The Afro-Spanish Alliance: What I’m Writing Now

So, these colonial Spanish Castas paintings didn't help, or rather they did help give the Spanish speaking world a social hierarchy based on color.

Hi Meltingpot Readers,

So, most of you know that I’m knee deep in the research for my new book, Same Family, Different Colors. Currently I am at work on the chapter focusing on Latino families and their issues with colorism, and let me just say I feel like I’ve fallen down a Kinky Gazpacho wormhole like no other. It’s fascinating how far back the Afro-Spanish alliance stretches into the past, here in the United States, in the Caribbean, in Europe and of course, Africa. But despite the long history of cultural clashes, connections and co-opting, Black and Spanish remain unsettled in the Latino community.

So, these colonial Spanish Castas paintings didn't help, or rather they did help give the Spanish speaking world a social hierarchy based on color.
So, these colonial Spanish Castas paintings didn’t help, or rather they did help give the Spanish speaking world a social hierarchy based on color.
Perhaps you read about the Univision television host, Rodner Figueroa, who recently compared First Lady, Michelle Obama to a cast member of the Planet of the Apes? Or maybe you’ve heard about the horrific treatment of Haitians in the Dominican Republic of late? Or maybe you, like me, just happened to notice that almost every famous Latina beauty in the Untied States is on the fair side of brown (see, Jennifer Lopez, Salma Hayek, Cameron Diaz as examples). This rejection of Blackness runs deep and wide and I’m trying to find out why. Of course there’s colonial Spain to blame, global White supremacy and good old-fashioned American racism, but still it seems like an unusual amount of effort is put forth in the Latino community to deny the Black behind the ears/the Black abuela in the closet/ and all of the other African family secrets everyone seems to have. Where is the love, I wonder? (Part of my research involves finding that Black love/Black pride, I hope.)

Make no mistake, Latinos in the United States are no more color struck than anybody else, if one could even quantify that. I just happen to be fixated on them right now because that’s where I am in my research journey. Not to mention, as a member of my own personal Afro-Spanish alliance, raising three Afro-Spanish kids, the research hits very close to home. So, that’s where I am. And that’s why I’ve been listening to this Concha Buika song on repeat. It gives me hope. Enjoy and you’re welcome.

P.S. If any of you dear readers identify as Latino and were raised /or are in a nuclear family where family members had/have different shades of skin and you’d like to share your story, whether there were/are issues or not, please send me an email to MyAmericanMeltingpot@gmail.com with Latino Story in the subject line. Thanks!

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2 thoughts on “The Afro-Spanish Alliance: What I’m Writing Now

  1. Lise

    Hola Lori,

    I am currently in Spain and have been her for about 6 months. I have traveled all over the world, Africa, Asia, South America, but have never encountered the kind of racism, ignorance, and insularity, as I have in Spain.
    I am in AA and believe me, it has been very difficult living here. Where do you think South Americans and other Latinos received the indoctrination that Black is bad? The motherland, Spain.
    I read your book, Kinky Gazpacho, but thought there would have been some advancement of mentality in Spain as the years passed, but years do not equate to progression. Years equate solely to time.
    Remember, Latinos were colonized and indoctrinated by Spain for a very long time. Most of the countries in South America have not had a sort of racial revolution, an emergence of pride of their racial roots. It’s sad, but true.
    Good luck with your book. Please light a candle for my remaining months in Spain.:)

    1. Ms. Meltingpot

      Hi Lise,

      Thanks for sharing your story and situation. It saddens me greatly to hear that your time in Spain has been so dismal. And I’m lighting that candle and smh. What part of Span are you in and what are you doing there? I hope you can find some pleasure amidst the pain.

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