As many of you know, I’ve been working on my second documentary film, one that seeks to look into US/Puerto Rico relations and the identity of what it means to be “Boricua.”
Last week, I interviewed a man who gave me amazing quotes to work with, regarding how he refused to ever acknowledge himself or others as “Hispanics” because it gives full recognition to the country that invaded, raped and killed Natives and enslaved Africans throughout the Caribbean and Central and South America. He said calling one Hispanic gives honor to the oppressor and ignores the Taíno and African cultures that died under their rule and influenced many cultural practices we see today throughout the islands.
I’ve always used Latino instead, having never liked the term Hispanic either and I guess he basically gave me a valid reason why.
Which brings me to the term “People of Color.”
Similar to how Hispanic is thrown around without much thought of the meaning behind it, lately I feel like “People of Color” is a term we use without much afterthought of the meaning behind it as well.
I’m guilty of this myself, having used the term for years, and although the term “Persons of Color” tries to be inclusive of all non-whites, I feel it sometimes does a disservice because it doesn’t always take into account those persons of color like some Latinos, who are white folks and may side with white supremacist ideology.
Although Latinos are People of Color, we are quick to forget those Latinos who are white and use that privilege as an advantage, knowing and unknowingly, while Black and Brown Latinos never could.
We are in election season, and whenever I see polls showing how one candidate leads the POC demographic versus the other, as a man living in Florida, I cannot help but question the accuracy of these numbers when I look at the support many Latinos in Florida have for the current Commander in Chief, which are large enough to be ashamed of to be honest.
Much of that support could be tied to the large (white) Cuban population in South Florida. However there is also a large Puerto Rican population in Central Florida and thrown paper towels be damned, 45 still has his supporters in this community as well.
These facts leave me ashamed of my fellow “Persons of Color.”
It’s beyond time Non-Black people of color come to grips with their privilege and give credit, appreciate and acknowledge the struggles Black Americans went through in order to have the rights we all enjoy today.
Non-Black People of Color (Latinos really) need to start recognizing they have privilege and need to stand with our Black brothers and sisters, not only in demonstrations in support of social justice, but at the polls, promoting and supporting Black businesses, helping Black artists, etc…
Just as the saying goes, not all skinfolk are kinfolk, well, not all People of Color are our people.
I’m just tired of seeing my people take without giving anything back.
Until next time.