THE STATEMENT

If you are silent about your pain,

they’ll kill you

and say

you enjoyed it.

Zora Neale Hurston

...people like me cannot really think in abstractions, people like me cannot be objective, we make everything so personal. You will forget your part in the whole setup. 

Jamaica Kincaid​

La tierra es

de quien la siembra,

por eso

esta tierra es mía.

Mamá Tingó​

For Black Women in the United States, testifying for or publicly speaking truth, often about the unspeakable, not only recaptures human dignity but also constitutes a profound

act of resistance.

Patricia Hill Collins

WE ARE...a collective of Black Latina scholars, producers of innovative and important intellectual contributions to the intersectional study of race within Latinidad and Blackness. We acknowledge that our Black womanhood and scholarship intersect to offer a particular view of race, our disciplines, and society which is intimately tied to our own experience.

 

WE KNOW... that all scholarship comes from particular personal experiences. Our scholarship is informed by our intimate experiences with Black Latina womanhood. From early experiences of having our Latinidad and Blackness questioned, to dealing with white Latinx standards of beauty that exclude us, to being invisibilized, to being designated as incapable of occupying our places as professors, intellectuals, and knowledge producers, our insights are important and unreplicable.

 

WE ARE THINKERS...and our thinking is crucial to the conversation on race. Scholarly dialogues about racial inequality have to make space for our thought, knowledges, and epistemologies. Scholarly conversations about race, racism, and anti-Blackness result from the work of pioneering Black thinkers and activists who often risked their lives to denounce oppressive systems and ideologies. Those who have been directly affected by racism opened the path we now walk on. Further, we are directly affected by anti-Blackness narratives and practices, even those that manifest within the process of scholarly production. Perspectives that exclude our Black Latina thought are by definition incomplete.

 

WE CENTER...Black Latina voices as a crucial source of knowledge to understand how race works within Latinidad. Our voices are germinal and indelible to the production of intersectional scholarship on race and gender among Latina/o/x studies and Black and ethnic studies. An over-representation of white and mestiza Latina/o/xs in scholarly accounts of race reproduce the very racial exclusions that the scholarship claims to address. Overlooked in this distancing are questions of racially-based pain, privileges, opportunities, penalties, distribution of power, life chances, and inequalities. At best these accounts are incomplete, at worst they reproduce race-based stereotypes. In part, this is due to a lack of lived experience--to living in a Black body--but more often what these accounts show is a lack of engagement with our scholarship.

 

WE RESIST...being silenced, overlooked in the knowledge production of our very own experience and knowledge base. Scholarship on Latinas/os/xs and race is increasingly highlighting the role that race plays in producing unequal conditions. Yet, time and again, neither Black Latinas or our knowledge production are embraced by scholars who benefit from our work and our experiences. Conceptual and theoretical models  of race among non-Black Latinxs claim to have an insight into the Black experience based on a “we are all mixed” and, by extension, “all Black” version of race. We reject translators, ventriloquists, representatives in conveying our view of race and inequality.

 

WE CLAIM...our long-term engagement with questions of race-gender inequality within Latinidad, even when it was not popular. There is a history of Black Latina thought to acknowledge that includes our own epistemologies. We have our own thought. We have our own knowledge. Our experiences as Black Latinas uniquely equip us to understand, talk, write about, and engage with the issues that affect us.

 

WE DEMAND...to be heard, to be cited, to be recognized, to be attributed ownership of our ideas and the scholarship that we have produced.  

WE BUILD...a collaborative, collective community of BLACK LATINA knowledge production. We stand together to name Black Latina women as central to the popular and formal scholarship on race within Latinidad.

 

WE WRITE...scholarly and popular pieces that make visible who we are, what we think and what we know.   

 

WE DO ALL...in service of something greater than ourselves. We aim to dismantle systems that oppress marginalized peoples at the intersections of multiple categories of social difference, including race, ethnicity, gender, class, sexuality, ability, citizenship, and language. We assert that our work is a crucial element of a manifold approach to social justice, one that includes activism and grassroots organizing, the arts, electoral politics, public policy, and others. We believe in liberation and we teach, conduct research and disseminate our knowledge in order to engender a more just society.

Black Latinas Know Collective (BLKC)

April 30, 2019

REFERENCES

Patricia Hill Collins (2009) Fighting Words: Black Women and the Search for Justice

Zora Neale Hurston (n.d.) Writer and anthropologist 

Jamaica Kincaid (1988) A Small Place

Mamá Tingó (n.d.) Dominican activist

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