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White Latino Racism on the Rise: It’s Time for a Serious Conversation on Euro-Diasporic Whiteness

When TV show host Steve Harvey recently named Miss Colombia as the winner of the Ms. Universe contest by mistake, thousands of tweets by Latinos (apparently most from Colombia) labeled Harvey a "Nigger." One person tweeted this response.
When TV show host Steve Harvey recently named Miss Colombia as the winner of the Miss Universe contest by mistake, thousands of tweets by Latinos (apparently most from Colombia) labeled Harvey a "Nigger." One person tweeted this response.


By William García
William García
William García
William García
A common misconnection that exists today rests on the notion that there are no racial hierarchies in Latin American countries or within the Latino communities in the United States. In other words, Latino (or Hispanic) is itself a race. For many, this conversation is a pointless squabble that halts the true need for unity amongst marginalized groups in the United States. Unfortunately, overlooking the importance of this issue has in fact delineated separation and a lack of interest in each other’s problems.
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The shooting of unarmed African-American teenager Trayvon Martin by a half-Peruvian and half-White Jewish man named George Zimmerman, the rise of so-called Hispanic conservatives like Ted Cruz, Al Cardenas and Marco Rubio, and the examples of racist comments by Latinos in the media like Rodner Figueroa, have made it impossible to have a conversation of Latinos and race. It is becoming clear that Whites from Latin America, although marginalized by Anglo-Whites, have been able to pass as honorary Whites and benefit from the inequalities formed by White Supremacy. This is not new, and it has a history.
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Many people who neglect to explore the history of Latin Americans in the United Sates fail to analyze people like the famous white Cuban Ricky Ricardo (Desi Arnaz), who penetrated the American television series “I Love Lucy” (1951) at a time when Black people were not even allowed to perform next to White actors. Lucy (Lucille Ball) was Arnaz’ real wife, and both enjoyed a long and prosperous career in the film industry. In 1954 Arnaz was even able to get a role as the famous Don Juan.

During this time, White Latin Americans were seen as foreign, inferior and exotic and yet many passed and enjoyed White Privilege. Even all three of John Wayne’s wives were from Latin America at a time when anti-Black and anti-immigrant sentiments were powerful hateful discourses. Less mentioned is the famous Afro-Puerto Rican actor Juano Hernández, who to date is considered was one of the most successful pioneering Black actors of the African-American film industry. Despite Hernández being from Latin America, he had to take Black roles precisely because he was Black and experienced the same segregation as other Blacks in the United States. This was also common in Latin America, where Blacks were not allowed to be actors while Whites enjoyed wearing blackface and dehumanized black people.

 Juano Hernández (left) and Desi Arnaz with his wife Lucille Ball (right). Although they were both actors from the Hispanic Caribbean, Hernández and Arnaz were separated by race during the development of the United States film industry.
 Juano Hernández (left) and Desi Arnaz with his wife Lucille Ball (right). Although they were both actors from the Hispanic Caribbean, Hernández and Arnaz were separated by race during the development of the United States film industry.

According to Jill Lane, blackface was used as a way to create a Cuban identity independent from Spain. However, one can argue that Blackness was seen as a proxy for national discourse and not for racial democracy. Anti-Blackness was occurring transnationally between the United States and Latin America. A Euro-diasporic anti-Black establishment was taking place, a cruel phenomenon, which can be traced back to colonialism and African slavery. Arnaz was able to perform White roles and even marry Anglo-white actress, but the same could not be remotely fathomed for Hernández.
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While many invoke the idea of mestizaje (racial mixing) and the one-drop rule, it did not determine Latin American identity racially. The false idea that you were non-White if any of your ancestors was not White has been a common belief that undergirded racial categories and Whiteness as passing in the United States. Regardless if Arnaz was considered White or not, his Whiteness allowed him to pass and have access to Hollywood. Arnaz benefited from the system of White Supremacy. While Arnaz was able to remain Cuban (while also being marginalized), Hernández was not able to be Puerto Rican because he was Black.

The impossibility of Afro descendants from Latin America being able to play Latin American (or Latino) roles would be further marked after the Civil Rights Movement. Black people from Latin America were segregated and became part of Black communities in the United Sates. Eminent figures like Arturo Alfonso Schomburg, Carlos Cooks, Chano Pozo and Mario Bauza among others formed part of the Harlem Renaissance. From the 1950s through the 1970s, there was a rise and fall of an uneasy coalition between Latinos and African-Americans. A part from the internal conflicts and White backlash that resulted from the Civil Rights Movement, the most salient aftermath was the cementing of racial essentialisms. Blackness was seen solely as African-American and Latinos became “Brown” while Whiteness became Anglo-whites. These political racial constructions remained unquestioned until recently.

The rainbow coalition was an active coalition which consisted of many members such as Fred Hampton from the Black Panthers, William “Preacherman” Fesperan, Hy Thurman from the Young Patriots Organization, Jack (Junebug) Boykin, Jose Cha Cha Jimenez, the Puerto Rican founder of the Young Lords Party, among others.
The rainbow coalition was an active coalition which consisted of many members such as Fred Hampton from the Black Panthers, William “Preacherman” Fesperan, Hy Thurman from the Young Patriots Organization, Jack (Junebug) Boykin, Jose Cha Cha Jimenez, the Puerto Rican founder of the Young Lords Party, among others.

The discussion of Latino Whiteness was rarely brought up and instead focused and few focused Latino Blackness. For example, Felipe Luciano’s “Jíbaro My Pretty Nigger” encouraged his Blackness and Puertoricaness.



[...]

Today We are Paying the Price

The killing of Trayvon Martin by George Zimmerman caused many to revisit the notion of Latino Whiteness. The article published by Latino Rebels, The White Hispanic” Label: Yes, People, Racism is a Latino Thing, Too, actually made some good points at the need to revisit race and Latino identity while Cesar Vargas’ The Privilege of the White Hispanic: Leaving Out the Rest caused, to my amazement, a stir from White Latinos. Nonetheless, we also need African-Americans to begin embracing Afro-Latinos among other Black communities who do not conform to an African American nomenclature. Unfortunately, as I had predicted, anti-Black racism has reached their doorstep. Rodner Figueroa compared Michelle Obama to a simian from the Planet of the Apes and was fired from Univision.
- See more at: http://www.latinorebels.com/2015/12/21/white-latino-racism-on-the-rise-its-time-for-a-serious-conversation-on-euro-diasporic-whiteness/#sthash.LnCkrflg.dpuf
Today We are Paying the Price

The killing of Trayvon Martin by George Zimmerman caused many to revisit the notion of Latino Whiteness. The article published by Latino Rebels, The White Hispanic” Label: Yes, People, Racism is a Latino Thing, Too, actually made some good points at the need to revisit race and Latino identity while Cesar Vargas’ The Privilege of the White Hispanic: Leaving Out the Rest caused, to my amazement, a stir from White Latinos. Nonetheless, we also need African-Americans to begin embracing Afro-Latinos among other Black communities who do not conform to an African American nomenclature. Unfortunately, as I had predicted, anti-Black racism has reached their doorstep. Rodner Figueroa compared Michelle Obama to a simian from the Planet of the Apes and was fired from Univision.



Figueroa’s excuse was that he was “mixed.” However, Univision, one of the most anti-Black television channels I’ve ever seen, made firing Figueroa seem like an oxymoron.

This Saturday, the Miss Puerto Rico winner for the Miss America pageant was suspended for anti-Muslim tweets.

Last night, the African-American actor Steve Harvey was attacked on Twitter from racist White Latinos (and other Latinos as well and Anglo-whites) who wanted Miss Colombia to win the Miss Universe contest. These profile used abhorrent language, as the tweets below show. All this hatred came as a result of Harvey mistakenly naming Miss Colombia the winner instead of Miss Philippines, the real winner.



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A common misconnection that exists today rests on the notion that there are no racial hierarchies in Latin American countries or within the Latino communities in the United States. In other words, Latino (or Hispanic) is itself a race. For many, this conversation is a pointless squabble that halts the true need for unity amongst marginalized groups in the United States. Unfortunately, overlooking the importance of this issue has in fact delineated separation and a lack of interest in each other’s problems.
The shooting of unarmed African-American teenager Trayvon Martin by a half-Peruvian and half-White Jewish man named George Zimmerman, the rise of so-called Hispanic conservatives like Ted Cruz, Al Cardenas and Marco Rubio, and the examples of racist comments by Latinos in the media like Rodner Figueroa, have made it impossible to have a conversation of Latinos and race. It is becoming clear that Whites from Latin America, although marginalized by Anglo-Whites, have been able to pass as honorary Whites and benefit from the inequalities formed by White Supremacy. This is not new, and it has a history.
Many people who neglect to explore the history of Latin Americans in the United Sates fail to analyze people like the famous white Cuban Ricky Ricardo (Desi Arnaz), who penetrated the American television series “I Love Lucy” (1951) at a time when Black people were not even allowed to perform next to White actors. Lucy (Lucille Ball) was Arnaz’ real wife, and both enjoyed a long and prosperous career in the film industry. In 1954 Arnaz was even able to get a role as the famous Don Juan.
During this time, White Latin Americans were seen as foreign, inferior and exotic and yet many passed and enjoyed White Privilege. Even all three of John Wayne’s wives were from Latin America at a time when anti-Black and anti-immigrant sentiments were powerful hateful discourses. Less mentioned is the famous Afro-Puerto Rican actor Juano Hernández, who to date is considered was one of the most successful pioneering Black actors of the African-American film industry. Despite Hernández being from Latin America, he had to take Black roles precisely because he was Black and experienced the same segregation as other Blacks in the United States. This was also common in Latin America, where Blacks were not allowed to be actors while Whites enjoyed wearing blackface and dehumanized black people.
- See more at: http://www.latinorebels.com/2015/12/21/white-latino-racism-on-the-rise-its-time-for-a-serious-conversation-on-euro-diasporic-whiteness/#sthash.LnCkrflg.dpuf
A common misconnection that exists today rests on the notion that there are no racial hierarchies in Latin American countries or within the Latino communities in the United States. In other words, Latino (or Hispanic) is itself a race. For many, this conversation is a pointless squabble that halts the true need for unity amongst marginalized groups in the United States. Unfortunately, overlooking the importance of this issue has in fact delineated separation and a lack of interest in each other’s problems.
The shooting of unarmed African-American teenager Trayvon Martin by a half-Peruvian and half-White Jewish man named George Zimmerman, the rise of so-called Hispanic conservatives like Ted Cruz, Al Cardenas and Marco Rubio, and the examples of racist comments by Latinos in the media like Rodner Figueroa, have made it impossible to have a conversation of Latinos and race. It is becoming clear that Whites from Latin America, although marginalized by Anglo-Whites, have been able to pass as honorary Whites and benefit from the inequalities formed by White Supremacy. This is not new, and it has a history.
Many people who neglect to explore the history of Latin Americans in the United Sates fail to analyze people like the famous white Cuban Ricky Ricardo (Desi Arnaz), who penetrated the American television series “I Love Lucy” (1951) at a time when Black people were not even allowed to perform next to White actors. Lucy (Lucille Ball) was Arnaz’ real wife, and both enjoyed a long and prosperous career in the film industry. In 1954 Arnaz was even able to get a role as the famous Don Juan.
During this time, White Latin Americans were seen as foreign, inferior and exotic and yet many passed and enjoyed White Privilege. Even all three of John Wayne’s wives were from Latin America at a time when anti-Black and anti-immigrant sentiments were powerful hateful discourses. Less mentioned is the famous Afro-Puerto Rican actor Juano Hernández, who to date is considered was one of the most successful pioneering Black actors of the African-American film industry. Despite Hernández being from Latin America, he had to take Black roles precisely because he was Black and experienced the same segregation as other Blacks in the United States. This was also common in Latin America, where Blacks were not allowed to be actors while Whites enjoyed wearing blackface and dehumanized black people.
- See more at: http://www.latinorebels.com/2015/12/21/white-latino-racism-on-the-rise-its-time-for-a-serious-conversation-on-euro-diasporic-whiteness/#sthash.LnCkrflg.dpuf

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