Tag Archives: race

Afro-Latinos and Black History Month

Black history month is known as the celebration of “Black” history in the United States and other parts of the African diaspora. Some people question the necessity having Black History month for several reasons; some of those reasons include the notion of privileging of historically disadvantaged groups and distinguishing Black history from American history. I’ve always had issues with individuals who do not acknowledge and/or realize the relevancy of Chicano, Black and, Asian-American history as American history. There is certainly a necessity within the academy for these departments. However, the standard approach to history these days is to teach an overwhelmingly Euro-centric point of view that often provides a slanted point of view.

To step away from that pattern, I wanted to post about a group that is often ignored in terms of Black History. Afro-Latinos are Latin American individuals of Black African ancestry. During the slave trade, many Africans were left in Latin American. The result was a mixture of African, Spanish, and indigenous populations that created larger cultural ties. Afro-Latinos hold a special place in society. Many often cannot conceptualize an individual who is both Black and Latino. Individuals often have to choose to be one, but not both simultaneously. Furthermore, individuals within Black and Latino communities may be to blame, due to their own criteria about what constitutes a Black and/or Latino person.

Regardless of what we think “counts,” our global communities are more extensive than we know. Today is a good day to see what these under-recognized individuals have contributed to our history.

http://latino.foxnews.com/slideshow/latino/lifestyle/2011/10/20/famous-afro-latinos/#slide=1

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WhbOc-Ft_bw

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Inspired to Reflect: Poetry Edition

Lately, I’ve come across some interesting and inspiring poetic pieces. These pieces have forced me to reflect upon the language that I use/hear on a daily basis. For instance, I unapologetically listen to rap music. I even nod my head frantically to the lyrics of Waka Flocka on a daily basis (Im a big Waka Flocka Fan. I have every mixtape on my computer). Moving on, I’m aware of negative messages in various songs, but I’m not the one to critically assess the consequences of such language in music or television or movies, on a consistent basis. If I actually do, I’m not exactly sure what the take away message is for myself. I’m not into the business of critically engaging/reviewing various art-forms because it would require me to criticize individuals for their work. This is problematic for because I do not value individuals as representatives for entire groups. However, I do realize that popular images often feed into stereotypes and stereotypes often become descriptive pieces for individuals and groups, whether they be positive or negative. So while individuals may not sign up to be role models, it comes with the territory.

Thats why after listening to the Jasmine Man piece, I decided that maybe its time for me to reflect on how language operates in my life. What do you guys think? Are there any books, articles, videos, etc that have really forced you to reflect on something like language or music in your life? (Note, this is not the first time I’ve had to do some major reflecting. I often reflect while listening to Waka Flocka and reading for my classes. Today, these videos were a different venue that I really enjoyed. )

There are certainly more out there, but here are some of my favorites. Enjoy!

Kai Davis: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=warcfh9JBmA

Jasmine Man: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Fm1IieQUmWU&feature=related

Joshua Bennett: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6gU7ItOxr9g&feature=related

Sonya Renee: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JrbUTI95o3U&feature=related

Support for Red Tails, but What About Pariah?

This past month, two great films were released : Pariah and Red Tails. Both films star a majority Black cast, but only one of the films has received big attention. The director of the film Red Tails, George Lucas, financed the film with his own money. He stated that Hollywood would not finance the film because of its “all black cast.” To get viewer support, many have suggested that Black movie lovers support the film because of the all black cast. Wait…support the movie because of the Black cast? Not support the film because of the good plot, good actors, and potentially good message? I have mixed feelings on the propaganda being used to promote the film. I understand the issues surrounding minority actors in Hollywood. I understand the history surrounding the limiting roles that minority actors often get. I understand the issues and I am able to sympathize. However, if we’re in the business of supporting films solely because of the race of the cast, then why are we not showing the same amount of love for the film Pariah?

The film Pariah also delivers a heart-warming story that is sure to be interesting to viewers across the country. The film also explores the relationships between race, family, and sexuality. Although I have not read any articles about potential hindering factors for the film, I suspect the taboo subject of Black queers may be part of the problem.

Additionally, it is problematic that the film has not been promoted and supported in a similar fashion to the Red Tails promotion. Unlike others, I urge everyone to see both films. Red Tails is a gripping story that explores the events of World War II from an often ignored perspective. Pariah is an emotional story about a teenage who struggles to balance her race and sexuality in a conservative household. Both films have something to offer audiences everywhere. Give them both a chance. I know I will. For more information on the two films, read below:

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/01/19/red-tails-film-review_n_1216235.html

http://madamenoire.com/129405/will-black-cinema-survive-if-red-tails-fails-yes/

Possible Voting Restrictions for Blacks and Latinos/as

Recently, many articles have been released about potential threats to voting rights for Blacks and Latinas/os in the upcoming Presidential election. Considering the history of disenfranchisement in this country, the recent news has been alarming for many activist groups. Furthermore, the potential disenfranchisement of several minority voters could possibly be helpful for Republican hopefuls who are looking to for a big election win. For those who are not familiar with the new legislation that has been passed in several states, read the articles below:

http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2011/dec/05/civil-rights-naacp-voter-warning

http://www.thenation.com/blog/163755/gop-voting-laws-could-swing-2012-election

http://www.good.is/post/new-voting-restrictions-will-affect-five-million-voters-in-2012/

One of the most interesting sections of the first article was the block quote below:

Studies have showed that the proportion of voters who do not have access to valid photo ID cards is much higher among older African-Americans because they were not given birth certificates in the days of segregation. Students and young voters also often lack identification and are thus in danger of being stripped of their right to vote.

This block quote was interesting for me because it highlighted the intersection between two critical groups: young/student voters and minority voters. As a young student of color, it could possibly seem as though voting is an impossible task. However, instead of feeling defeated, all students should look up the requirements for voting in the their state. If you happen to me an out-of-state student like myself, absentee voting is also a possibility. Check out the link below to see the process:

http://www.brennancenter.org/studentvoting

Sadly, some states have restrictive laws that make it impossible for college students to vote, regardless of their eligibility. Some of the restrictions arise from issues of government identification, residency, and school identification. For more information on this issue, read the articles below:

http://aspanational.wordpress.com/2012/01/05/college-students-denied-voting-rights/

http://campusprogress.org/articles/tennessee_voter_id_law_excludes_college_students/

Overall, the issue of voting restrictions is very problematic. Instead of allowing these political tactics to defeat minority voters, we must educate ourselves about the alternative options available to us. We can spread information about early voting, acceptable forms of identification, required amounts of identification, absentee voting, and so on. Voting is an important right that should not be taken away. The election will be here in no time, and we do have the power to rock the vote and take what is ours.

http://www.usatoday.com/news/politics/story/2011-12-11/early-voting-laws-minority/51816886/1

http://www.declareyourself.com/voting_faq/state_by_state_info_2.html

http://www.ncsl.org/legislatures-elections/elections-campaigns/voter-id-state-requirements.aspx