For a writer, identity is everything.
We explore it. We question it. We challenge it.
And when we are faced with it, truly faced with it, it are confused by it. Sometimes even haunted by who are.
If you’re me, you spend a life time struggling with it, accepting it, and working to balance it against the mainstream.
I am, for the new readers of this blog, Afro Latina. My dad was Cuban. My mother is Guatemalan. I speak Spanish but have dark skin and curly hair. And when I watch my favorite novelas on Univision, I don’t see myself.
I am not what the mainstream or even some of my friends think of what a Latina looks like. The kinky in my hair and the fullness of my lips says African but the roll of the “r” off my tongue, my customs and culture are Latino.
So what am I? I’m both.
As a writer, that search for identity creeps into my work. My thesis-so-to-be-novel has an Afro Latina protagonist. She deals with identity. She tries to balance it against the backdrop of her reality. Yes, you write what you know and I know about being, well, me.
But I’ve always felt, even as I continue my art, that identity for me is more than a search for balance. Perhaps its acceptance I seek. Acceptance, but not in the way that makes it okay to exist. I strive for acceptance in a way that requires no explanation.
I want the world to know what a real Latina looks like! We do not all come from Mexico. We do not all have olive skin and dark hair. We are not all walking sex. I want acceptance of the true form of being Latina.
And so, it is with pride that I announce that I will soon start a new tab on this blog. On the top, under the banner, will be a new tab called About AfroLatinos. It will become a resipicle of videos and links to articles and people on Twitter that promote and inform the public about AfroLatinos/Black Hispanics.
This, my friends, I hope begins a new dialogue. In addition to this, I propose that in a few short weeks, just when Black History Month is about to begin, from Jan 30 – Feb. 3, we honor Afro Latinos. I call on other bloggers to highlight Latinos of African decent on their blogs so that the public can learn about them. Only this way can we strive for the acceptance that doesn’t require explanation.
Who’s with me?