Even Some Latinos Seem To Misunderstand These Facts About Ourselves

Latinos. People generally still have, like, little to no clue who we are. And a lot of it is understandable: We’re diverse af! That said, many of the misconceptions about us end up being counterproductive, not to mention ignorant.

So, in that spirit, here are some things that need to be cleared up about us as a group:

1. Latinos can be of any race.

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A Japanese Peruvian, a black/Chinese Cuban, a Guatemalan with Mayan roots, and a Lebanese-Mexican-American are all equally Latino, if they choose to identify as such! We’re a worldwide phenomenon, babies.

2. Latinos can belong to any religion, or none at all.

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Catholicism is often closely associated with Latinidad, and it’s true that many of us are because of Spanish and Portuguese influence across Latin America. But we also have ages-old ties to Judaism, Islam and African religions, and many Latinos are turning to Evangelical Christianity. You can be Buddhist or atheist and retain your ~Latinosity~ just fine.

3. You don’t have to speak Spanish to be Latino!

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Es verdad.

4. …Although plenty of us feel pressure to.

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It’s an outward way of showing a connection to the larger group, even if there are many across Latin America who have never spoken Spanish at all, like indigenous folks and Brazilians.

5. Yes, Brazilians can indeed be Latino.

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Não se esqueça!

6. Latinx is a newer, gender-inclusive alternative to “Latino/a.”

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It’s easier than writing “Latino/a” and also works to include people who might not conform to either gender. (And it’s pronounced “Latinex,” in case you were wondering!)

7. Several Caribbean islands are indeed part of Latin America.

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Cubans, Dominicans and Puerto Ricans are part of the Latino family. And often proudly so.

8. In fact, Latinos can live anywhere!

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People, you know, move, bringing their cultural ties with them. It’s kind of fantastic.

9. Not everyone who can be considered Latino chooses to use that term.

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And that’s fine. Some people who live or have roots in Latin America don’t have any ties to Spain, some simply don’t feel that so many different types of people from many places need to be lumped together based on a common colonial history. And that’s fine. Let people be.

10. Racism and colorism occur among Latinos, too.

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It’s a global problem, and unfortunately that doesn’t exclude Latinos.

11. But Latinos aren’t a monolith. And this is not a contest.

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We’re not all old-fashioned when it comes to sex or marriage. We’re not all homophobic. Not every Latino is machista, even though machismo is a pervasive problem. We don’t all vote the same way or for the same political party. We’re a group made up of individuals. And we need others to understand that, as well as one another.

READ: What You Go Through When You’re Not The “Ideal” Curvy Latina

What other misconceptions about Latinos have you encountered? Vent away. 

Notice any needed corrections? Please email us at corrections@wearemitu.com

This Anglo Family Posed the Question: ‘Can We Check ‘Hispanic’ On Our Son’s College Applications Because His Egg Donor is Latino?’

Things That Matter

This Anglo Family Posed the Question: ‘Can We Check ‘Hispanic’ On Our Son’s College Applications Because His Egg Donor is Latino?’

via Christian Glatz/Public Domain

Earlier this month, The New York Times published an advice article that posed an interesting question: What constitutes a Latino identity?

The question stemmed from another question that some parents posed to the Times ethics expert: “My child’s egg donor is Latin American. Does that make him Latino?”

The question was:

“I am the parent of a child who was conceived via in vitro fertilization and surrogacy using the sperm of a Caucasian man and a donor egg from someone who is half Colombian and half Central American. My spouse and I are professionals and both Caucasian, so (knock on wood) our son will most likely not encounter financial hardships. May we in good conscience check ‘Latino/Hispanic’ on his college application? We don’t need to decide this for many years, but it has been a topic of discussion, and we would love to hear your reasoning.”

The question is a complicated one. And in this case, there may be no right or wrong answers. The Times‘ ethics expert, Kwame Anthony Appiah, shares his opinion that there are many factors that constitute a Latino identity.

“Being Latino, clearly, is not a matter of genetics,” said Appiah. “It’s a matter both of how you identify yourself and of how others identify you.”

And yes, we would think anyone would agree with that. Latinos come in all shades, races, religions, and regions. But these unnamed parents’ question sparks a larger question: is a Latino identity born into, or is constructed?

Appiah continues: “Your son may or may not identify as Hispanic/Latino when the time comes, depending on a host of factors, from peer groups to pigmentation. If he does, it won’t be wrong to say so.”

Appiah points out that these parents are already thinking about how they can use their child’s identity to their advantage.

Reading this advice column, you can’t help but feel a little uncomfortable. These non-Latino, Anglo parents are already thinking of their Latino child’s college application advantages. And the child isn’t even born yet.

As these unnamed parents say, they are both “professionals” and Caucasian. They think their child “will most likely not encounter financial hardships” like many people of color do.

“You’re presumably thinking that, in college applications, being identified as Hispanic/Latino will give him some advantage,” wrote Appiah, “and that if he hasn’t experienced discrimination or borne the burdens of the identity…this might be unfair.”

He continued: “In that situation, he’d certainly be getting advantages designed for people with a different set of experiences than his. Deliberately engineering such an outcome would be wrong.”

Twitter user seemed to be divided on the question. One Twitter user wrote: “Your child is therefore half Hispanic.. why would you deny them half their heritage? That’s the real question…”.

Another, seemingly frustrated with the parents, wrote: “It’s probably a good idea to ask important questions that will affect your child’s sense of identity BEFORE deciding to proceed with egg donation.”

One thing’s for certain: questions like this are going become more and more common as genetic technology continues to both advance and become more commonly used.

Notice any needed corrections? Please email us at corrections@wearemitu.com

A Human Rights Attorney Is Being Accused Of Falsely Posing As A Latina During Her Career


A Human Rights Attorney Is Being Accused Of Falsely Posing As A Latina During Her Career

Natasha Lycia Ora Bannan is the outgoing president of the National Lawyers Guild and her departure has taken a sudden turn. After years as an attorney, many are now accusing the attorney of posing as a Latina.

Natasha Lycia Ora Bannan is facing mounting scrutiny and backlash for her claims that she is Latina.

According to a post on Prism, Bannan has a history of claiming her Latinidad. The post points out several interviews the attorney has given over the years with different publications where she explicitly claims that she is part of the Latino community. In one YouTube video with ¡Voice Latina!, Bannan explicitly says that “as a woman, as an individual, as a Latina” she is inspired to do the work she does because of her hero Oscar López Rivera.

People are calling on others to do better about who they choose to represent various communities.

Representation matters, especially when it comes to the issues that are facing our various communities. It is important to make sure that the representation reflects those being represented. According to Prism, Bannan has been pushing a narrative that she is of Puerto Rican and Colombian heritage for over a decade. She has even spoken out as a Puerto Rican woman that is fighting for the island’s statehood.

There are multiple media moments when Bannan claimed Latino heritage, according to reports.

Prism points to an interview conducted in 2007 where she allegedly told “El Diario” that her heritage was “a little bit Spanish, a little bit Colombian, and a Sephardic Jew.”

“I am racially white, and have always said that. However my cultural identity was formed as a result of my family, both chosen and chosen for me, and that has always been Latinx,” Bannan wrote on Facebook Monday following the story. “My identity is my most authentic expression of who I am and how I pay honor to the people who have formed me since I was a child.”

The story is garnering so much attention because of Hilaria Baldwin and her claims of being Spanish.

Baldwin misled people into believing that she was of Spanish descent when she was a white woman born in Boston. Prism was able to decipher that Bannan is a white woman born in Georgia whose family immigrated from Ireland, Italy, and Russia.

READ: Why Do People Care If Hilaria Baldwin’s Spanish Accent Is Fake Or Not, Anyway?

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