Black Latinos

I want to start off today by saying that I am Puerto Rican and Ecuadorian. My mother is a dark skinned Latina (Puerto Rican) who worked for Jacobi Hospital in the Bronx. More profoundly, she was at the bedside of Betty Shabazz before she passed away. My father is your typical light shinned Latino Male (Puerto Rican/Ecuadorian). He has worked his ass off for Con Edison and is blissfully retired in Florida. I define who I am through them.

The difficulty with being a Latinegro is not knowing where you are placed in general society. I was able to identify with both Black & Latinos growing up. I was able to be on both sides of the same coin. As a little kid in Catholic School for 8 (and 4 more if you count High School), I just went with the flow. However, I remember feeling that I was the ugly kid in class (braces didn’t help) and at one point wondering why I wasn’t born with the lighter skin or the nice hair. My family would make fun of my pelo (hair) and compare it to Brillo. Not to mention that I would be told that my abuelito (grandfather) was the reason for the bad hair.

A few of my female cousins are light skinned and to be honest, can pass for white. I remember them being told not to date black men. I was never really sure why they would say to them nor why they would say this with me in the room; as a matter of fact why anyone in my family would say it considering that we have some pretty dark people in my family was completely beyond me. As I grew older I began to realize that they were referring to African Americans. Being that I could not tell the difference at that time, I was told that I was not black because I am Hispanic (obviously). My ignorance ran so deep that when a white kid called me a Nigger, I said (and I shit you not) “I am not a black, I Spanish”. Yeah his jaw dropped too.

Let me fast forward to college, because I think my point has been made. By this time in my life I have already told myself that I am black Hispanic. What really made me see how I fit in this world was when I had to sort of choose in a non verbal way who I would have to spend my time with. I love being Latino, but I was too dark to hang out with them in college. I just did not feel right. So I hung out with African Americans, but even then I felt a bit out of place. Kinda like a screw that quite didn’t fit a hole. Frankly, I thought maybe it was just me. But now I know it is a shared experience.

I don’t write any of this for sympathy. I write this because I know i am not the only one who have dealt with this. I have only dealt with this about a fraction of a degree that other Afro Latinos have dealt with it. In my last post I asked the question have you seen a Black Mexican? Well I here they are. Once that tickles your fancy as it did mine, click here for a brief history. The significance of all this is that as much as I may complain about where I stand in this world, I think about places like Costa Chica and Oaxaca. These Afro Mexicans are pretty much invisible to the rest of the world.

Funny thing…in my fury of writing my last post I was talking about how seeing if 5 famous Afro Latinos can be named outside of David Ortiz or Rosario Dawson. I am very surprised that I was able to do it. Anyway…I am going to list them: Arturo Schomburg, Celia Cruz, David Sanchez, Tego Calderon, & Gilbert Arenas. I purposely stayed away from baseball because that would have been way too easy.

Car Wars…

{Orginally Posted on Blogger}

Well, I seem to be getting daring at my age. For the second time in 5 years I decided to go to a Midnight showing of STAR WARS EPISODE II. Of course, I was blown away by this movie. It was all that (trust me me it was). The sad thing is that it is now 8:30 am and I am DEAD! I had to be at work today at 8am. The movie was like 2 and 1/2 hours loooooooooooong. Dont get me wrong. I enjoyed it. I am just paying for it. I did not go alone. My loving woman went with me. I should mention that she gets grumpy when she is tired. So if you do the math….that is like 4 hours of sleep. WoW. In college, I could have 4 hours of sleep and be moving like a bat out of hell. Now I am more like an old man in a walker.

So, have you have seen the look on someone’s face when they think they about to get there ass whipped? Well, I had the unfortunate pleasure of seeing it twice the other day. Both within minutes of each other. Jo and I are going to the mall the other day (Her nail was chipped…which means all 10 fingers have to be re-done). We normally park in the underground garage. So she drives down the ramp and the car in front of us is moving kind of slow as if the drivers is unsure where he is going. Then he backs up! So, Jo does not move at first becuase he stopped and then went foward. Then he backs up again! So she is using all the four letters words you and I can imagine (some multi-letter words in spanish too) and she puts the car in reverse. Of course she does not see the other car on the ramp ( because we are in an L shape corridor) and bang. I thought I heard a crunch.

So Josie gets out of the car! I am staring at the asshole who backed up who has parked by this time ( This dick was going for a parking spot). He is looking our direction like “oops did i do that?” So she is yelling at this lady. “Did you not see me back up?” So the lady mumbles somthing (she thought she was about to get whooped!). Jo gets back in the car and we look space. I shoot this guy (who is actually some teenager) a look like I was in OZ. She parks and we look at the car and it is only a scratch and the teenager comes up to us. “I am so sorry” (please don’t kick my ass). When we see it is a scratch we are no longer mad becuase we thought it was going to be a dent. “I am sorry” (please….dont make me your bitch). So told him not to worry about it. She was more angry about the woman not seeing her. Even called her a “stupid bitch” to her face (you just have to love her). This kid looked like he was going to cry. That must have been some look I gave him. I must have gave him that Puerto Rican stare. That hot blooded look “Chingate Cabron!!!!!!”