Growing up in a Mexican and Salvadorian household, I always hated hearing certain family members making racist remarks about black people. At a young age I didn’t know why it bugged me so much. As I grew older and learned about racism in school, I realized why it made me so angry and how wrong it truly was for them to make such nasty comments.
Unfortunately, racism towards black people is prevalent within all races but as a Latina myself, I’ve witnessed firsthand the racist way many Latinos speak about black people. I’ve even spoken about this topic with my Latino friends. Many of them said that several or even most family members, whether it be their parents, siblings, aunts, uncles, cousins, have made racist remarks towards black people.
Like I said before, I know that there’s racist people all over the world, but in the Latino community, this hatred is never discussed openly despite it being so common. I’ll even admit that when I hear a family member say something racist, I choose to ignore it, even though it makes me angry, in order to avoid an argument.
When you think about it, it makes no sense for Latinos to be racist to black people. As minorities we shouldn’t bring each other down in such an ugly way, especially in this political climate. Because the President is constantly speaking poorly about minorities, his supporters think it’s okay to follow in his footsteps. People who voted for Donald Trump are starting to believe that it’s okay to be explicitly racist simply because it’s what their president is doing.
In a Nov. 25, 2007 article by political analyst Earl Ofari Hutchinson for the Los Angeles Times, he wrote “Animosity between Latinos and blacks is the worst-kept secret in race relations in America. For years, Latino leaders have pointed the finger of blame at blacks when Latinos are robbed, beaten and even murdered. Blacks, in turn, have blamed Latinos for taking jobs, for colonizing neighborhoods, for gang violence.” This article was written almost 10 years ago and it is still extremely relevant. It is a shame that not much progress has been made in race relations since this article was written.
Even the smallest action could put an end to this internalized racism. Venice High is even taking a step forward during Black History Month with an assembly run by the Black Student Union with the help of M.E.Ch.A. They will be honoring African-Americans in their themed assembly ¨Change through Unity” where both clubs will be performing and displaying a variety of poems, songs and traditional dances.
This assembly is a step in the right direction. Latino teens can do their own part by showing their family members that black people are people too. Or at least encourage their family members not to make racist remarks. Sometimes people’s views are influenced by a bad experience but that shouldn’t color their view of an entire community. At the end of the day, we should all uplift each other rather than put each other down.