parents say something racist at the dinner table. When a young Mexican man told my homegirl Sandra at a journalism conference in LA: “Oh my god you’re so beautiful” with this incredulous look like he’s never seen a beautiful dark-skin woman. The individual compliment he thought he was giving was actually a broader insult. To the friends who will say to their light-skinned daughters that they can’t ever bring a Black man home, but will then go on social media and group chats saying “F the racist Police.” I’m not calling you out publicly because I’ve already done so privately.
To all the Latinos empathizing with kids and children in cages on the border, but can’t empathize with Black life.
To that cousin who pointed to his light skin and rubbed it and told my sister to not “Danar la raza/mess up the race” when mentioning the color of men, she should date.
To the aunt who told me to bring a girl home with “pelo bueno/good hair” because she didn’t want to mention color. What she really meant to say don't bring home. a Black girl.
To all the Dominicans who wave around a Platano like a badge of honor but want to shut down the conversation when you talk about the majority of Dominican cuisine being African.
To those nightclubs in DR that won’t let you in because of your skin.
To all the lighter-skinned Latinas who date Black men, but say the most problematic things about Black women such as: “Esa negras siempre estan brava/Black women are always upset about something.”
To the Latinos who have asked me who I was when entering a building in which I’ve lived in longer than they have lived in.
To all you privileged not darker than a brown paper bag Afro-Latinas with curly hair who have Afro-Latina on your bio for clout and exoticness purposes, but not because you actually identify as such or are doing the work.
To all the Latino men who will sleep with darker-skinned women over sexual stereotypes, but say: “I can’t bring you home.”
To all those girls who wear ‘Morena’ T-shirts, but don’t visibly look like one and refuse to believe the privilege they have.
When a Clauvid Daly wins the Miss Dominican Republic but instead of being celebrated she is called ugly, her nationality questioned, because she seemed more Haitian than Dominican (as if we loom that much different) rendering her a bad representation for the country. When Telemundo and Univision are reinforcing white supremacy by taking the position of law and order and highlighting the looting, but not the protests because they want to stay as close as possible to Whiteness and as far as possible from Blackness. You are the ones that after the 5:00pm and 11:00pm news put all of us in a position to hear some random racist shit from our older family members. Those calls that follow for hours that they make to their bored “vecina/neighbor” saying the same racist things. “Ay, pero lo negros estan acabando con todo/Oh the Blacks are destroying everything.”
When you hug Spain so much because you thirst to be so white and European but those same Spaniards treat Dominicans in Madrid like “The Help.” You’ll never be one of them as much as you yearn to be. When you can’t have a conversation with a Dominican about racism because you’re automatically a Haiti sympathizer for doing so. Networks that feature Afro-Latina actresses in novelas only as cooks, maids, or sexual objects. When radio stations like La Mega, a station many immigrants who move to the US listen to every day, peddles anti-blackness throughout their programming.
How do we expect anything to change? When they hit you with the “Moreno fino/refined black man” because they consider you to be one of them [Dominican] and not “one of them [black].” It’s almost a proud moment for them. As if they have a dark-skinned toy whom they feel fits their model of respectability aka Whiteness in their eyes. That goes for that one dark as midnight grandma and grandpa almost every Latino family has. These families love them to death. Cry like never before at their funerals, but cant illicit the same emotion for someone that looks just like those grandparents. The whole “blanco por dentro y negro por fuera/White on the inside and Black on the outside.”
When you put goals under the comments of Karol G, but when it comes to the racism they want to say “all lives matter” or “this is a human issue.” When those same Latino rappers who will never give credit to El General and steal Black American slang and street style, will not defend or stand up for them when they need it the most. They’ll never be willing to risk their $ and protest against the police’s actions despite dissing “la policia” in all their raps. How are the people who can afford to lose the most scared? How are the people who can’t afford to lose the ones the least scared? Don’t think because you brought a Black man or woman into your Latino household [whether they speak Spanish or not] that because your parents accept them that somehow that racism disappeared. Trust me, I’ve been there. When your grandma still greets you as “mi negro bello/my beautiful Black man” but never your cousins “mi blanco bello.” When your cousins in DR go to the beach at 9 am because they’ll get too dark at 3 pm.
When you have to apply for a job in the Caribbean with a picture on your resume. When Mabel Lara stopped straightening her hair as an anchor on Colombian TV and wore her hair curly and got comments that she was disgusting looking. When a light-skinned Dominican cop stopped me in a car in '07 with friends and said we fit the description. He then asked me if I had weed and I said “no” and he said, “just make this easy and give me the weed” and they didn’t find any because there wasn’t any. I proceeded to say “I’m Dominican just like you man” to find some level of connection to see if he’d leave us alone. And he responded: “No you’re not.” You see, racism isn’t just what happened to George Floyd. Racism isn’t just what happened to Marielle Franco. Those were the tragic ends of it. Racism is also what happened to Christian Cooper. Racism is what happened to Pena Gomez. And for those whose comments will disagree with this post, I’ll just block you like you block the blackness from your soul. RIP George Floyd.
Social media excerpts by Claudio E. Cabrera in anticipation of his forthcoming book “Y Tu Eres Dominicano/a”. Follow Claudio on Instagram at @claudio.e.cabrera