(Black PR Wire) Being Black and Latino in this country is something that, beyond belonging to the biggest two minorities in the United States, is a challenge. But at the same time, it is an interesting topic which invites us to the discussion how we should call things by their name correctly.
For years there has been a discussion of how we should fill out specific documents, like job applications, for example, that ask us to choose our ethnicity: white, black, Hispanic or Latino, non-Hispanic, Caucasian, etc. But, what category should Black Hispanics or Black Latinos choose?
First of all, the Hispanic and Latino terms are used to describe the same; however, both classifications have differences. The term Hispanic refers to Hispania or the Iberian Peninsula, today is known as Spain, Portugal, Andorra, and Gibraltar territory. Nowadays we use Hispanic to describe every person from a native Spanish-speaking country, including Spain.
On the other hand, Latino refers to those people who speak a language derived from Latin in Latin America, including Brazilians, because Portuguese is derived from Latin as well. A Latino is a native Spanish speaker from countries in South America, Central America, and the Caribbean. Someone can be Hispanic and Latino, but also just Hispanic (Spanish), or just Latino (Brazilian).
Having cleared this point, let's get into the skin color and how the society has been classifying us for centuries. We live in a mixed world and, in some way, we all are a mixture of races which determines how we are, our skin color, physical features and hair type.
Within many mixtures of races, there is another category that has been ignored and deserves a spot in the list: Afro-Latinos. According to the 2010 Census, this group made up 3 percent of the 53 million registered Latinos in the United States, and we know that this population has been growing each year. The history talks about the transfer of many African slaves to America, of which in many of those countries there are descendants. Another group of African slaves arrived in the United States as well. Countries such as Brazil, Colombia, Mexico, Peru, Venezuela, Panama, Cuba, Dominican Republic and Puerto Rico are some of the largest Afro-Latino population.
There are many Black Hispanics and Latin people who grew up in the United States who do not recognize their Afro-Latin heritage. Unfortunately, it is a reality that there is also racism among Latinos as well. Somebody with a brown or lighter skin color, even if they have afro hair, they are classified as whites. They are probably ashamed to admit that they are part of two minorities: one has been linked with slavery and prejudice; and the other one, unfortunately, due to some political opinions and media, it has been in disadvantage.
We live in a changing world, where education and work conditions have improved and where there are more rights for all regardless the race, although there are still barriers that we have to defeat and things to learn in order to make this a better society. In the meantime, celebrate the Hispanic heritage with those people who are not ashamed to be African descendants and Latinos. They just celebrate with pride their multicultural heritage. Happy Hispanic Heritage Month!