I grew up knowing I was Panamanian, but I didn't know the distinction between being Panamanian (Latino) and Black (African-American), mainly because I looked more Black than Hispanic. It wasn't until I became an adult that I learned that I was Latino, with descendants from Jamaica, Barbados, and Trinidad. The term "Afro-Latin@ identifies my culture, and I can truly embrace all of my ethnic heritages without denying any part of my bloodline!
Soon after the birth of my second child in 2007, I began to reflect on what cultural contributions I wanted to make in the lives of my children. I am from Puerto Rico - Vieques, of a African and Italian-Native American parents. I currently live in southern California. The luck of the genetic draw gave me more African features (beautiful brown skin, kinky hair, full lips). My children are Dutch-Peruvian (my husband) and Puerto Rican. They, through the luck of the genetic draw, came out light but with my African features. Seeing them made me reconsider identity and what it means to be Puerto Rican. I am an Afro-Latina, and my children will make sense of their world partly through my experiences. Knowing who I am may help them learn who they are when they begin asking those questions.
Being born as a Puerto Rican Afro descendant, I was very aware of my ancestry, and I have been learning and searching for my ancestors, even when I lived in the US I used to hang more with blacks than with Latinos, and grew more aware, now I know there is subtle racism here in PR, so I try to teach people here about it and be aware too.
I knew my mother's family were "hispanic" from Cuba, but I also knew they were black. My mother always told me and my brother, "nunca olvides lo que te encuentras, un niño negro" . My father is black american and as children my parents taught us to always admire the strength of our race. It was not the culture or the ethnicity which I think so many people get mixed up. We are black, and of black African decent. Regardless of our spoken language. The African Diaspora is WORLD WIDE, and not relegated to the western hemisphere or the "Americas" as we are taught. I have met blacks from Panama, PR, DR, and many places who because of the negative associated with skin color will claim to be anything but black in order to diminish the black that we are. I heard one guy from DR say I'm not black I'm Dominican. It's crazy... I told him "Eres negro, no me importa de que pais. Su piel es mas oscura que yo. Corremos de negro porque nos han enseñado a avergonzarnos de nuestra gente y nuestro patrimonio. Me siento orgulloso de ser negro. No es porque soy cubano. Mi piel negra me es cien porciento." My spanish is not the best because in our house we spoke english more than spanish, and I am now learning more because of my travels and my grandparents and other family, but I will always be proud to be black regardless of where my family may come from. I don't expect for all afro latinos to get this, but I will never run from my skin or try and diminish who I am for anyone.
I grew up in Saint Thomas Virgin Islands with both of my parents. My mother was Puerto Rican from Loiza and my father was a Cuban Virgin Islander from St. Thomas. My grandfather lived in Guantanamo and we'd visit him every year.He was an Ifa priest. Through him and my great-great grandfather, my siblings and I learned that our family come from Benin. Yoruba brought to Cuba. Through his religion and mine as well, I easily identify with the Diaspora. I'm a lot of things but however you put it Afro-Latin@ encompasses everything that makes up me.
Proud to be an Afro Latina. Born and educated in Panama, Rep. of Panama. Attend the Latin American School in the Former Paraiso, Canal Zone, Panama, R.P. On the 2010 US Census-declared Afro Latina Panamanian. Love who I am, will not change anything about this Afro Latina.
I grew up in Salt Lake City, Utah with my light-skinned, Puerto Rican mother raising me. I grew up with a Hispanic culture, but never learned Spanish. My father is Dominican, and once I became older, I began to form a relationship with him. He looks Black, but always denied being Black, and even scolded me for talking to Black men. It was always difficult explaining that I was Black AND Hispanic to people here in Utah. They always just assumed that I was mulatto. I always felt so incomplete without a proper name for myself. One day, reading Latina magazine, I finally found the term Afro-Latina, and was ecstatic! I still have to explain, but I feel much more comfortable now.
I am half African American and Half Mexican American. I was raised by my Mexican American mom, but can't say i was really raised in the Mexican culture. My mothers family had a problem with the fact that she married a black man so they were never in my life. We were more embraced by my father's side. I don't think I truly realized i was anything other then mixed or black until I got into college. I started to learn more about Latinos and started to Identify myself as Latina as well. Although to this day I don't really feel a connection to the Latino community. I have attempted to learn Spanish as a way to connect to that part of my background. I still feel that people see me as a mixed or african american girl. I can't say i have had the same experiences that a Latina would have had growing up. If i suffered from discrimination or racism it was because I am black. I now feel comfortable saying i'm afro-latina which is something i didn't even really know existed when i was growing up. I was recently accused at work of saying i would rather be "hispanic" than black. This statement really upset me because for one i would never say that and for two me being hispanic/latino doesn't mean that i'm not black. Try explaining that to the closed minded people of the midwest. Its just a concept that is incomprehensible to them. I love the fact that I have a term that I can use to Identify my self now, but again sometimes i feel funny saying i'm Latina since i don't feel it. But it is in my blood, and denying it would mean to deny my mother whom I could never do. The midwest is more diverse now a days and sometimes i go places and people speak to me in spanish, I can now respond to them since i have learned some of the language.