Oh, to be Afro-Latinx in the United States.
Being Afro-Latinx is a unique experience that has led many to define their own identities. Not “black” enough for some, not “Latino” enough for others. But, then again, who cares?
We are a beautiful and diverse people of the African Diaspora. Either you identify as Afro-Latinx by way of the trans-Atlantic slave trade (because, slavery), or perhaps your Puerto Rican grandfather married a Jamaican woman. We all juggle the realities of the black and Latino experiences, which are completely unique in their own right. You’ve had your hair seared at a Dominican hair salon, the Spanglish is on fleek and Abuelita owns more rosaries than you can count. Been there, done that.
Here are 10 ways to know that you grew up Afro-Latinx.
Felice León is multimedia editor at The Root.
Spanglish on Fleek
You are 100 percent fluent in Spanglish. Ya tú sabes.
You’ve had your hair seared at a Dominican hair salon. The stylist was likely hemming and hawing while saying “pelo malo” under her breath. If you made it out (with hair on your head), you’re among the fortunate.
Plátanos and Collard Greens
Holiday dinners consist of collard greens, arroz con pollo, plátanos, and baked mac and cheese—all at the same time.
You Wore Traditional Dress the Best
Like it or not, Abuelita (Grandma) has dressed you up in traditional garb at some point in your life. You were a “Cubanita” during International Day at school and Halloween (if you got off easy)—and you wore those frills with pride!
You’ve become super militant and are ready to come for anyone of Latino descent who denies that some semblance of African blood runs through his or her veins. Ignorance is real and so was the trans-Atlantic slave trade.
Your black friends and relatives make snide comments about Latinos (and vice versa).
There is a cross, rosary or picture of Christ (if not all three) hanging over the door of your super-religious Latino relatives’ house.
We Define Ourselves
You’ve made up some unique, catchy and completely brilliant way to define yourself: Blacktina, Afro-Latinix, Jamexican. The list goes on.
Folks have talked about you in Spanish while being directly in front of you. Because having brown skin means that you don’t speak the language. At which point, you stop and check them in your very best español.
You utterly and completely celebrate Juliana Pache and her viral hashtag, #BlackLatinxHistory, which she launched in February 2016 to share the Afro-Latinx narrative during Black History Month.