We Need to Talk

There is an unspoken issue in the Latino Community. We put others down for their skin color. Some of us do not see others as equal with the next Latino. The issue is Colorism! I have heard of the saying  “Mejorar la raza.” This means to “improve the race.” The elders are basically saying to “fix the rac.” What they mean is to marry lighter people so their kids can come out lighter. These beauty standards fit more into the European standards; blonde hair, blue eyes, light skin, and straight hair. Their goal seems to be to whitewash or to blanqueamiento our culture and to make the next generations of Latinos “prettier’’ , AKA lighter.  One of the first thoughts I had was - Why? Why aren’t we accepting our people? Why aren’t we embracing how different we all are? We have the kinky hair, straight hair, wavy hair, light skin, dark skin, light eyes and dark eye. Why can’t we all love and accept each other for our variety?

This picture shows three generations of a family. The grandmother is black, the daughter is mulatta, and the grandchild is fair skin. Showing three generations of racial hypergamy.

As a member of the Latino community I want everyone to be united, especially in my culture group. This doesn’t seem like a big problem, but it is. Afro Latinos are growing up, thinking that they aren’t beautiful because their skin isn’t light or their hair isn’t straight. Imagine growing up watching Spanish TV, seeing all the similar looking Latinos, realizing that you don’t look like any of them them.  You don’t seem to  identify with anyone you are supposed to look up to or want to be like. The media doesn’t represent dark skinned Latinos with kinky curly hair. They seem to only show the ones with light skin, light eyes, and straight no-frizz hair.

Not only is the media a big part of this problem, it’s an epidemic in our own families. Family members praise one child for their light skin while the ones who don’t have light skin are being mocked. Lifting up one person for being something they have no control over, and overlooking the next, doesn’t make any sense. The one who is praised sees themselves as superior. While shame can consume the “undesirable.”  Having that type of mindset is causing racism and hatred among our people.  “Children aren’t born racist, they learn racist behaviors as they grow. We have to be mindful of how language describes us, how we talk about others, and what we teach our children. We perpetuate the stereotypes that diminish the unmeasurable value of our multicultural ethnicity — we shouldn’t be glorifying one race over the other.”

Children aren’t born racist.

Having light skin tones does not make you better than anyone. Having darker skin tones does not make you inferior than anyone. They are equally beautiful and we must realize that. But how can they realize that if  the subject is taboo and no one wants to talk about it? We must change how we talk about and to each other. It starts with this generation.  It starts with ME. Loving our kinky curly hair and dark caramel skin begins with me.  Our abuelos and abuelas had it wrong.  Social media, novelas, and Spanish TV need to learn how to represent us. We have textured hair, colorful skin and I love it.


Comments (2)

Amal Giknis (Teacher)
Amal Giknis

This is a really interesting topic, Isabella, especially because it forces people to look at their behaviors and making subtle changes to the ways we think and speak. What do you think you'll do to further your research? I wonder if you could somehow get people to participate in a challenge to call out or stop using offensive language. Or maybe start a social media campaign against these ideas and see how far you can spread the word.