Thursday, September 24, 2015

Social Construct of Race: Latino

by Raúl Quiñones-Rosado, Ph.D states in his blog
"Personally, as a Puerto Rican, I do not have a problem with being included under one umbrella with my Mexican, Cuban, Dominican, Salvadoran and other Latin American brothers and sisters.  There is much we have in common, even when our beans and our slang are spiced differently.  In fact, I believe that it is necessary that we be seen as one group, given the racialized nature of U.S. society and, in that context, the need to find strength in numbers, in unity.
But in this matter of what to be called—”Hispanic,” “Latino/a”—it is very important that all of us, particularly those who work to ameliorate racism and other forms of oppression, are aware of where these terms come from and what they mean.  And it is especially important that we “Hispanics” or “Latinos/as” are clear about the impact these labels have on our sense of identity as a social group in the United States and, therefore, the implications they may have for our collective future and the future of our politics."
related link:
Raul Quinones words hit close to home. As a child coming from Puerto Rico at the age of 10 relocating to Florida I experienced racism. As a young person I struggled to understand the need to classify myself as other. I was fortunate to have had a father (1st generation born in the states of Puertorrican parents) whom had lived through all the racism and guided me to be proud of where I was from. He taught me to respect others, to become friends with everyone and not to segregate myself. My portrait paintings represent a journey in my continuous search to make connections with the people around me and in the place I live. Exploring my identity produces a visceral exchange of personal and political identity while cultivating an awareness of “otherness.”
#InBetween2Worlds, oil on panel, 2015

When placed in a new national or cultural setting, people tend to define themselves first in terms of how they are distinct–namely by nationality and culturIt is only after time–sometimes after many years depending on their skin color (and hair, nose, lips and hips), last name, accent, or class background–that Latin Americans discover that, regardless of how they may see themselves, in the United States they are seen by others primarily from within a very specific racial context.  Further, they will find that context has been defined, historically, in terms of the subordination of “blacks” by “whites” of European ancestry

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