#101HispanicWaystoDie Shows True Colors

by Melanie Edwards on November 27, 2012 · 7 comments

in Latino Culture

Black African-American Man

Yesterday on Twitter, the hashtag #101HispanicWaystoDie was trending and full of tweets poking fun at Latino culture. My friend Tracy alerted me to the hashtag and also wrote about it, and how she contributed with her own light-hearted tweets. Her Vicks VapoRub tweet brought back memories and had me laughing.

But, something I noticed as I initially took a peek at the hashtag and scrolled through the tweets, was the abundant commentary about Black people. It was something Tracy and I discussed a bit after reading various tweets. As Tracy mentioned in her post, one girl wrote “say you’re going out with a moreno” and countless more retweeted and favorited her tweet. Other similar tweets included, “Bringing a Black boyfriend home,” and “Changing your parents music in the car to ‘musica de negros’.” It seems that whether in English, Spanish, or even Spanglish, and regardless of the terminology (Black, moreno, negro), the sentiment of many was the same: their parents were not accepting of Black people or culture – or at least they felt this was true.

Now admittedly, many of the tweets came from young people (teens even?), judging solely by the tiny Twitter avatar. I know young kids can be overly dramatic, but were their words a sign of something bigger in Latino culture – something we should really discuss as a community?

I’ll be super honest and share that growing up, I did observe some of this behavior. Sadly, I heard comments similar to those tweeted and that included phrases like “esos morenos,” always from the older generation. It never sat right with me, even at a young age when I didn’t truly understand.

I’ve always wondered why comments and feelings like that existed, but then I would be called “negra linda” and complimented on my beautiful trigueño skin color. It didn’t, and still doesn’t, make sense. Of course, this was all part of my personal experience growing up. I cannot say this is a general occurrence in Latino culture, but do feel it’s worth exploring. Clearly, many in the newer generation still feel it’s a problem, even if they were jokingly tweeting out their feelings of #101HispanicWaystoDie.

Photo: John Steven Fernandez/Flickr

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{ 7 comments… read them below or add one }

Latinaish November 27, 2012 at 12:33 pm

Was looking forward to more insightful commentary from you after our short discussion yesterday. Excellent post and I really hope it generates some conversation and introspection. I have definitely seen this “esos morenos” mentality first hand from older generation Latinos. Hopefully the fact that the younger generation recognizes it as racism and is so honestly pointing it out, means that they’re free from these same discriminating beliefs. The Latino community definitely needs to move beyond this race/skin color thing, especially since so many are dark skinned themselves and know they have African ancestry.

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modernmami November 27, 2012 at 12:42 pm

I hope we’re generating honest, insightful conversation as well. I do think the younger Latino generation is on the right track…I’m hoping they don’t perpetuate the feelings by repeating comments they heard growing up. I agree that our community needs to move beyond this.

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LadydeeLG November 28, 2012 at 2:29 pm

I am not going to lie, i did hear those types of comments while I was growing up, from older people usually. I hope that my generation and newer generations will learn to judge people by more than skin color. Hispanics come in ALL colors, and we need to appreciate the beauty of diversity in Latino culture, and teach our children to be open to all people, and not be racist.

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Jai C. December 5, 2012 at 4:16 pm

I do find it interesting as well. My hubby is darker skinned and even though he’s Puerto Rican people always think he’s black. I remember a time we were visiting my mom and this friend of hers was there making her a soup. My mom is very picky about my hubby and always makes sure he eats so she was like he may not like that. Another reason my family at first thinks he’s black is that he doesn’t speak much but my family can be so loud!! Anyway, I remember the friend said “A ellos le gustan la sopa” The hell? Ellos? Who are they? I was like he’s Puerto Rican but so sad that you just typecasted a whole race. Sigh.

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modernmami December 8, 2012 at 7:45 pm

It’s so sad. I mean, seriously…who doesn’t eat soup??!

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Eva Smith February 5, 2013 at 2:51 pm

It’s really funny how we come up with stereotypes based on how we are raised. When I was younger I was very equal opportunity on who I dated, but I stayed away from Latino men because my uncles were so controlling and possessive of their wives and I didn’t want to be in a similar relationship. I was watching a Mun2 video earlier this week which discussed Black Latinos in Media and Film. One of the actresses mentioned that her parents forbid her from marrying anyone darker because the goal was to advance the culture. I couldn’t disagree more and attributed this mentality to stereotypes we get during our upbringing as well.

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Melanie Edwards February 6, 2013 at 12:38 pm

It’s such a sad reality. A friend of mine is Jamaican – the mother is darker-skinned than the father. I remember being at her house hanging out and hearing her mom tell my friend to find a lighter-skin man to marry so that her grandkids wouldn’t be as dark. She even (joked) that she married my friend’s father purposely, since he was lighter than she was.

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