The Problem With Latinidad

Posted in Articles, Latino Studies, Media Archive, Politics/Public Policy, Social Justice, Social Science, United States on 2019-09-18 01:03Z by Steven

The Problem With Latinidad

The Nation

Miguel Salazar

A growing community of young, black, and indigenous people are questioning the very identity underpinning Hispanic Heritage Month.

Every September 15, a flurry of independence days across Central America—in Nicaragua, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras—kicks off National Hispanic Heritage Month, a celebration of Latin culture that lasts through mid-October. For Latin Americans and their descendants, the month is a time to celebrate shared cultures and customs across nationalities. For others in the United States, it provides an opportunity to educate Americans about a growing demographic that, like most minorities, has long been relegated to the margins of US history and, over the past half-century, has worn many hats—“Latin American,” “Hispanic,” “Latino,” and most recently, “Latinx.” Now, however, a growing number of writers, activists, and academics are questioning the very underpinnings of this common identity, an idea known as Latinidad (loosely translated as “Latino-ness”).

Historically, the forging of this ethnic identity has been understood as a necessity in the face of white supremacy and anti-Mexican Juan Crow laws. In response to recent events, it’s been useful for raising awareness of migrant family separations, Washington’s insistence on militarizing borders in Mexico and Central America, and mass shooters warning of a “Hispanic invasion” of the United States. Even so, its most vocal critics, who are often young and black or indigenous, have not minced words in their critique of what they see as an exclusionary identity fabricated by—and for the benefit of—white and mestizo elites and the American political class.

I spoke about the recent rejection of Latinidad with the journalists, organizers, and thinkers at the forefront of this conversation. We talked about what determines who is allowed to claim the term, what purpose it serves, and whether the identity is useful as a category anymore…

Read the entire interview here.

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When it Comes to Latinidad, Who Is Included and Who Isn’t?

Posted in Anthropology, Articles, Caribbean/Latin America, Latino Studies, Media Archive, United States on 2019-07-31 20:28Z by Steven

When it Comes to Latinidad, Who Is Included and Who Isn’t?


Janel Martinez

At the top of November 2018, an Instagram meme created by writer Alan Pelaez Lopez went viral. The Afro-Indigenous (Zapotec) activist placed the term Latinidad on a car making a sharp right turn at an exit. At the top of the image, the road sign that points ahead lists, “admitting racism & anti-Blackness exists & a commitment to build solidarity with Black and Indigenous people.” The arrow pointing right notes, “mestiza supremacy & your insistence that your great-great-great-great grandmother was Black.” The car, which moved in the latter direction, symbolizes the ideologies of Latinidad.

A few days later, Pelaez posted on their Instagram account that “Latinidad is canceled.”

With each repost or share, Latinxs, a large percentage identifying as Afro-Latinx and/or Indigenous, championed Pelaez Lopez’s meme and called for cancellation. Others, many who would be racialized as white or mixed-raced (mulatto or mestizo) Latinxs, contested the message.

Though positioned as an all-inclusive cultural identity, Latinidad has historically proven to be a term beneficial to a select few. Gauging one’s proximity to whiteness – gender, sexual preference and able-bodied privileges included – Latinidad incites the question, who is included and, ultimately, excluded from its definition?…

Read the entire article here.

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