growing up I was taught that the
straighter and more constraint my
hair was then the neater it looked
blow dry it, flat iron it and just put it
and why? because for some reason
curly or unmanageable hair was
unfinished it wasn't "done"
not until high school did I actually
discover that I had a curl pattern
because I finally did a big chop that
threw away my heat damaged hair
I am Dominican, 100% through and
through, I change my hair but I still
always get the million dollar
question "where are you from?"
in elementary school growing up
kids called me mixed
middle school kids called me Indian
and even high school too but Latina
was something I had to teach some
As i taught other people, I learned
so much more about myself.
colorism and racism in Dominican
Republic is very real.
I've never been taught to refer to
myself as black but Hispanic/Latino
is not a race. to be completely
honest it took me a while to
understand what that meant. that I
had to pick between white or black
because I don't know where I
obviously I can't be white, but the
things that tiered down to me were
saying no you're not black either.
There is a disconnect here,
growing in a prominently black
community I never felt completely
apart of that group. i didn't know
how to identify myself besides
Hispanic. later on I realized Latina
was what I should be saying and
now Afro-Latina is proper term.
These curls and the slight yellow
pigment in my skin ain't come from
the white man. my fathers brown
skin and moms hips didn't either. I'm learning to identify with my
roots that may so be mixed but I
can't outshadow any blackness in
me because everyone else wants
to deny it. I can't keep
straightening my hair because
when I have it curly I get a
comment like "are you ready
because you're hair is not done"
I am admittedly a 19 y/o young
woman trying to identify with the
Afro part of Latina. Through
learning and loving myself. and
speaking out about it. It's some
who find controversy in who gets to
say the N word or not. I don't, does
that mean I'm denying my
blackness or is it jus because I
thought I wasn't allowed to say it so
respectfully why start now? me
opting out shouldn't steer people
the other way, that's a distraction
of the real problem
There is this cast of whiteness and
European standards from where my
parents are from, raising their
children to believe that they don't
have roots from Africa. that their
melanin pigment is just from the
hot sun and tropical climate. and
that is wrong
and it'll take me more time but I'm
not ashamed of what more I might
learn of where I come from.
because that's who I am.
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