DEFINING THE BLACK PRESENCE IN LATIN AMERICA
Contributed by CHARLES CLARK
This article will offer a perspective on race that "Americans"
from this America may find enlightening. (no pun intended)
It's part of the discussion on race that's been so long coming
in the USA, that many seem to feel as though, we already had it.
Well we haven't. So until then we'll just have to keep searching
for answers wherever we can.
Afro-Latino- Black History Month
Between Black and White Race matters in Latin America, but it matters differently.
The pressure to accept not only a new language and culture, but also a new racial identity, is a burden some darker-skinned Latinos say they face every day, in the USA.
Jose Neinstein, a native white Brazilian and executive director of the Brazilian-American Cultural Institute in Washington, boiled down to the simplest terms how his people are viewed. "In this country," he said, "if you are not quite white, then you are black." But in Brazil, he said, "If you are not quite black, then you are white."
Yvette Modestin, the black Panamanian who identifies as an Afro-Latina, said that although she accepts her blackness, she's also an immigrant who speaks Spanish. In other words, she's not a black American. "My brother's married to a Mexican," she said. "My brother's been called a sellout by black women while walking down the street with his wife. They are both Latino. They think he married outside his race."