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How I’m Unlearning the White Supremacist Lies That Latinidad Taught Me


Rising up Dominican, I used to be continually uncovered to messages that glorified white magnificence requirements and minimized the worth of my Black identification. There is no such thing as a denying that the diaspora has an advanced relationship with Blackness and colorism. The pervasive affect of white supremacy was evident in each facet of my life, from the media I consumed to the societal expectations enforced upon me. Though I like my Blackness, the vestiges of white supremacy exist deep within the cloth of who I’m as an individual. It has taken years of self-reflection to acknowledge the dangerous influence of those beliefs and start the method of unlearning white supremacy. So I’ve resolved to proceed strengthening my relationship with my negritud by exploring how I subconsciously middle whiteness and by celebrating my Blackness much more. 

One of the crucial important steps in unlearning white supremacy has been recognizing and difficult my very own internalized anti-Blackness. As an Afro-Latina, society has conditioned me to view Blackness as one thing from which to distance myself. However by means of training and self-reflection, I’ve realized to honor and uplift the experiences of Black individuals throughout the Latine neighborhood and to problem anti-Blackness in all its varieties.

In 2019, I started rejecting white supremacy by releasing the chokehold straight hair had on me. I stopped straightening my hair and commenced to study and love my pure texture. This will likely sound easy, however whenever you develop accustomed to seeing a selected picture of your self, change may be uncomfortable and even destabilizing. 

“I’ve resolved to proceed strengthening my relationship with my negritud by exploring how I subconsciously middle whiteness and by celebrating my Blackness much more.”

Annell López

Society’s slim definition of magnificence and the media’s portrayal of Latinas as solely light-skinned and European-looking had warped my understanding of what was fascinating and acceptable. I grew up associating curly hair with a laissez-faire perspective. If I needed to be thought-about severe and clever, I wanted to get my hair straightened. And if I needed to really feel like my greatest self, I wanted to get my hair straightened, even when doing so was impractical, costly, and damaging. I didn’t all the time see curly hair as skilled and even lovely. Sporting my hair in its pure type was one thing I did as a final resort after I couldn’t get myself to the closest salon. It took me years to grasp that to look elegant, I didn’t must do something completely different to my hair: No, I didn’t want straight hair to attend somebody’s wedding ceremony, or my commencement, or a job interview. My means to look lovely or refined didn’t require spending hours in a salon to change, by means of chemical compounds and warmth, my hair’s pure texture.

Apart from my hair and bodily look, I’m embracing interrogating myself as a solution to stay intentional about centering Blackness as a result of I acknowledge that it’s not all the time intuitive. To deepen my relationship with my negritud, I’m inspecting each facet of my life by means of the lens of my Blackness and asking myself essential questions: In what methods do I proceed to assimilate into white supremacy? What components of my Black identification and tradition have I forgotten to understand? What cultural traditions have roots within the erasure of my Blackness with the intention to reinforce Eurocentrism? In what methods am I compromising and codeswitching to make my Blackness extra palatable? 

I additionally need to look into the previous and ask myself: Which historic figures have I not realized about? What literature, artwork, and media am I not consuming or supporting? Who’re the unsung heroes of my neighborhood whose tales have been uncared for due to their Blackness? 

“In what methods do I proceed to assimilate into white supremacy? What components of my Black identification and tradition have I forgotten to understand? What cultural traditions have roots within the erasure of my Blackness with the intention to reinforce Eurocentrism? In what methods am I compromising and codeswitching to make my Blackness extra palatable?”

ANNELL LÓPEZ

Within the custom of Alice Walker, who helped deliver consciousness to Zora Neale Hurston, I need to use my time and assets to study concerning the phenomenal Black of us who’ve been left within the margins of Dominican and Latine historical past. I’m dedicated to diving into books, documentaries, and on-line assets that spotlight the contributions and struggles of Afro-Latinos.

In my follow of centering Blackness, I’ve hung out studying about José Francisco Peña Gomez, Mamá Tingó, and Esteban Hotesse — historic figures who’re central to the material of Dominican and U.S. cultures however do not need sufficient recognition or acclaim.  Studying about these trailblazers has given me a way of delight and validation. I need to proceed discovering the legacy of Afro-Latines who’ve made important contributions to artwork, literature, music, and social justice actions. 

Unlearning white supremacy and embracing my Afro-Latina identification has additionally given me a way of duty. I need to problem the stereotypes and misconceptions surrounding Afrolatinidad and Blackness. For a lot of Black of us throughout the diaspora, anti-Blackness, self-hate, and even making an attempt to “go” appear crucial for survival. It’s essential to deal with this dialog with empathy and the understanding that most individuals need to dwell their most genuine lives, however society has conditioned them to internalize anti-Blackness as a solution to cope. 

“The follow of unlearning white supremacy as an Afro-Latina is ongoing. It requires fixed self-reflection, training, and a dedication to difficult the established order. It means recognizing that unlearning white supremacy isn’t just about private progress but in addition collective liberation. “

ANNELL LÓPEZ

A part of my unlearning and confronting white supremacy has been ensuring I talk about Blackness and colorism at dwelling with my household and likewise in my writing. In my fiction, I write about characters who problem anti-Blackness and embrace their Blackness with love and compassion for themselves and one another — one thing that doesn’t all the time come naturally to many people who’ve been taught to favor, have a good time, and latch on to our proximity to whiteness. I concentrate on these themes in my writing as a result of I consider in including to this much-needed dialog. I’ve come to grasp that this unlearning isn’t nearly me. It additionally includes anybody impacted by the footprints of colonialism and white supremacy.

Thus far this has been a journey of empowerment. Right now, I proudly put on my curly hair with out feeling guilt or disgrace. I have a good time the Afro-centric components of Dominican tradition, our bachata and merengue, which have African roots. I have a good time the wealthy and colourful metaphors of my Dominican Spanish in addition to its rhythmic cadence. I learn the works of Edwidge Danticat, Melania Luisa Marte, Elizabeth Acevedo, Cleyvis Natera, Kleaver Cruz, and Lorraine Avila. I actively search to study Black historical past and proceed to prioritize the visibility of my Black ancestors and contemporaries. 

The follow of unlearning white supremacy as an Afro-Latina is ongoing. It requires fixed self-reflection, training, and a dedication to difficult the established order. It means recognizing that unlearning white supremacy isn’t just about private progress but in addition collective liberation. There may be nonetheless a lot unlearning to do, and I’m wanting ahead to it. 

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