latina identity

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Exclusive: Meet America Chavez, Marvel’s new queer Latina superhero who just got her own comic book series

Hold onto your butts, this one’s good. Series writer Gabby explains that, “One [of the things that has most excited fans] is the identities: Queer Latina. She’s also a positive presence and has these catch phrases, like ‘chico.’ And she has feelings for Kate [Bishop, a.k.a. Hawkeye]. So what will the first major queer Latina superhero do with all her super crush-worthy powers?

🌹“De donde eres?”
Me: “DF”
“…no pareces latina.”
Me: “haha okayyyy.”

“Oh you’re from Mexico? How did you cross the border?”
Me: “………”

Caught in between two cultures. Sometimes it feels like I don’t fit enough in any category and I have little identity crises because of it haha. My mom says “You’re a citizen of the world.” Though that is true, I believe it’s so important to remember your roots and soak in the beauty that got you here.
I know sooo many people that feel this way, from all kinds of cultures and walks of life, but we’re amazing!!! Because we adapted, we survived, and we THRIVE.
I can be at Starbucks all the time and constantly be craving orejas,
And it’s a beautiful thing.

This one means something very near to my heart.
This one’s for those that feel caught in between cultures.
Don’t let anyone let you feel you don’t belong, the space you take up is unique, rich and beautiful 🌹🌹🌹

Luz Argentina Chiriboga is an Afro-Ecuadorian writer who was one of the first writers to address the duality African and Hispanic cultures. In her poetry and novels, she writes about women in ways that challenge preconceived stereotypes. Her short story “El Cristo de la mirada baja” won first prize in 1986 in the International Literary Contest of the Liberator General San Martín held in Buenos Aires.

Beginning in 1983, Chiriboga became involved in the Congress of Black Culture, participating in the event held in Cali, Colombia and the 1985 Congress in Panama. These conventions, inspired her to begin work on her novel Bajo la piel de los tambores (Under the Skin of the Drums).[1] The novel, published in 1991,[4] marked an emergence of Afro-Latina identity into what had been either a homogenized Hispanic literary tradition or an Afro-Hispanic tradition focusing on male protagonists.[5] Not only did it introduce race, but the work encompassed topics often avoided in Hispanic literature, such as birth control, fetishism, sexual violence, and others. It received favorable critical attention, as[4] as had a short story she published while she was working on the novel, called “El Cristo de la mirada baja”.[1] The story won first prize in 1986 in the International Literary Contest of the Liberator General San Martín held inBuenos Aires.[2]Chiriboga’s works challenge the stereotypes of women’s sexuality, and looks at desire, ignoring the traditions of propriety imposed by patriarchal honor codes and religious authority.[6] She confronts stereotypical ideas of clerical purity by depicting their sensuality and lustful black women with characters who are asexual.[7] Recognizing that men writing about women tend to poeticize them, Chiriboga uses her voice to raise consciousness.[8] She also questions the duality of culture and what it means to be part of the African Diaspora in a country dominated by Latino and mestizo traditions.[3] She has been a featured speaker at conferences and seminars throughout Africa, the Americas, the Caribbean and Europe, and has had her works translated into English, French, Italian and Quechua.

I’ll never forget the devasted expression in my English Language teacher’s face when I was 13 and asked her if she could help me get rid of my accent. She was a glorious, intelligent and tender woman and the first person to openly talk to me about how important it is to value our own culture over hegemomic european and north american influences, and how important it was to cultivate my identity as latina and to be proud of my accent, not ashamed

White Passing Latina in America

I’m a writer and web developer from Colorado, and I am a white passing Latina. I was born to a German/Russian/Jewish mother and a Mexican/Nicaraguan/Spanish/Martian father. For most of my life, I had no idea what ‘Latino’ was, or that my mom’s family was Jewish, or really anything. I heard my dad speak words I didn’t understand, and he wouldn’t tell me what they meant. 

I was about ten years old when I began learning about my heritage. As I learned more about what Latinos were, what their culture was, what their languages were, I felt like this missing piece of me was finally coming back. 

One problem: I’m white. I looked nothing like the people I saw in pictures, or even like my family in Mexico. When I told my friends I was Mexican, I was met with, “You’re too white to be Mexican.“ This came from whites and Latinos. After all, I’m white, I don’t speak Spanish, I’ve never been to Mexico, I don’t spend time with my Mexican family, no way am I Latina. 

Today, I speak Spanish, like Spanish music, dance salsa, and enjoy Mexican cooking, but I still hesitate to call myself Latina.

Beauty Standards: White skin doesn’t help you when you’re fat. I was constantly reminded by family, by schoolmates, random men and by media in general, that I was too fat, that boys like skinny girls, that girls liked skinny girls. Although, since I’m a woman, I’d be getting crap whether I was skinny or not.

I grew up during a time when tanning was all the rage (and arguably, still is), and started getting crap for being too white. So, while all the white girls were tanning, all the girls of color were trying to look more white.

By the time I was a junior in high school, I gave up trying to please everyone and went back to playing my vidya games. 

Dating and Relationships: My family doesn’t discriminate when it comes to sex, and apparently, neither do I. My first “boyfriend” in middle school was Vietnamese, and in high school, I had two Filipino/Mexican boyfriends. In college, I dated a German/Chinese guy, a Russian guy and a black/Korean guy. I, uh, I’m noticing a pattern here.

Every once in awhile, I’d get those douchebags that used Spanish pick up lines. I’m all for speaking another language, but not if you’re reading pick up lines from a site that teaches you how to flirt with Latinas. Relying on outdated stereotypes, and things you’ve learned from porn will get you nowhere. 

Well, it might get you a kick to the crotch. 

Food: Even before I fully embraced my Hispanic heritage, I loved the hell out of Mexican food. I also love sangria. If you want to be my best friend, take me to a place that has sangria. No issues here, just love for food!

Identity issues: I’m a walking identity issue. To prevent those negative thoughts, and many of those lovely micro-aggressions, I just say I’m white and be done with it. 

Micro-aggressions, Or How to Quickly Piss Me Off: 

  • I’m too “white” to be Latina.

  • You talk too much like a white girl. 

  • You’re too smart to be Latina or You’re like, the only smart Latina I know. 

  • Wow, a Mexican girl who doesn’t have a kid? 

  • No, where are you really from? 

And just so we’re clear, ignorance knows no race. I’ve heard every single one of these comments come from whites, [Black people]  and even other Latinas. 

Things I’d like to see less of:

  • “No, where are you really from?” Seriously, stop it. 

  • Stop fetishizing women of color. We’re human beings, not porn categories. 

  • Jokes about Asian men’s penis size. It’s not funny, and it’s not going to make you friends.

  • Idiots on the internet. Hey, I can dream. 

Things I’d like to see more of:

  • Well written interracial relationships. Not just about a white guy and the flavor of the month. 

  • More well written Native American characters. 

  • More diverse lit, shows and films. Preferably more diverse sci-fi stuff. Cuz I leik sci-fi.

Tropes/Stereotypes I’m tired of seeing:

  • Say it with me now: No more Latino stereotypes! No more “fiery Latinas”, maids or drug dealers. If the character is a maid or dealer, at least write them realistically. 

  • Female characters getting killed/raped/tortured/kidnapped as a plot device, to shock, or to motivate the male character. 

  • Stereotypical Muslim villains, or helpless Muslim women who need Americans to save them. 

  • No more outdated stereotypes. It’s 2016, time to move on. 

Becoming More Brown Among the White Canvas

You become so much more proud
unapologetically brown
so aware of your mother tongue
so aware of the path you crawled
to open these university doors

Because you come from vecinos
that can’t retell a story
of attending higher ed
a familia with zero history
of enrollment.

Bills and food were priority.
Not the need to study.

You come from ninos
who don’t have teachers
and doctors that look like them.
An absence of graduates.

You come from the bets
your familia placed on you
like a new card in la loteria –
el estudiante – a first generation dream
crossing borders
of low funded schools
to search for yourself
in curriculum
that doesn’t reflect you.

You are the product
of a familia who left
their entire vidas
on the other side of la frontera.
Now they work like machines
to give you a shot at a dream.

So for the first time ever
you walk through halls and classrooms
like an endangered species
surrounded by students and professors
that don’t look like you.
Surrounded in students
who don’t understand you.
Surrounded in the feeling
that you don’t belong.

You carry your mother’s esperanza
in your palms and it feels like a brush
you will use to color
the endless white canvas
that surrounds you.

And you will paint it with the taste
of overcoming a tangled tongue,
of being the first in your familia to balance
el trabajo y el estudio. You will paint
the strangeness of being the chisme
of la vecindad, with all its assumptions
and expectations.
With all of its pressures.

Can you feel
your tios and tias look to you?
Can you feel your primas and primos
look up to you?
Can you feel your papa look
for you?

And so you turn
much more brown,
with all its beauty
and burden,
when you realize how
only your voice
in this class
carries the story
of what it means
to be a prodigy
of your people.

With the pen cradled
in your palm
you listen to the voices
whisper the endless prayer
in your ears…
hechale ganas
para que tu, como yo,
no te quebres la espalda
mi hija, mi hijo.

—  Eric Eztli (frommyblood.tumblr.com) 

This year, Disney premiered its first Latina princess: Elena Castillo Flores, better known as Elena of Avalor. She sings and plays guitar, she goes on adventures, rules her kingdom and has her own highly rated animated TV show.

The 16-year-old crown princess had been trapped in an amulet for 41 years (so technically, she’s 57 — which might make her one of Disney’s oldest princesses, but that’s another story). Her backstory begins when another animated Disney princess, Sofia the First, sets her free. Elena confronts the evil sorceress Shuriki, voiced by Jane Fonda, who killed her parents and took over the kingdom.

Elena avenges her parents, drives Shuriki out, and begins her reign over the port city of Avalor. “She is the first princess actively ruling her kingdom, and I think that’s new,” says Aimee Carrero, the Dominican-Puerto Rican actress who lends her voice to Elena. “So she has a day job. You know, there’s no Prince Charming, she’s her own hero. She’s learning that leadership is about sacrifice, and not about this sort of totalitarian control over the people she rules — and sort of resembles more of a president than princess. There’s never been a better time to tell this story.”

‘Elena Of Avalor’ Takes The Throne As Disney’s First Latina Princess

Image: Disney Channel

32 Musical Artists You Can Support if You Care About Media Representation

Alright, we can all have endless debates about whether Taylor Swift is feminist or not, but the best way to make sure we see progressive representation in music is to actually listen to and support marginalized artists. I have a massive music library, so here are a few musicians I’ve picked out for people looking to support artists who are LGBTQ, racial/religious minorities, disabled, or otherwise underrepresented in their various genres. Please feel free to pass it around and add to it! I don’t listen to these artists because they’re [insert marginalized status here], I listen to them because I believe each of them is a talented musician deserving of exposure and each of them has at least a handful of excellent songs. Some of them create art that specifically deals with minority status. Some do not. I cannot guarantee that none of them have said or done awful things any more than I can anyone else who I only know through listening to their music; I also cannot say that they haven’t done great things.

The Internet A project by Odd Future collaborators Syd tha Kyd and Matt Martians, The Internet is a hip-hop neo-soul group, slickly produced and with huge, foreboding atmospheres. Syd tha Kyd is an openly gay woman of Jamaican descent. Their most recent album, ‘Ego Death’, was released this year. Listen to: “Get Away”

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Angel Haze At the age of only 23, Angel Haze already has an extensive discography of mixtapes, on which they rap with dexterous flow and fierce conviction with pop-friendly choruses. Angel most famously did their own cover of Eminem’s ‘Cleaning Out My Closet’ in which they detail their childhood sexual abuse in gut-wrenching detail. They are a genderqueer artist of African and Native-American descent. They have a new mixtape, Back to the Woods, coming out September 14th. Listen: “Werkin’ Girls”
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Antony & the Johnsons/Anohni One of the most prominent transgender musicians in the indie scene, Antony’s milky, dolorous voice has been her calling card for her erudite chamber-pop since 2000. She is currently working on an album under the name Anohni. Listen: “Hope There’s Someone”
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Samantha Crain Samantha Crain makes plaintive and delicate music that straddles the line between folk and alt rock while telling detailed stories of the American working class. Her new album, 'Under Branch & Thorn & Tree’, came out this year. She is of Choctaw heritage. Listen: “Elk City”
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Torres Brooklyn artist Torres’ new album, Sprinter, is a nine-song tour de force about religion, adulthood, anxiety and homoeroticism. She is currently touring with Garbage. Listen: “Strange Hellos”
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FKA twigs
FKA twigs is a British musician and dancer whose sparse, sensual electronic music is at the forefront of a new incarnation of R&B. She is of Jamaican and Spanish descent. She recently released an EP titled 'M3LL155X’. Listen: “Two Weeks”
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Keep reading

"Next Village Over" Face Mixed Woman

My mother is Black, Puerto Rican, Possible Native American (see below) and Danish. My father is Scottish, Irish, Welsh, and German. I have a look that a Military boyfriend once told me military intelligence called “One Village Over” because I could be dropped in lots of countries and blend in as a local.

Something that needs saying: Back in the day, in the South, it was safer to be Native American than Black. In some cases, people’s “Cherokee” ancestors may have been Black or Mixed Race people who wrote themselves down as whatever the local tribe was in self defense. This may not have always been the case, but I feel it needs to be said with all the romanticizing of ancestry and “my great-great-great grandmother was a Cherokee Princess!” Holy crap. I’m a romantic, yes, and some stuff really is better with princesses, but your family tree isn’t necessarily one of those things.

Culture: My mother raised me more Puerto Rican than anything. I am very very stereotypically Western feminine in many ways and I was planning a Quince Años. Sadly, my 15th birthday would have been 09/26/2001. Yup, 15 days after the Twin Towers were hit. I felt it was heinously inappropriate, growing up in a DC suburb, to have a massive party and celebration of life that close to such a tragedy. So I cancelled.

I have regretted it ever since. I am the only girl cousin for a few generations. I watched, however, as my Latinx classmates went off to buy a pink dress, or white if you were super traditional, tried on tiaras and took waltz lessons. It always felt a little like my womanhood had been forgotten. I was coddled by my family until I was in my mid-twenties, and, even though I hit puberty shockingly early (9 years old), I was always the “baby”.

I am now nearing 30 and have decided to fix this. My mother and I embraced the writings of Jill Connor Browne in my teen years and I feel that “if no-one has (crowned me Quinceañera) by now, it’s high time I do it myself.” Being mixed race, I’ve always come at my cultural heritage at an angle, so the fact that I am not traditionally Christian, not a teenage girl, and using a Geeky theme seems oddly fitting.

Daily struggles: 

“Where are you from?” (Virginia.)

“What race are you?” (Mixed. Most people don’t believe me if I tell them.)

“I just love *insert whatever race they think I am here* women!” (Just stop. That isn’t a compliment. Even if you get it right. Some women have a kink for being fetishized. Not me.)

People speaking Spanish to me. Sometimes they change it up and use Korean, Greek, Tagalog, Kreyol, or some other language I only know by sound. (I speak English, a tiny bit of Spanish, a little French and only enough German, Japanese and Latin to get in trouble at parties. Stop assuming I speak a language because you think you know my Ethnicity.)

Identity issues: I don’t JUST identify as Latinx. I am also Black and White. I have had doctors default to assuming I’m White, which might kill me if they misdiagnose me because “you can’t possibly have that disease! You aren’t Black/Spanish enough.” Of course, it’s just as troubling when they decide I’m Latinx and immediately hand me a doctor/nurse who starts speaking Spanish at me, because I forgot most of my Spanish when circumstances put me in a French immersion school.

Also, there is a stereotype that Latinx people are uneducated or are lazy about education and will find any excuse to slack off at school. I read everything I can. Always have. I come from a very well-to-do Puerto Rican family and my mother was a scientist’s daughter, so I was not allowed to be a lazy student. It always confused my classmates that I was in advanced English and History, but in Special Education Math and Science. Surely, if I was Special Ed., I must be a “lazy, troublemaking Latina”. At least one teacher had this impression as well, and seemed to go out of her way to treat me as such, as well as dismissing my depression as “needing to think positive”. I am still shedding that baggage and trying to teach myself that I am not stupid or lazy or a troublemaker.

Tropes/Stereotypes I’m tired of seeing:

“Spicy Latina” (I identify as Latinx. But, I was born shy, and sass and sex appeal do not come naturally to me. Latinx people can be confident and sexy and sassy, but please, make them more than that and don’t let that be all of them.)

Lazy Latino Criminal/in-the-making (Plenty of Latinx folk are studious and lawful. We aren’t all illegals and most illegals are just trying to make a living, so really? How lazy is that?)

Strident Catholic Latinxs (I was raised Episcopalian and am now Unitarian Universalist leaning towards Spiritualist/Low Christianity. My relatives in Puerto Rico are mostly Episcopalian, Baptist and Lutheran.)

All Latinx Witches are Brujos (Brujeria is Central American. Other cultures may have their own different syncretic faiths, because they have different cultures backing them. Yoruba is not Igbo is not  Asante. Mexico is not Cuba is not Brazil.)

Thanks for your time!

Because I haven’t seen this...

Shout out to my Latina girls

Shout out to my Latina girls that can’t speak or can speak very little Spanish. You’re still Latina and your identity is valid

shout out to my Latina girls that have a thick accent when speaking English and get made fun of. 

Shout out to my Latina girls that feel left out from their family because they’re too “americanized”. There’s nothing wrong with you. You’ve been raised differently and that’s okay. Make your own culture.

Shout out to my Latina girls that have a lot of hair. It’s okay. it’s natural. You don’t need to change for anyone but yourself.

Shout out to my Latina girls that don’t have the large breasts or big butt that we seem to have become known for. Those traits do not define beauty. You’re beautiful.

Shout out to my Latina girls that are told by their parents that they have to find a husband at a young age. You don’t need to get married if you don’t want to. Go out and live your own life.

Shout out to my Latina girls that are told they’re perpetuating a stereotype by being emotional. Your emotions are valid. You are not perpetuating anything.

Shout out to my Latina girls that are told they are “too white” or “too black” to actually be Latina. Brown is not the only color. Being Latina is a culture and it is a spectrum. You’re still Latina.

Shout out to my Latina girls that are constantly mistaken for Mexican, even when you have said which country you’re from. Some people just group us into one group. You don’t have to deal with that.

Shout out to my Latina girls that don’t like to wear makeup. You don’t need to wear makeup if you don’t want to.

Shout out to my Latina girls that DO wear makeup. You’re rocking it and keep on being you.

Shout out to my Latina girls that have short hair. Short hair does not mean masculine. Rock that short hair and keep being you.

Shout out to Latina girls that are told to just jump back over the border and go home. You deserve to be here. Don’t let anyone make you think different

Shout out to Latina girls

Hispanic term and the racism in itself

I can’t even begin to explain why the term “Hispanic” makes me cringe on so many levels.
The term was coined in the 60’s during the Nixon administration who felt the need to add the term to describe and categorize the growing population of people from countries in Central and South America. It derives from the Latin term “Hispania” meaning Spain. People from Countries below the U.S. are not just Spanish, they are Mestizo of Native and other European countries. Hispanic connects back to Columbus and what he founded, Hispaniola, which was an island in the Caribbean, never did he actually settle in the actual American continent.
Hispanic is a term coined to us by our oppressors. What does Hispanic look like when we are a complete mix? We know what White, Black, Native, and Asian look like.
The problem with many places asking for your race and/or ethnicity is the option of “Non-White Hispanic”. This brings racism into people that are already being oppressed. It makes those descending from Central and Southern American countries believe that there is a privilege in being light skin and brings racism and oppression towards those who are not. Racism in an oppressed race.
As the daughter of a light skin Mexican and a dark skin Mexican, I’ve seen my parents struggle in filling out papers such as the census, and when it comes to me being a mix of both and my rejection of the term “Hispanic”, where do I stand? My father is a mix of the Chichimec tribes and other things as well as my mom despite having very different skin colors. I am not White. I am not Black. I am not Native. I am not Asian. Maybe I’m a mix of all.
The term Hispanic connects those that descend from countries south of the U.S. Border to Spain when we have been too mixed and too removed from it, where the only thing we probably hold from it is the language and describing us as “Spanish people” is even more incorrect.
The absence of even considering those from countries in Central and South America in things like the census is even more racist. Experts need to come up with a correct term. Maybe Brown or Mestizo. This just needs to be addressed and solved. At least this is my perspective and feelings towards it

Yes I’m Latina, I was born in Argentina, I’ve lived in Peru and now I’m living in Spain. My identity had been constructed with my surroundings and with that part of the Latina identity I grew up with. But also my ethnicity and my identification had always and will always be Jewish above all.

Identity is complex af but I get to the idea that the circumstances that my family went through led us to live in Latin america and of course I identify very proudly as a Latina Jew.
My ethnicity is Jewish, my identification is Latina Jewish. And I’m pretty sure this is a very common Jewish diaspora feel.

Female Mexican-American Teenager

I’m Michelle, a Chicana girl (though my grandfather is Italian), and I live by Chicago. My dad grew up in Michoacan, but I think my mom grew up nearby. I was raised here and I’ve only visited Mexico twice.

Food
I grew up with a mix of American and Mexican cuisine, since sometimes my dad, who slept during the day, would cook, and other times my mom would pick something up or let me cook . We often eat tacos of carne asada, rice, refried beans, pico de gallo, tamales, pozole (on special occasions when my aunts came over), etc. The rest of the time I have pasta, steak, hot dogs, pizza, fried chicken, etc. Almost all meals include tortillas. For the most part I enjoy food from both groups, but I didn’t like any kinds of sauce or toppings, except for cilantro or spaghetti sauce.

Beauty Standards/Clothing
I used to wear pretty girly clothing as a little kid, but I got sick of dresses and constricting clothing after a while. Once I began to manage myself, I rarely wore dresses, kept a loose, low ponytail at all times, and wore much less pink. My mom only got really annoyed when I insist that I don’t want to wear a dress to a formal thing, but she often tells me to tie my hair up more tightly. It was pretty annoying.

Language
My first language was Spanish, but it was almost completely replaced by English when I went into preschool. I can still understand Spanisn, and I can write in it a bit, but I can’t really speak it. The reason for this was that nearly all my relatives spoke it, so I picked up a bit from their gossip and debates. However, I didn’t want to risk looking like a fool, so I rarely even tried speaking to them. My Spanish grammar is okay, but I have a cruddy vocabulary and few opportunities to practice. My dad speaks to us in it half the time because his English isn’t the best, but it’s not enough. Honestly I just hope I can improve enough by myself so I can practice more with others, because I don’t want to be embarrassed.

Micro-aggressions
I don’t really get much of this, since I go to school in a pretty diverse area. However, my Mexican friend told me that I was the “whitest Mexican” that she knew, which really hurt. She’s still a good friend, though.

Dating and Relationships
I was never really into boys as much as other girls, but my mom still told me to wait before dating. I’m in high school and I still don’t really see the appeal.

Religion
I’m a Roman Catholic. I was baptized and raised as one, and my mom still makes me come to Mass on Sundays. My grandmas were/are really religious, but my dad isn’t really. I went to a Catholic elementary school, and still do for high school. Despite this, being a Catholic is my choice and I wouldn’t change for the world.

Identity Issues
I guess I don’t really think of myself as either American or Mexican, but as both. I just wish I could’ve learned more about my language and culture while I was young, but now it’s up to me. I sometimes fear that I’m not “Mexican enough”.

Academics
My parents really want me and my 4 siblings to get straight As in school, but I have like zero work ethic. My siblings and I are actually all above average intelligence, but it’s really hard to meet expectations. Any grade below a C could get you hit with the belt and sent to work. Still, it could be worse.
My knowledge of Spanish, though limited, actually helps during Latin class, and I placed in half the tests I took at a classics convention. I also really like geometry, algebra, science, and history.

Things I’m tired of seeing
Overly sexual Latinas- I get it, people can be sexual however they like. That doesn’t mean that every other Latina portrayed has to be some temptress.
Lazy Mexicans- While they exist, only a few I know are actually really lazy, and that’s only sometimes.

Well, that’s it I guess.

anonymous asked:

Wait but legit question are Suriname and Guyana not considered Latino countries? Or the other smaller countries in the Caribbean?

It’s complicated. Surinam and Guyana were colonized by both the English and the Dutch.  However, both areas also have some Caribbean cultural intermingling and Spanish influence. Both areas even are members of CARICOM (The Caribbean Community group). 

Surinam and Guyana also have many citizens of varying ethnicities, not only from the surrounding areas but also people of East Asian and Indian origin. etc Since, there is a lot of of travel and movement in the Americas if a person living in either wants to identify as Latinx or Latin@ they can.

We’d appreciate some feedback from our Guyanese and Surinamese readers on how you identify and any corrections on the above statements. I’m Cuban, so my knowledge of areas further away from the island is mostly academic and spotty in some places!

N

I remember a couple of years back when I was first really beginning to own my Latina identity I decided to go through the “Latina” tag on tumblr to see if I found any stories about successful Latinas. The only thing I remember seeing that day was porn, not just scantily clad women in bikinis but completely naked pictures, labia, fellatio, the whole nine yards. And if you try it right now with safe search off, it’s the same story. It’s sad that young Latinas don’t have a safe space. When we search for empowerment we find degradation.

American born to immigrant parents from Dominican Republic.

Hello! I’ve been following this blog for a while. And I’ve decided to contribute and submit this POC profile because I find it great to share personal experiences regarding cultural differences, etc. I’m American-born to immigrant parents both from the Dominican Republic.

Beauty Standards

I grew up in a city that is just a cultural mesh of all kinds of people. My mother always had the Spanish channels on all the time. Therefore the beauty standards that I learned were about being thin, stylishly dressed and sensual. My mother has always been a bit over protective, which lead to her pointing out my weight when I entered my adolescence. I’ve never been the “ideal” weight.

Even to this day, my mother, father and family members never fail to point out the need for me to “get in shape”. I feel that in spanish-speaking cultures especially in the US. There is this need to look aesthetically pleasing. If it’s any sign, look at the tv anchors for telemundo and univision. Those ladies are always on-point with their looks.

Clothing

The stereotype of the “hot latina woman” was very prevalent all around, and I was never comfortable with being sexy. When wearing tight pants 2 sizes too small was all the rage almost 10 years ago, I wore loosely comfortable pants and button shirts. Overalls, and sweater jackets. My fashion sense was terrible. (it’s still it is but that’s not the point) As a teen I wasn’t comfortable to dressing feminine, with being a woman. I felt this pressure to be “sexy” to get a boyfriend. If I didn’t, I have a meaningful social life. Or else I don’t mean anything. I came to the point where I rejected my identity and wanted to be a man instead. Because there was no such pressure placed on my brothers, and my other male peers for outward appearance. (or so I thought)

My 15th birthday was one where I felt like the most ugliest person alive. Ironically, I was dressed up in a pale floral dress with makeup and a small crown. A little girl called me “princess”. Till this day looking at those pictures still make me sick.

As I got older I grew to terms to accepting myself, accepting my gender, and wearing dresses for myself, and not to impress any one or any man. I also realized that I am also attractive. It is something that I still work on till this very day.

Culture

White culture was something that was taught to me by the television. Because I grew up in a city filled with immigrants and various cultural backgrounds–the closest thing that came to a white person was that Polish immigrant that painted empty apartments with my father and spoke heavily accented English. The Italians that once held a strong presence in the town before more waves of Peruvians, Mexicans and Dominicans that started coming in over the years. I even considered Jewish people to be white.

However my perspective changed drastically when I moved and lived for five years in a small town out of state. I was in a predominantly white neighborhood, in a house in the center of surburbia. I’d stare in awe seeing the rows and rows of houses. “it’s just like those shows in tv.” kept thinking over and over.

Naturally I’ve come to realize the differences in food, because it was hard to find the seasonings and ingredients that my mother needed to make food.  There was a small Dominican community living there, so we had to buy withered platanos for twice the original price cuz it was the only fuckin bodega within ten blocks.

I experienced racism for the first time there. The looks I’ve got and tense atmospherie I’d feel when all I wanted was to hold light conversation. And  the stories I’ve heard about this town. About a year or so before we moved in, the mayor there signed a bill to get rid all the illegal immigrants working in the factories and warehouses in the area. tons of Mexicans, and Koreans left, leaving the many of the houses open for rent and or purchase. “They couldn’t get us [Domnicans] out even if they tried because we all have our papers”

The experience just blew my mind. One day my brother was crossing the street and an old woman called out “Go back to Puerto Rico!” When my brother later told me, we both had a huge laugh about it.

Imagine! I was raised in an environment were the only reason you’d be hated on was if you managed to get those new pair of Jordans before anyone else.

My sister went to the highschool there, and picked up the accent that the white kids spoke and made a couple of friends that she holds to this day. I worked various jobs, and I met and did befriend nice people. But the way of the life there was so dead and solitary. I was never able to adapt and eventually moved back. Naturally the experience stayed with me, and since then I became more aware of the subliminal racism that happens even in my area every once and a while.

Daily struggles

Thankfully I don’t have a predominate struggle when it comes to terms of race because of the area I live in. I used to perm-straighened my hair for years. But I’ve decided to stop mainly because the treatment was irritating my scalp and learned to accept my natural hair and teach myself different ways to maintain them.

Dating and Relationships

I don’t have a type (bad bitches is the only thing I like~) I find myself attracted to all different types of cultures, but I only dated latinos. Because I worried about what my family would say if I ever got into a biracial relationship. My family will roast anyone alive they find  them too ‘foreign’. Often my Aunt would tease me telling me not to marry a ‘chino’ (aka meaning asian) when see caught me watching anime.

Food

Thankfully I’ve come to be very open to try all kinds of food. I’ve grown to like food with seasoning because of my mother’s cooking. I just don’t like spicy food, but I’ve learned to eat food with some spice because my mother hates picky eaters and I thank her for that. Because I experienced new foods because of the mentality that she built in me.


History

I think I’ve said enough of my own history. My parents history I’ll make it brief. My mother grew up in the countryside while my father was from the city. They both moved to American in different times, and met in the same city.


Holidays

Holidays were always celebrated with my family but my fam has a lot of drama so over the years my immediate family started celebrating special occasions together.


Home/Family life/Friendships

Most of my friends that I make are online, and the one that I made in tech college that stayed talking to me long after I dropped out. And two high school friends. And a sprinkle of acquaintances from throughout my lifetime.  Family life encompasses most of my social life because I’m a homebody. The friends of my sisters are mine as well and etc.

Because in latino culture it’s normal for mothers/grandparents to live in the house with their adult children, my mother lives with us. She really can’t hold a job due to her health, and she cooks. Me and my siblings pay the bills it’s a win-win.

Identity issues

When I was a child, I always thought I was Dominican. But my aunts and uncles would laugh and point out. “No child! You’re a gringa, you’re Americana.” And I never felt “American” I thought that label belonged to the white cowboy, shotgun blasting roasting baby back ribs fourth of july people.

But honestly your nationality is determined where you are born. I was born and raised in the US. The fact of the matter is the “American image” is multifaceted. There is no right image. If you’re talking about right image, the true American image are of the indigenous peoples that were here in the first place. When I came to realize that. I’ve come to brace who I am, an call myself American.

It’s easy for a child of immigrant parents be confused identity-wise when they are raised with the culture of their parent’s homeland.

Language

I was always taught the importance of understanding and speaking Spanish. My parents and my family’s language is part of our culture. Back then even more than today for the cost of assimilating to US and not struggle like they did; parents didn’t place importance for the American born  child to learn Spanish. Also the lack of ESL classes forces kids to feel left out and/or force them to adapt quick to the English language. (today thankfully that has changed, many of second gen children of immigrants, are in positions are bilingual, and access to many sources in both languages. also there’s tv shows that teach spanish! imagine!)

I was a late talker so I picked up English first, while understanding/listening to spanish. 5 yr old me would say to my Spanish-speaking mother. “I help you Mami!” and she stress out in the kitchen would bat me away saying in Spanish. “Go away! Nagging me with that “I hap chuu” “I hap chuu!”

Years late she realized and we just laugh about it. But it’s a upsetting the same time. I thank my family for placing importance with my language. I’ve been lazy but I want to practice writing and reading more Spanish. I also want to pick up other languages such as Italian and Japanese.  There are so many benefits to being bilingual, it truly is a key that opens many doors. No one should shame those that speak another tongue, or if they talk english with an accent.

I enjoy listening to accents, it says a lot about a person.

Things I’d like to see less of

Uneducated people and closed-minded people. The world is vast, and huge. Learning and humility is the key to to understanding and changing our filtered glasses into one that sees this world as a global community.

Things I’d like to see more of

We are on our way, bit by bit. But there still need to be more. More representation in english speaking media. Of women, of different cultures, different values, different religions. Men portrayed in different forms, strong, fragile, emotional and cold hearted, thus killing this hyper-masculinty that’s so prevalent.  I also want to see people be more open minded and humble. Humble in the sense that they are willing to listen when other expresses themselves and puts themselves in their shoes. It’s because people close themselves in their own bubble that bad things happen.

Tropes/Stereotypes I’m tired of seeing.

  • Queer/Gay/Lesbian relationship that are “hinted” so that fans end up ripping each other’s hair off in wars disputing that something is “canon” or “not canon” fuckin make that shit OBVIOUS. I’m so fuckin tired of it GFD. 
  • Close platonic relationships used as “queer baiting” for LGBTA+ fans. END THIS. PLEASE. Give them what they really need, not something half assed. I personally connect with platonic relationships because I have close friendships that I can related to. You ruin it for me, you ruin it for them because they want a legit romance. DECIDE.
  • More canon and real LGBTA+ couples. I now i’ve said this in three different ways. You must realize by now how important this is. There are some, we must continue to have more. 
  • More female leads in video games. I know that there are some, but I want more. If see another game with a limited female roster/choice I’m going to scream.
  • I’m tried of harem anime. I want to see more reverse harems done right. I can only count two  with my fingers that I’ve liked. And I’ve seen a couple. I’m not into ecchi anime I will get a hella kick out of seeing a male ecchi with a female protag and men getting camera screen shots in odd angles. Name me one that’s like that. That’s right. None exist. (and no i’m not talking about yaoi. obviously.)
  • I’m tried of badly written female characters.
  • Pitting girls against each other so then there’s hate groups and shit. stop this please. It’s bad enough we are raised to compete like roosters. I don’t need the media to reinforce that. 
  • Stop killing mothers, female lovers, female friends, significant female love interest. Please stop. I want to see a male protag have a supported mother in his life. I can guarantee with all my confidence as a writer that you can write a driven protagonist with a living mother. I swear to you by all that’s holy that you can. So please. FUCK. (I love/hate this trope because I enjoy angst but it’s TOOO overused. it’s like a cheap way out. Don’t be lazy.)

That’s it, that’s all I got. It’s a hella long profile. I hope you enjoyed. Thank you.