Smokey: I got mind control over Deebo. He be like "shut the f**k up." I be quiet. But when he leave, I be talking again.
“Now keep in mind that I'm an artist and I'm sensitive about my shit.” – Erykah Badu
I read all 116 comments, yesterday. All of them.
If I don’t comment then I won’t be able to finish out my series, so here goes:
Let me talk a little bit about the post and the points I made, because I was accused of making up scenarios, or not speaking from personal experience. The first point I made spoke to the Latinas and their language or accent. I asked the question to people who do not speak English as their first language, has there ever been a time when they couldn’t pronounce a word correctly, or didn’t know what a word meant, or couldn’t find a word in English to compliment it in their first language, and if they were teased or laughed at about it? Resounding answer, yes. A friend of mine in the modeling industry told me, being from DR, a lot of other Black models tease her and poke fun at her because she doesn’t speak English that well. They say hurtful things as if men only like her because she doesn’t speak English that well. However, she’s spending her own money to take English classes so she is better at it. That’s real. Those things are happening, if we are denying it then we are lying to ourselves and everyone’s guilty of participating in it. I used to tease my Puerto Rican friends that they spoke Spanglish, which is a combination of English and Spanish woven together in the most random form. And while I do it out of love, some people don’t.
I went on to talk about Latinas and their looks. Within the Black community there is so much hate spewed at one another because of light skin vs. dark skin, to act as though people do not look at a Black man with a Latin woman and say, “he’s with her because of the hair and the skin color,” I just don’t buy it. But my point was this … that Latinas come in all shades and different hair textures. This was to inform, not to bring down. I asked a friend who is fair skin about this and she said that she received a lot of animosity from within her community and from Black women, and it really bothered her because her sister was much darker than her, and they were raised in a family where everyone was beautiful, but she got the impression that in the US, darker was better. She couldn’t even tell! That’s how persecuted people are for their complexion, some people will sit outside, or use lotions to tan so they don’t get teased at school. We know this goes both ways, but at times we have to stop arguing the darker side and realize that the lighter side goes through it too.
Next I touched on the topic of understanding the plight of Black in America. A few friends who I asked said that there have been several occasions when they were hanging around Black guys and they were approached by Black women who asked them, “What do you know about being Black?” or told, “No matter what you do, you still won’t be Black.” That’s why I made the point. And I made the point to because Black women have said it to Black men, that they know their men better than anyone race could. I’ve witnessed it, I’ve been told it too. I just don’t like it.
I ended talking about the perceptions of why Latinas date Black men. Despicable. When you see a couple walking down the street a critical thinker asks, how did they end up together? As I had a conversation with a group of Latinas over drinks, I asked what are some of the reasons you’ve heard for why Latinas like Black men and they told me; (1) They think we like them in bed, because they are better or bigger, (2) They think we are trying to get with them to get in the country, but we’re already here or (3) They think we are trying to get them for their money. That’s real America, that’s happening.
In the comments someone tried to break down the word “Latino.” Thank you, I’m sure you were trying to educate, but let me tell you, please don’t assume I have not heard it all. I have family members who call themselves “Spanish” to avoid confusing people. We are slaves to linguistics. However, you can call them Hispanic, but this is marginalizing because not everyone is from Spanish descent. You can say, “from a Spanish speaking country,” once again leaving out people who speak Portuguese. Or you can call them, “Latinos” meaning coming from Latin America. Now, in college I wrote a poem and in this poem I talked about how a Latino was like a leprechaun. I’ve never seen one, I am not sure what they look like, and I’m not sure where they’re from, but I’m pretty sure they exist because I’ve heard stories about them. I know Puerto Ricans, Dominicans, Venezuelans, Mexicans, Peruvians, Columbians, Brazilians, etc. etc. etc. but I’ve never heard of this country Latin America. No matter what we do, we’re going to have difficulty putting a title on it. So I use, Latino because it’s the least offensive option.
Also, someone commented on Black Latinos and White Latinos, and I felt like Drake, “I be like silly motherfucker I know.” I did not have time to give a dissertation on racial constructs in America and abroad. (Teach you something about writing it’s called, “WORD COUNT.”) My friend Props said it best, “My ship went this way and your ship went this way.” I know damn well that there are Africans everywhere, that there are people with nappy hair and dark skin, everywhere. I just didn’t have the time to explain this. But let me point out, that I can tell you that several Latin folks have considered themselves Black and been told, “No matter what you do, you won’t be Black.” And also several Latin folks have separated themselves from Black and been told, “You’re Black, whether you like it or not.” But the post wasn’t about race matters, it needed to be succinct and present the point that I was trying to get across. I’m afraid while I was talking about one issue, some of the readers tried to get on their intellectual soapbox in the wrong sanctuary.
A few of the comments said I was using this post to explain why I date Latinas and I wanted to get some type of approval from Black women. First off, I don’t need anything close to an approval from Black women to do shit. Second, you made yourselves look ugly yesterday. The thing that angered me the most were the countless Latin people who read SBM everyday and never comment who hit me on the side and said, “Those women are lying, they are full of shit.” Because some of the things that were said made them feel like they didn’t have a reason to feel like they have experienced racism from Black folks. I made the point to one of the silent readers, “Some times women say Black men are in jail or doing crime, and I say, I’m not in jail and not doing wrong, and none of my friends are either. However, I would be lying if I did not admit that the situation is prevalent in our community.” And so a lot of the holier than thou people at the First Baptist Church of SBM, or In Need of Reform SBMC, acted as though they don’t think this is a problem in 2010. Nothing could be more harmful to the argument than that. Nothing. I draw the comparison to the Jena 6 and say that it’s because Black people have forgotten that the Northeastern corridor, or their immediate network, those with college degrees or worldly experiences, do NOT represent the entire United States. It is that dangerous thinking that leads to events like the Jena 6, because we have forgotten that we are still oppressed on all fronts. Black folks are lying if they don’t think the problem is in the community, maybe you have chosen not to surround yourself with those folks, but don’t lie and say it’s not happening.
The thing is, I’ve always been very vocal that I take this writing thing seriously. Some people want to talk shit, yeah that’s part of it, but more than that, I want a book deal. I have dreams of being a better writer and a published writer more times over. I do research on everything I write. When I come up with a topic, I see it through to see if I am ranting or actually presenting an issue to the table. Have we talked about racism too much? Yes. Have we talked about light and dark too much? Yes. But have we owned up to the issues that plague us in our Black and Latino relations? No. Because we just don’t want to. I started working on this post two months ago, it’s been done for a while, I did one on one sessions, asked family members, friends, I did group sessions, and I sent emails to listserves to solicit and receive feedback for this article. I didn’t just come off the top of my head. People who insult me thinking I’m just ranting, that’s disrespectful man. And I’d rather you just not read my shit, I should probably charge for the time I put into it and I’m giving it to you for free and you have the nerve to attack me as a writer. Fuck you.
I agree that some people probably misunderstood the post. I hope this provided some insight into what I was trying to say. My goal was a healthy discussion behind what steps we can take to one, be accountable, two, inform ourselves, three, make sure to make concerted efforts to eliminate the problem. I complain that women are this way, or that way, but for most of you who know me, know that I take time out of my day to talk to women, because most men don’t. They go around complaining about ish and never tell the women what to do to fix the problem. That goes both ways. If women complain about uneducated men, I’m waiting to see more women stepping up as tutors and mentors for young men. And lastly, the reason why the post was about Latinas is because it’s Hispanic Heritage Month, stop trying to steal the show, lol. I really wanted to hear from our Latin readers, but a lot didn’t even comment because of the hasty environment that ensued. I was really ticked off, but I wasn’t offended. Like most people, my defense … was, in the words of Dwayne Michael Carter, “misunderstood ain’t got to be explained.” I wrote this because as the day went on, each comment pushed me closer to taking a sabbatical from SBM and shelving two great articles that I’ve written for the rest of Hispanic Heritage Month.
Anyway, it’s my birthday and I should be having fun.
I didn’t have space to say all this in the post or as a comment, lol.