This piece pretty accurately sums up how freakin’ WEIRD racial identification in the Latin@ community is. It’s true that the racial lines that exist in other parts of the world, specifically North America, do not really fit so well with us because we are so racially mixed. My mom once while we were having a discussion about how we identify racially (and I mentioned Anti-Blackness), told me “While there is a lot of racism/anti-Blackness in Dominican culture and identity, I don’t feel comfortable exclusively identifying with my Blackness because I am not exclusively Black.” While I turned out looking Black and my experiences have been those of a Black/mixed girl (which is why I identify with Blackness), my sisters came out light/passing as non-Black POC, and they have thus had radically different experiences. BUT, given their sister and how many members of their family look more Black and they realize that Black ancestry is in their blood, culture, and identity, Anti-Blackness has still had an effect in their lives.

That said, there has to be a decolonizing of our identity and a realistic look at privilege, race, and colorism. The fact of it is, many “light-passing” Latin@s/Hispanic folk are just WHITE Latin@s, because they are of either exclusively or majority (like less than a quarter) European ancestry. They’d be seen as such in their countries of origin. So, it does not surprise me that politically and socially, they are more “adjusted” to the majority culture, affluent, and will identify with statist, supremacist, traditionalist values, because those benefit them the most. For the passing Latin@s it is a matter of them getting socialized into it despite them not even being white (because still a huge aspect of Latin@ culture is “purifying the race” and moving up the caste system), and for white Latin@s, well, they’re white.

Yes, even white Latin@s experience anti-Latin@/racist sentiments here, but that’s because of the othering of Spanish because it is associated with Brown an Black Latin@ folk when the language comes from a damn European country (it’s a colonialist tongue!). It’s more xenophobia at that point, and they can easily shake it if they learn English, while someone like me who’s main language is English and was born here still gets asked “Where are you from REALLY” all the time BECAUSE OF COLORISM AND ANTI-BLACKNESS AND RACISM.

White and Passing Latin@s both experience and enjoy almost all the privileges of whiteness, while their non-passing/darker/full Native and Black community members do not. So, when voraciously anti-Native, Anti-Black anti-Latin@ sentiments come to the foreground, we cannot default to some pan-Latin@ identity and not speak to the problems for what they truly are-colonialism, whiteness, supremacy, neoliberalism, anti-Blackness and anti-Nativeness. When we’re being tokenized and having only the palest, richest, most assimilated and adjusted Spanish looking, Spanish speaking of us representing us, we’ve got a huge problem. Passing Latin@s have to respect that, even if they are of color and have a right to identify as such, they are experiencing much less LESS or a different kind of racism than their not-passing/more or full Black or Native Latin@ brothers, and white Latin@s just have to stay in their lane and exit this conversation completely because they’re the colonizers. They HAVE NO place in these discussions.