Let’s be blunt: Latinos can be racist too

Each year since 1968, we celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month, Sept. 15 through Oct. 15, lifting up Latino cultures across the United States. Rarely included in the dance and musical merriment is an honest discussion of Latino racial diversity and the complexity of anti-Black racial attitudes. The truth is, there has long been a pattern of Latino anti-Blackness in the country that needs to be addressed.

As noted in my book “Racial Innocence: Unmasking Latino Anti-Black Bias and the Struggle for Equality,” too often, Latino workplace supervisors deny both Afro-Latinos and other Black people access to promotions and wage increases. Additionally, Latino homeowners sometimes turn away Black prospective tenants and home purchasers; Latino restaurant workers sometimes block Black customers from entry and refuse to serve them; Latino students sometimes bully and harass Black students; Latino police officers sometimes assault and kill Blacks; and, most heinously, Latinos sometimes join violent white supremacist organizations and harm Blacks.

Still, many Latinos deny the existence of prejudice against Afro-Latinos and any “true” racism against other Blacks like African-Americans. This denial is rooted in the Latino “mestizaje” (racial mixture discourse) cultural notion that as a uniquely syncretic racially mixed people, they are incapable of racist attitudes. In […]


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