With “Welcome Centers” set up and dozens of buses reportedly ready to transport residents who suddenly find themselves without a country, the Dominican Republic is prepared to forcibly deport people whose roots extend to the other side of Hispaniola. In his BuzzFeed essay, writer Daniel José Older makes it clear that Latinos living in the United States need to mount a vocal defense of their darker-skinned brothers and sisters.
Some Latino news sites were slower even than mainstream outlets to acknowledge the ongoing crisis facing hundreds of thousands of Dominicans….
Sadly, we can’t be surprised by this silence. Antiblackness has run deep in the Latino community as long as there’s been a Latino community. Much like the wider American mythology of a glorious melting pot, we love waxing faux-etic about the multilayered fabric of our identity: We are a tapestry; we are a taco, a mofongo, a paella—so many flavors! In truth, we are a shattered family, a house deeply divided by white supremacy and colorism. It’s as true in Latin America—yes, even Cuba—as it is in the United States.
Watching the news can make you feel like racism against blacks worldwide is on the rise, but what we’re really seeing is the hard work of dedicated activists demanding that the world pay attention, often for the first time, to ongoing legacies of police violence, cultural appropriation, mass displacement. There is nothing new about state violence against black life. And these are truths we all need to address directly in order to heal and move forward.
Click through to read the rest of Older’s thoughts on why people should stop talking about Latino and black as if they are mutually exclusive, how Hispanic culture is being whitewashed and why U.S. Latinos who don’t advocate for the Dominicans of Haitian descent who are being ripped from their homes are complicit in their displacement.