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.
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!