The ignorance that exists about the Afro-Latino community is all too real, whether it’s from the outside or within our community. Being an Afro-Latino, a term that came about in the late 70s means to be a Black Latina/Latino/Latinx. Since Latino is not a race, nor is it an ethnic group, it is false to say that one’s race is Black AND Latino. However, it is right to say that you are racially Black and refer to your ethnicity; however, you may choose, i.e., Afro-Dominican, Afro-Cuban, etc.

Growing up, we are often in a constant struggle for acceptance from both cultures, whether it’s your black brothers and sisters telling you that you aren’t black enough or your Latino family telling you that you aren’t Latino enough.

So what does it mean to be both Black and Latino? It can be incredibly complicated because growing up, and you feel the need to choose a side; if you have darker skin and curly hair, like my own sister, it means denying the deep roots, or revolution inside of you given to you by your mother. Or, if you have lighter skin and straighter hair, like myself, it means having to deny the blackness given to you by your father and conceding to the thousands of years of anti-blackness deeply rooted in our society.

“Being an Afro-Latina/Latino means using our voice as a way to relay the struggles that we as a silent majority face.”

In actuality, to be an Afro-Latina/Latino means to claim both sides of the spectrum. It means not having to deny or apologize for your blackness any longer. It’s finding pride in your big lips and thick hips that the likes of Kylie Jenner pay thousands of dollars for. It means using our voice as a way to relay the struggles that we, as the silent majority, face.

Being an Afro-Latina is truly a blessing. You have two colorful and beautiful cultures that you’re a part of. This newfound identity is an opportunity to continue to find yourself and learn more about your culture while breaking the barriers that society gives us and showing them that you don’t have to look or act a certain way to be an Afro-Latinx.