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6 Examples of Racism in Latinx Communities That Need to End

This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at UCLA chapter.

We may not all be racist, but I know for a fact that the Latinx community has a history of racism. It’s up to us to put an end to that. 

“Mejorando La Raza”/ “Bettering The Race”

Growing up, I was always told that marrying someone Caucasian would better our race. A lot of Latinx countries consider the natives to be less than. In order to move up in the world, one was told they needed to marry someone European or a White American. This is a horrible misconception that perpetuates the idea that Latinos are not good enough and that we need a White savior to help us.

Taking Afro-Latinos Out of the Narrative

Afro-Latinos exist. There is also a misconception in Latinx communities that Black people are bad, rude, tacky etc. By making these racist and ignorant statements, people are ignoring the fact that we have very talented Afro-Latinos in our community. They are just as much part of our culture as we are. They deserve just as much respect and love.

Idolizing White-Passing Latinx People

I love me some Shakira and J.Lo, but our culture needs to stop idolizing Latinx people who have lighter skin. Not all Latinos look like them, but it doesn’t mean they aren’t beautiful. Lighter skin doesn’t mean someone is more beautiful. Lighter skin just means they have lighter skin. Dark, medium, light, or any other color in between, all Latinos and Latinas are beautiful. We need to stop using J.Lo and Shakira as the standard of beauty for Latinas. Light skin doesn’t make someone more beautiful. 

Using the Terms “Negritos” and “Morenos” 

This might as well be the Spanish version of the “N” word. People have names. Use them. “Negritos” and “morenos” are derogatory words that hurt people’s feelings. Most importantly, they’re racist. These terms are used to make people feel like they are beneath others when in reality, race is a social construct created by people with lighter skin to make themselves feel better. 

Proclaiming Curly Hair as Ugly and Straight Hair as Beautiful

This is a toxic misconception that needs to be unlearned by many people from the Latinx community. Growing up, I was told that straight hair was prettier, so I straightened my hair every other day. Eventually my hair was fried to the point where I had to cut it all off. I took time off from doing anything to my hair and started to appreciate my curly hair so much more. Unfortunately, my curls are still not the same because of everything I did to my hair. We need to change our mentality to accept curly hair as beautiful. 

Denying Someone is Latinx Because They “Look White”

This is the story of my life. We do not have the right to title someone as Latinx or not. That isn’t anyone’s job. Skin tone doesn’t mean anything. Some Latinx people have lighter skin tones, others don’t. If someone says they’re Latinx, don’t make it your job to judge them. Acknowledge the fact that they are also a member of our community. There is no right way to look or sound Latinx.

It’s hard to believe that there is racism amongst minority groups, but we can be racist, too. Unfortunately, these issues have been passed down through generations. It’s up to the new generation of Latinx people to put an end to the racism within our community.

Allison is a feature writer at UCLA who loves hanging out at the beach and eating any kind of dessert.
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