Things That Matter

People Are Using Social Media to Highlight Racism On The Islands

The world is paying attention to racism in the world right now. The Black Lives Matter movement has gone international and people are starting to call out racism everywhere they see it. This means shining a light on racism on social media to really highlight the issue.

Afro-Caribbean people are using #AquíNoExisteElRacismoPero and #PeroNoSomosRacists to highlight racism.

Social media users are sharing their experiences with racism on the Caribbean islands and the hashtags speak volumes. The hashtags translate to #ButWeAreNotRacists and #ThereIsNoRacismHereBut are being used to highlight racism in the Dominican Republic and Puerto Rico.

There is an understood in the Latino community that racism runs deep but it is often ignored. Culturally, it has plagued the Latino community for generations with microaggressions about hair and “bettering the race.” It is something that we need to address and these hashtags are calling it out.

Some Dominicans are highlighting the microaggressions that have existed for as long as time.

Microaggressions are some of the most common and annoying moments of racism around. They are little but when there are enough they really add up fast. They are all around and are said so often that people often ignore them when they are said. “Pelo malo” one of the most common examples of racist microaggressions in the Latino community. It is always Afro-Latinos who have “pelo malo.”

The hair microaggressions are some of the earliest.

Twitter users are coming forward with stories of having their hair relaxed and chemically treated to be “better.” The focus on Euro-centric beauty within the Afro-Latino community is toxic and instilling it in children so young is a traumatic and hurtful experience.

Some people have been able to use the experience to empower themselves.

People who can take a moment like this ad grow from it are the kind of people you want to know. You go with your self-acceptance and love. There is nothing more beautiful than being yourself and learning to love all of you is a journey so many have to make.

There are so many microaggressions that have become far to familiar in our community and we have to fight against them.

Cosas que escuché en mi entorno mientras crecía :"En nuestra familia no hay negros""Mijito tienes que mejorar la raza…

Posted by Stefano Navarro on Wednesday, June 3, 2020

Things I heard in my surroundings growing up:
“There are no black in our family.”
“Mijito you have to improve the race.”
“Marry a white girl.”
“You’re not black, you’re tricky, don’t say that again.”
“I’m not black, I’m brunette.”
“You mean the black I was selling….”
“You work like black.”
“You sweat like black.”
“Your kids came out happily white.”
“You smell like black.”
#PeroNoSomosRacistas

READ: 8 Racist Habits Latinos Seriously Need To Drop

Puerto Rico Has Declared A State Of Emergency And Left Residents Without Access To Running Water

Things That Matter

Puerto Rico Has Declared A State Of Emergency And Left Residents Without Access To Running Water

Joe Raedle / Getty Images

Another crisis is unfolding on the island of Puerto Rico, as a severe drought grips the territory and forces the government to take drastic measures. After a series of major earthquakes and hurricanes, Puerto Rico is now suffering through one of its worst droughts in history.

Water is scarce. And the government is implementing rationing measures that will leave hundreds of thousands of residents without regular access to running water.

Gov. Wanda Vazquez has announced a state of emergency as the government begins rationing water.

Puerto Rico is once again in the headlines for an ongoing crisis that is affecting hundreds of thousands of island residents. On Monday, Puerto Rico’s governor declared a state of emergency as a worsening drought creeps across the territory.

Starting July 2, nearly 140,000 customers, including some in the capital of San Juan, will be without water for 24 hours every other day as part of strict rationing measures. Puerto Rico’s utilities company urged people to not excessively stockpile water because it would worsen the situation, and officials asked that everyone use masks and maintain social distancing if they seek water from one of 23 water trucks set up across the island.

“We’re asking people to please use moderation,” said Doriel Pagán, executive director of Puerto Rico’s Water and Sewer Authority, adding that she could not say how long the rationing measures will last.

The order signed also prohibits certain activities in most municipalities including watering gardens during daylight hours, filling pools and using a hose or non-recycled water to wash cars. Those caught face fines ranging from $250 for residents to $2,500 for industries for a first violation.

Puerto Rico is experiencing a drought ranging from moderate to severe in some parts of the territory.

Credit: Joe Raedle / Getty Images

According to the U.S. Drought Monitor, as of last week more than 26% of the island is experiencing a severe drought and another 60% is under a moderate drought. Water rationing measures affecting more than 16,000 clients were imposed this month in some communities in the island’s northeast region.

The island’s access to water is complicated by the fact that many residents rely on a system of reservoirs in Puerto Rico for water. However, due to budget constraints, several have not been dredged for years, leaving sediment to collect and allowing the excess loss of water. 

Aside from drought, the island is still recovering from a pair of deadly earthquakes and Hurricane Maria.

Credit: Eric Rojas / Getty Images

Over the last few years, Puerto Rico has suffered a one-two punch that has left much of the island’s infrastructure in shambles. In fact, Vasquez cited the lasting impacts of the December and January earthquakes and the coronavirus pandemic as exacerbating the water crisis.

The current water crisis has threatened the safety and wellbeing of Puerto Ricans. The earthquakes also disproportionately impacted the southern region where the drought is most severe. Vázquez also extended the coronavirus curfew for the whole island, which began in March, for three more weeks, making it the longest continuous curfew in the United States so far.

‘Ken’ and ‘Karen’ Strike Again: White Couple Blocks Latino Man From His Own Apartment Building

Things That Matter

‘Ken’ and ‘Karen’ Strike Again: White Couple Blocks Latino Man From His Own Apartment Building

SOMA Residences

Another day and another white person – or in this case, a white couple – have terrorized a person of color and gone viral in the process. Many are calling this white couple ‘Ken’ and ‘Karen’ after video shows them blocking a Latino man from entering his own apartment complex.

Michael Barajas, the Mexican-American man who the couple targeted, filmed the incident just as the couple became violent and threatened him with further violence.

The encounter is just the latest after a barrage of similar instances of racial profiling that have continued over the backdrop of anti-racism protests. 

A now viral video shows a white couple blocking a Mexican-American man from entering his own apartment complex.

Michael Barajas was pulling into his apartment complex’s garage in San Francisco, when he became the latest victim of a ‘Karen’ and ‘Ken.’ He had just returned home from grocery shopping and used his key fob to open the building’s garage door when suddenly a white SUV pulled in ahead of him and refused to move forward.

The couple in the white SUV claimed Barajas was trespassing, called him a criminal and threatened to call the police.

“That’s fine. Call the cops. Why are you even calling the cops about, Karen?” the video shows Barajas responding.

In an Instagram post, Barajas said the white man “thought I was trying to tailgate them to break in and rob them.” One of Barajas’ neighbors, who is also white, was outside smoking and intervened in the situation. The driver then got out of a white SUV with Florida plates, beat the neighbor up, “and threatened to shoot us if we didn’t leave,” said Barajas.

Barajas says he started filming the incident once the couple got aggressive and threatening.

Barajas, 28, told NBC’s Bay Area affiliate KNTV that the situation kept escalating and turned dramatic when the white man in the car got aggressive, which prompted him to start recording.

“Given the current political climate, and certainly I’m Mexican American, and that rhetoric of us being criminals, it just hit hard, it hit close to home,” Barajas told KNTV.

After several minutes, a bystander who also lives in the apartment complex, intervened. “Dude, pull into your space or go!” the bystander said.

The man, who has since been identified as William Beasley, then exits the SUV from the passenger side, confronts the person who hit his car and reportedly assaults him by knocking him to the ground, according to ABC7 News

According to Barajas, the woman in the SUV then got out to try and coax Beasley back into the car. She also allegedly tried to pay Barajas and the neighbor (who had been assaulted) to not call the cops or file charges.

Since the video’s release, the white man – William Beasley – has been fired from his tech job.

Barajas shared the video of the incident to his Instagram, where it has been seen more than 150,000 times.

Since the video was uploaded, APEX Systems, where Beasley was an employee, has fired him after conducting an internal review of the incident. In a brief statement, they said they would not “tolerate violent or racist behavior of any kind.”

And the apartment complex where the encounter took place, SOMA Residences, said in a statement that they’re ‘actively working to resolve’ the incident and do not condone ‘violent acts, aggression toward any residents, discrimination and harassment.’

Barajas said he’s satisfied with the outcome and feels inspired to keep speaking out on behalf of minorities.

Credit: Michael Barajas / Facebook

From his apartment complex to the bystander who intervened on his behalf, Barajas said he’s grateful for the response he’s received and for how far he’s been able to come in life.

“I’ve always been from a really poor, poor immigrant family, so I think what happened just struck very hard for me. I felt, for me, that I do not belong here,” he said in a now-deleted Instagram post.

In the same post, he questions what would have happened had this happened to an undocumented person and didn’t know how to handle the situation? It’s a very good point that will cause many people to pause and re-examine how they react to situations like this one.