Photo by Associated Press


Minneapolis, Minnesota is ground zero, the epic center of BLACK & BROWN LIVES MATTER. 

On May 24, 2020, George Floyd was suffocated by a police officer in Minneapolis while three other officers looked on.His death, caught on camera by a social media savvy youth, ignited a world-wide, cry for justice. Protests erupted, in response to these deaths, took root.

To address police trauma stemming from the racialized anguish because of police officer involved killings, I facilitated a series of webinars. The bilingual shows focused on Afro-decendientes, the Hispanic identity of the Afro-Latino and Afro-Indio communities.

Afro-Latino/Afro-Indio reflects the mixing within the multiple dimensions of indigenous Americans, white Europeans, and slaves from Africa and Asians. 

In recognition of the UN’s declaration ‘Decade of Recognition of People of African Decent 2015-2024’ and to better understand the complexity of Afro-Latino and Afro-Indio communities, I turned to Google and found David Rodriguez. 

According to his website,  “… David concentrated much of his time and efforts into studying the history of the Americas and how it relates to his own personal ancestry.  The efforts inspired a series of YouTube videos, booklets, and a website dedicated to the topic of Afro-Latino history and ancestry.  Come take the journey to uncover a legacy untold…”  

I jumped at the chance to take the journey.

David Rodriguez, began our conversation with a simple question: “Do you identify as Afro-Latino?” 

He went on to say …

“This simple question has entered the minds of those with certain ancestry in the Americas.  It also sparked much needed dialogue in the mainstream media, but do we know what the term “Afro-Latino” really means? Without a full understanding, it can cause confusion and frustration, especially when put in positions to choose when asked…” are you black or Latino?”

Choosing one and denying the other will eventually breed an identity crisis in the minds of those still trying to figure out what to identify as.  The term “Afro-Latino” has become overly generalized in the media and by mainstream Americans, giving it a simple definition of merely “black people who speak Spanish” …but is this accurate and fair to those who identify as Afro-Latino?

Afro-Latinos are conflicted because of this choice imposed on them when identifying themselves in government documents, or even when trying to explain who they are to their closest friends, co-workers, and other associates. A distorted history caused by public school education that is yet to be clarified or even include Afro-Latinos in the textbooks has deepened this identity problem. 

For Afro-Latinos, this can force one’s hand in seeing one side of their ancestry as the oppressors, and the other side as the victims in Latin American history.  Also, where does the race fit with other underrepresented melinated communities, does the term “Afro-Latino” have the potential to unite or divide?”

Join us for David Rodriguez’ next question: What is an Afro-Latino? – PART 2

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