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Sharing what #BlackLatinasKnow & what #WeBeenToldYou


With the disproportionate impact of COVID19 on Black communities in the U.S. and globally, and the ongoing assault on Black Lives everywhere, the Black Latinas Know Collective thought it important to share what #weknow. From a variety of scholarly perspectives, BLKC members have been producing knowledge on the multiplicity of ways Black lives are threatened and racism persists. At the heels of courageous women before us, BLKC members work, write, and speak in the service of a just and equitable world. Even when the world has been reticent to hearing us, we assert our voices. During the next two weeks we share what we know. This collection of condensed statements reflects some of what #BlackLatinasKnow and what #webeentoldyou.


DAY 1: On Academia. We've Been Here

Here’s A Latinx Racism Timeline. 1. Forever to tomorrow: Black Latinas experiencing, feeling, studying, and penalized over writing about racism. 2. Sometime between 2015-2020: non-Black Latinx scholar realizes racism is a thing among Latinxs. 3. 2020 to Now: non-Black Latinx scholar is the go-to person to speak on race among Latinxs. 4. From Now on: non-Black Latinx scholars yield your dominance in panels, media interviews, publishing opportunities. #giveupyourplacetoaBlackLatinx #thereismorethanoneofus
Latin American/Latinx scholars on social media openly asking for recommendations for Black Latinx scholars, speakers, and authors: What were you previously teaching? #DecolonizeYourSyllabus #BlackLatinizedYourSyllabus #ItWasNeverIntersectional
#BlackLatinaScholars are not here for anyone’s last minute tokenzing panel, charla, or bullet point.
If you’re wondering why all the Black Latinas are turning down your requests to write that chapter or be in that committee, ask yourself why you haven't built reciprocal relationships w/Black women in your field? We're not firefighters & these collaborations are built over time.
Remind us how many Black-Latinxs you know, embrace, cite, and support before you highlight your work on race.
Latinx Studies Departments and institutions, you’re not exempt. What are you doing about anti-Black racism in your house? Where are your statements? Where are your actions of solidarity? Have you checked on your Black Latinx colleagues? If you don’t even have them yet, it’s been time.
If #BlackLivesMatter truly matters to your Latinx org/community, are you willing to center Black Latina/x leadership? Black Latina/x voices? #PurposeOverPerformance #FromTheMarginToTheCenter

DAY 2: On "Latinidad"

Theorized by White, Brown and Non-Black Latinxs, Latinxs look like #rainbows. Theorized by Black Latinxs, Latinxs still have, as in 1972, the #prejudiceofhavingnoprejudice (Samuel Betances).
I'm not a Black-passing Latina, I'm a Black Latinx. You're not a white-passing Latinx, you're a White Latinx. If race is a social construction, you are what you "pass" as. Dismantle inequality by acknowledging the social truths of how we're unequally treated based on what race we "pass" as. That's the work.
Stop shifting racial inequality conversations into ethnic identity conversations. Start reporting race among Latinxs. We need racially-based DATA to document inequality. #Latinoisnotarace
Latinxs, when you answer the Census race question, be sure to lead with your sense of racial justice. Use your #streetrace (Nancy Lopez), not your #adondeestatuabuelarace. The Census is not therapy but a way to document race-based and other social and political inequalities.
Mestizaje will not free us. Latinxs, in the Census mark your race based on the opportunities given and denied. Pick ONE race: Black, White, American Indian, Asian, Pacific Islander. Black Latinxs, make yourself seen and counted. Say yes to Latinx, pick Black for your race.
Yes, we need to dismantle anti-Blackness in the Latinx community! But let’s call a thing a thing. Anti-Blackness IS racism. Stop using only one term and not the other. #AntiBlackRacism

DAY 3: On Solidarity

Being a Black-Latinx person means having to deal, again and again, with white-Latinxs denying anti-Black racism. These deniers are so comfortable with their white-Latinx supremacy and its privileges that they are blind to see that in denying anti-Black racism they are enacting racist violence.
Did we miss where all the Latinx folks stood up 4 Omar Jimenez as a Latino? His arrest is a stark reminder of why we disaggregate data. The experiences of Black Latinxs are not the same as Latinxs racialized as non-Black. Black Latinxs walk thru this stolen land as Black people.
If Black Latinxs keep telling you your #LatinxforBlackLives is erasure, and you keep on keeping on, whose Black lives actually matter to you? Whose Latinx lives matter to you? #DoesntAddUp #LatinxIsNotARace
Latinx is not a race. Sooooo if your Latinx organization/department does not talk about race, you are willfully perpetuating erasure. #LatinxIsNotARace
Non-Black Latinxs scholars, show solidarity by not pilfering our stories, knowledges, and experiences. Step up and say how you have benefitted from Anti-Black racism. It takes two.
Blackface is NEVER an act of solidarity.

DAY 4: The Latinx Racial Democracy Myth

The Caribbean and Latin America is the “cradle of blackness” (Torres-Saillant); where this whole violent setup of racism started. Ot the estimated 10.7 million people transported from Africa and enslaved in the Americas, 93% or 9 were shipped to the Caribbean and South America. Yet we’re supposed to not exist. #doyourresearch #weexist #stopinvisibilizingBlackLatinxlives #cradleofblackness
Like the Nikes that everybody wants, violence against Black Latinxs has been uniformally applied throughout the Americas. It’s in Colombia as much as it is in PR, Brazil, and Providence, RI. Instead of #LatinXforBlackLives you should be saying #RecoveringAnti-BlackLatinxs
Race does not “work differently” in Latin American and Latinx communities. Racial democracy never existed. The reality is and has always been a racial hierarchy, no matter how many levels you create and name in between. Your preference for whiteness is #Racism #LegaciesofColonization
Studying colonialism without accounting for the racial hierarchies adopted and perpetuated by the colonized negates the Black Latinx history and experience.
Stop naming cultural expressions as the evidence of Blackness in your colonized Latin American land: music, religion, food, & dance. Continuously dissociating Black PEOPLE from our culture is erasure. And racism. #BlackCultureBlackPeople
If race is so complex in Caribbean and Latin America, why do Blacks in the whole hemisphere always experience the worst life chances? Anti-Black Racism has never had borders. #checkthenumbers #BlackLatinxshaveneverbeenokay
In the Caribbean and Latin America, Black people have been #livingwhileBlack #walkingwhileBlack #workingforfreewhileBlack #survivingwhileBlack #dyingwhileBlack for every second of the 188,705 days between 1503 to the present. Yet we are absent from most accounts of our history and present. #doyourresearch #stopinvisibilizingBlacklives
You cannot claim that people do not talk about race in the Latin American/Latinx community AND ALSO list the various terms for skin color and features that exist to differentiate whiteness and Blackness. #Hypocrisy #LatinxisNotARace #NationalityIsNotARace
You can’t claim that Blackness is marginalized in the Latinx community AND no one uses Black where you come from AND we are all Black AND that Black Lives Matter. #DoesntAddUp

DAY 5: Black, Latinx, and Unequal

In the US, Brazil, & the UK, Black people are disproportionately: meeting their premature deaths due 2 both COVID & police brutality; incarcerated; & struggling w/ poor health outcomes, unemployment & housing insecurity. Anti-Blackness is a global pandemic. #BlackLivesMatter
Being a Black-Latinx person in the U.S., Latin America and the Caribbean means the disproportionate likelihood of living near contaminating industries: mines, power plants, factories, oil refineries, landfills and industrial waste sites, metal recycling facilities, highways, illegal dump sites, etc. This means that Black people disproportionately breathe polluted air, drink unsafe water, cultivate food in contaminated soil, and suffer from ill health and experience premature death as a result. #EnvironmentalRacism #EnvironmentalJustice
Ever heard of the double jeopardy? It’s what Black Latinos encounter: racism from White Americans as well as White Latinos. #doublejeopardy #doublebind
Question: If on average, women earn 78 cents to every dollar paid to a man, Black women earn 63 cents, and Latina women make 54 cents, how many cents does a Black Latina make? #weneeddatabyrace #Latinxisnotarace
If Black Latinxs experience higher rates of hypertension and diabetes (risk factors for COVID), why is there still no data about the rates of COVID-19 infections and mortality in Black Latinx communities? #weneeddatabyrace

DAY 6: On Black Latinx Children & Youth

Being a Black-Latinx parent means that teachers and schools will disproportionately mark your child’s behavior as “hyperactive,” “aggressive,” “troublesome,” “lacking self-control,” “bad,” “dangerous,” and/or “withdrawn.” It also means that teachers and schools will suggest your child be medicated through her/his schooling years. #Schooltoprisonpipeline

Being a Black-Latinx parent is having to feign security in reassuring your kid that it's going to be okay every time the police comes around.

Being a Black Latinx parent means you have to choose between lily white Spanish language Latinx TV and U.S. American media where your kids can see themselves at least exist, but just in English. #andyouwonderwhyBlackLatinxkidsrefuseSpanishTV #whyLatinxkidsrefuseLatinidad

Black Latina girls are often forced into two divergent paths. Either they submit to white & non-Black Latinx’s fantasies of meek and humble girlhood or they boldly take up space and get labeled “ajentá” “difícil” & told “oh pero quien tú te cree’ que tu e’?”

From the elite clubs of Santo Domingo to the Univisión studios in Miami, Black Latina girls set the trends. Their style, hair, and mannerisms get co-opted by non-Black Latinas while they get punished for it in schools. And, as they grow, these same trend-setting styles become the basis for their exclusion from the clubs and Latinx media.

From comments about their “pelo malo” to the hypersexualization of their bodies, Black Latina girls have always been subjected to anti-Black racism. The recognition and naming of these experiences as racialized, however, can come later on. Not calling themselves Black does not negate their Black experience.

We need a sustained movement for Black girls. We need to financially support Darnella Frazier. We must demand to take police out of schools. We have to advocate for mental health & remote programming for Black girls. We must say Breonna Taylor’s and Layleen Polanco’s name.


DAY 7: You Know You're a Black Latinx When...

You know you’re a Black Latinx scholar when you’re always the darkest in any Latinx academic space and the silence screams "Why is she here?"

You know you’re a Black Latinx scholar if every time you present about racism among Latinx, in the Caribbean or Latin America, the first question in the audience from someone who benefits from all the racial privileges is whether you’re using US racial frames to explain racial inequality. Really? Again? #lazyscholars #TanyaHernandezansweredthatquestion #MiriamJimenezansweredthatquestion #HildaLlorensansweredthatquestion #MelissaValleansweredthatquestion #ZaireDinzeyFloresansweredthatquestion

You know you’re a Black Latinx scholar when you get interview requests from non-Black Latinxs and are asked “why is all of this happening?” when people who look like them have been subjugating people who look like you since you were in Latin America.

You know you’re a Black Latinx scholar when you go to a Latinx, Latin American conference and even though you speak to people in Spanish, they continue to respond in English.

You know you’re a Black Latinx scholar when your non-Black Latinx colleagues try to sound progressive and tolerant by using words like “prieto.”

You know you’re a Black Latinx when: you learn that the American Dream is a nightmare and that your most basic right--the right to breathe--can be taken from you in a matter of minutes.

You know you’re a Black Latinx when: you’re spoken about in Spanish and you are so tired of it happening you just let it go.

You know you’re a Black Latinx when: you see “Latinos for Black Lives” and knowing they don’t mean your Black life, nor do they see you as a Latina to begin with.

You know you’re a Black Latinx when: they exclaim “I thought you were Black!” and you have 20 different answers but the #1 response, because you’re so tired of hearing it is: “I still am.”

You know you’re a Black Latinx when: you have to learn to exist in your full truth, in spite of the willful ignorance of those who erase your existence at every turn.
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