Culture

Latinidad Is Being Cancelled By Afro And Indigenous People Who Do Not See Themselves Represented

While we’re in the middle of Hispanic Heritage Month, it’s important to note how the outdated term “Latinidad” excludes a large portion of the Latino community. We’re talking about the existence of indigenous and Black Latinos. The “Hispanic” label specifically includes those from Spain, celebrating Hispanic Heritage Month feels completely weird if you’re Afro or indigenous. 

There’s been more of an uproar recently between Hispanic, Latinos, and Afro-Latinos after musical artist Rosalia got awards and praise for her music as a Latin artist. The thing is that she isn’t Latina, she’s Spanish. That entire debacle was just another nail in the coffin that proves how white-washed our society is, and it’s not just coming from Caucasians but Latinos as well. 

People on social media are using the hashtag #LatinidadIsCancelled to discuss anti-Blackness in the Latino community. Not to mention, how society, in general, discriminates against Black Latinos when referring to Latinos as a whole demographic.

Journalist Felice León did a brilliant segment for The Root titled, “Black and Indigenous Millennials Are Cancelling Latinidad” in which she discusses how Black Latinos are not included under the Latinidad umbrella.

“Latinidad just really just centers on the shared history and shared culture, but doesn’t necessarily, like, delve into all of those multifaceted identities,” writer Janel Martinez told León and added she’s straying from the term Latinidad. “And for me, Latinidad ultimately serves white cis-gendered, straight, wealthy men.” Martinez continued, “I am none of those things, so for me, I’m at the margins of this term.”

While we know Latinos are already excluded from significantly from TV and film, the ones that are visible are mostly white Latinos. 

Credit: @TheRoot / Twitter

You ever noticed how the most popular Latino celebs are light-skinned? We’re talking Jennifer Lopez, Camila Cabello, Gina Rodriguez, America Ferrera, Rosalia and that’s just when referring to the women.

The topic of canceling Latinidad shows how racist our own people are against Black Latinos. 

Credit: @EnLatinidad / Twitter

Ever notice how some Latinos praise a baby that is born with light skin and blue eyes? Or how they object to someone dating a Black man? It is a sentiment that has been part of the Latino community for a very long time.

Afro-Latinos face so much discrimination because of their ancestors, their dark skin, and their hair. 

Credit: @juni0r973 / Twitter

How can a group of Latinos fit nicely and perfectly under the Latinidad family if some people there clearly don’t want to include Black Latinos? It’s kind of sad how light-skinned Latinos favor their whiteness as superiority. Black is beautiful. When will the Latino community finally realize that? Thanks to the inclusion of Black Latinos in the media, we’re able to see the representation even though it’s still quite limited.

The exclusion of Black Latinos could also be seen in this year’s Latin Grammy nominations, which excluded a lot of reggaeton artists. 

Credit: @rosangelica4u / Twitter

Another hashtag making the rounds on the internet included #SinReggaetonNoHayLatinGrammy after several artists spoke out against the Grammy’s exclusion of reggaeton artists. The most nominations this year went to two Spanish artists, Rosalia and Alejandro Sanz

While we know some Latinos are racist against their own people, it’s important to know that colonized societies have been white-washed and that cycle continues to this day. 

Credit: @themermacorn / Twitter

How do we break a cycle of racism against our own people? By educating ourselves about the history of our diaspora, and not by closing our eyes to the reality of colonization. We’re not perfect people, but we can learn to be more inclusive by realizing our own hate and blindness. The blatant and longstanding practice of ignoring the Afro and indigenous identities within the Latino community has justifiably left so many people done with Latinidad.

It’s funny how Rosalia was beloved from day one until she starting owning her Latinidad on a public stage. 

Credit: @elliottraylassi / Twitter

During her acceptance speech at this year’s MTV VMAs, Rosalia said, “Wow. I wasn’t expecting this, honestly. Thank you, because it’s such an incredible honor. I come from Barcelona. I’m so happy to be here representing where I come from and representing my culture. … Thank you for allowing me to perform tonight singing in Spanish.”

So if she said she’s representing where she came from, which is Spain, she is certainly not Latina so why is she cradled into that group so openly?

As one person put it nicely on Twitter, @gacd86 writes, “Latinidad isn’t just for white Latinos though. Mestizos participate in the normalization of anti-blackness and the benefit of the exploitation of indigenous communities.” The rampant and dangerous anti-Blackness in the Latino community needs to stop now.

Happy Hispanic Heritage Month.

READ: Spain Has Colonized The 2019 Latin Grammys And Latino Twitter Has Some Serious Thoughts

Latinos Know How To Celebrate The Holidays, But Some Of The Traditions Might Be Too Weird For Gringos

Culture

Latinos Know How To Celebrate The Holidays, But Some Of The Traditions Might Be Too Weird For Gringos

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Navidad for Latino families is a very different affair to Christmas in Anglo culture. For once, the religious aspect is much more prevalent, as Catholicism is the predominant belief and the birth of Jesus is possibly the most important date of the year (save, perhaps, the death of said religious figure in Semana Santa). Navidad among Latinos both in the United States and throughout Latin America is full of quirky family traditions that both make it more solemn and more fun. Some of these traditions are of course heritage from the Spanish colonial years,  but each country and even each family has put their own little twist. 

New Year’s Eve is also a very lively celebration that includes some strange and fun mumbo jumbo that is totally normal for many of us but might be a bit too peculiar for others. 

So here are some traditions that might get your gringo Xmas or New Year’s date running out the door!

Actually nothing says holiday season in a Latino family like the Guadalupe-Reyes marathon.

Credit: Screenshot. KeepCalmAndPosters.com

They say honesty is the best policy, right? Well, this isn’t an actual sporting event but the official start of the holiday season. The “marathon” is an eating and drinking fest that runs from the day of the Virgin of Guadalupe in December 12 until January 6, the day of the Reyes Magos or Three Wise Men. Get your stomach and your liver ready. En sus marcas, listos, fuera…  

When all the familias bring their Baby Jesus figurine and rock them all together as if they were real babies.

Credit: Digital Post

Let’s not forget the massive one that recently went viral in Mexico…

Also dressing Baby Jesus in all sorts of outlandish costumes.

Credit: @EldeForma / Giphy

Sorry (not sorry!) this can be a bit sacrilegious for some, but this gif was just too good not to share.  

Well, this is actually the sort of costume they put on Baby Jesus.

Credit: Mercado Libre

Abuelitas all over Mexico flood markets to find the best dress maker for their Baby Jesus. There is a non-spoken rivalry among households that abuelitas settle by making Baby Jesus look like a tiny Liberace (sorry, but it is true!). 

Sing the traditional Posada… or more like mumble the words hoping that the chismosos de la familia don’t figure it out.

Credit: Yucatan Holidays

The traditional posada is a song where the guests are split into two groups. One remains inside the house while the other braces the cold and stays outside. One group is supposed to represent Mary and Joseph asking to be let in, the other group takes the place of the homeowners who are not too sure to let strangers in. There is a back and forth and finally the strangers are let in and everyone sings “Entren santos peregrinos”. We are sure that half the party is mumbling the words. Hey, they even got some Latin! 

Now it is New Year’s Eve and you better wear your chones rojos.

Credit: Ali Express

Legend goes that if you want to enjoy a good sex life in the coming year, you need to wear red underwear to welcome the coming calendar. Supermarkets and department stores in Latin America are bursting with red men’s underpants and women’s lingerie. Rest assured if you bring a gringo date to the New Year’s fiesta, your primos will make sure they feel uncomfortable as hell my asking them whether they are wearing chones rojos or not! Awkward alert!

And you better be ready to haul those empty suitcases around the block at the strike of midnight!

We kid you not. Wanna have plenty of travelling in the coming year? Well, get your empty suitcases ready and take a walk around the block with them. If you think about a destination then your trip might come true. Wanna have a sexy escapade? Wear your red underwear while dragging the luggage! Makes all the sense in the world, right? Just be careful not to wake up the neighbours… come to think about it chances are they are dragging their empty maletas as well. 

Swipe away the bad vibes! Afuera lo malo, que venga lo bueno!

Every year has its ups and downs. So whether you like it or not there is some bad juju that has accumulated in your household. You clearly wanna start the year afresh and the only way to do this is to swipe off las malas vibras. Just go to the entrance of your house, pour some water on the floor and expel it to the outside world! Now, we don’t know if this is metaphysically effective or not, but it sure is cathartic.  

Ritchie Torres Is Running For Congress To Give His Community The Representation It Deserves

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Ritchie Torres Is Running For Congress To Give His Community The Representation It Deserves

ritchietorresny15 / Instagram

Politics is getting particularly young, and we like it. From Rep. Alexandria Ocasio Cortez to State Senator Alessandra Biaggi to Assemblywoman Yuh-Line Niou to legislator Caleb Hanna, all of these young politicians are bringing a breath of fresh air to their policies and to the political discourse. Now, there’s another name to include in the list that is breaking barriers in more ways than one.

Meet 31-year-old Bronx Council Member Ritchie Torres who is running for Congress. If he wins his next year, he will be the first openly gay black or Latino member of Congress.

Credit: ritchietorresny15 / Instagram

Do not think for a second that Torres, while young, is new to the game. Born and raised in the Bronx, Torress has been in the political world since 2013, bringing change on a local level but making a considerable impact. Currently, he is the chair of the Committee on Public Housing and is a deputy majority leader. He is also the chair of the Oversight and Investigations Committee. 

Next year, Torres and 12 others will seek to replace Rep. José Serrano in New York’s 15th Congressional District. His competition includes Assembly Member Michael Blake, Council Member Ydanis Rodríguez, former New York City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito, and Tomas Ramos, among others, Buzzfeed reports. But he is a frontrunner in the campaign, and here’s why. 

While Torres is running against several other Latino politicians, the Congressional Hispanic Caucus has officially announced they are officially endorsing him and helping to fund his campaign.

Credit: ritchietorresny15 / Instagram

“In a crowded field, Torres has been able to build a strong and diverse coalition of support from labor groups, LGBTQ groups, and many of his own colleagues on the city council,” Rep. Tony Cárdenas, chair of BOLD PAC, told BuzzFeed News in a statement. “He knows the issues that keep Bronx families up at night — not just from his time as a city council member — but from growing up in the Bronx and being raised by a single mother. He’s proven to be the stand-out Latino candidate in this field, and BOLD PAC is proud to put our full support behind his campaign to bring home a victory next November.”

Of this endorsement, Torres tweeted, “Honored to earn the endorsement @BOLDDems which has been at the forefront of strengthening Latinx representation in Congress. The backing of @BOLDDems is a game-changer in the #SouthBronx, which is home to one of the highest Latinx populations in the US.”

The ambitious politician is half Puerto Rican and half Black.

Credit: ritchietorresny15 / Instagram

“I was raised by a single mother who had to raise three children on minimum wage, and I lived in conditions of mold and vermin, lead and leaks,” Torres said in his campaign video. “I remember asking myself, why would the city spend $100 million on a golf course, rather than on the homes of struggling New Yorkers like my mother. I knew at that moment that I had to fight for people like me.” 

Here he explains further why he chose to become a lawmaker and serve his community in the Bronx.

Credit: ritchietorresny15 / Instagram

“As a product of public housing, public schools, and public hospitals, I had a dream of fighting for my community in the hopes of building a better Bronx,” he said on his website. “At 25, against all odds, I became the youngest elected official in New York City, and the first openly LGBT elected official from the Bronx. I have represented Bronx communities on the New York City Council, and now I’m running to represent New York’s 15th Congressional District – because the Bronx needs one of our own to fight for us in Washington.”

His motto is: “If you do nothing, nothing will change.” 

Credit: ritchietorresny15 / Instagram

Torres is inspiring significant change already. Several of his staff employees are young people of color. One of the young Latinos that work for Torres said in a video published by the New Yorker that most kids that are from the Bronx work hard to leave the area. He said he remains there to give back to the community, which is why he works for Torres. 

Fun fact: he was named Ritchie after you guessed it: Ritchie Valens.

According to a 2015 interview in Newsweek, Torres said his mother wanted to name him Ritchie after she watched “La Bamba.” Well, that does it. He’s got our vote.

READ: This Is How Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez Plans To Tackle Poverty In The US