Lately the word “Latinidad” has been surfacing in day-to-day conversation and the media more than ever lately.
These kinds of words are like a double-edged sword;they are vague enough that they can be used for or against different points of view. Some segments of the Latinx community don’t agree with this kind of umbrella concept and here’s why:
“Latinos are a diverse, flexible, and dynamic group accustomed to a wide range of labels and identities”, according to UC Berkeley’s Dr. G. Cristina Mora. “But they tend to resist the “one size fits all” ones.”
Talking about Latinidad, there seem to be two conflicting narratives. Some may say that we Latinx, are one big group—even if diverse—because of our common ethnicity, because we speak Spanish and are family-oriented, among other aspects of our culture, and even because of the labels we ourselves accept. (We already had a discussion about that in this article, so let’s keep going.)
But other groups of Latinx reject that “new label”, the Latinidad categorization that seems more like assimilation language than an embracing concept for the whole Latinx community in their rich diversity. It may too “white”.
For example, a significant percentage of the Latino community is Afro-Latino, and although Latinidad is positioned as an all-inclusive cultural identity, whiteness is at its center. Too often, accustomed to our own privileges as “white” Latinx in our native countries, here in the US we fail to recognize the persecution and discrimination of black and indigenous people. Is it possible for us to include diversity and similarity together in that concept? In any word? Well, at least we’re having this conversation.
Now let’s really talk about it. Why is unity important for us Latinx? Can we find and more importantly, recognise the things that unite us rather than divide us? Is it worth fighting for all those things? We definitely think so.
The only way our voices can be heard and that we can develop a strong tool to build real progress for our communities is by having better representation in DC.
And we have news for you: To be listened to, we have to UNITE.
Although in the US there is already some awareness that as Latinx we are not monolithic, the political system is using our own intersectionality to keep us divided. It is designed to divide us and shift political tides.
“Divide and rule” right? Our response must be: “United we stand, divided we fall”.
Yes, we are proud of our many differences, of our own ancestral traditions, our different ethnicities, but we must learn to listen to each other, and love the things we see of ourselves in each other, as brothers and sisters that have the same goals.
Let’s highlight this power that we are able to master and that will make us move forward, because unity and pride as immigrants will empower us. Let’s acknowledge that the pride of our own path to freedom, of our own painfully created identity, and our collective unity can exist in the same space. So, after all this, what is Latinidad anyway?
Our answer is, let’s not waste energy here discussing semantics, instead, let’s work on the things that unite us because we have plenty in common!
Marginalization, racism, discrimination exist in in our Latin-American societies, they are at the root of their genesis. Within our social identities we sometimes forget that some of us Latinx have privileges, and that there are inequalities among us. However, we firmly believe that we deserve to be treated equally, both back home and here in our new home, just like everyone else.
So let’s be clear:
- White or not, we contribute to this country as much as anybody else, and that should be recognized. We should fight for it.
- Solidarity. Yes, we are known for that. Family and friends, social causes, we can count on each other. We believe Mi casa es su casa, and we always hold out a hand to anybody in need. The warmth and generosity of our culture are proven traits.
- Solidarity, yes, let’s say it twice! We know that we get help from our people more than from the government! The community response is part of our DNA, it is historically ingrained. We have to rediscover that sometimes government policies are made to divide us. And sometimes we ourselves are marginalizing the more vulnerable from our community. We are oppressors to our own.
- We are hard workers. Being lazy is not an option. Because we, or our parents, came to this country to work, to carve a better future for ourselves and our children.
- Resourceful. Don’t you love our resourcefulness? The creativity of our community is one of our best assets. Can we repair it, solve it? Yes, we can!
Our point is we have to understand our Latinx culture, in a way that not only stands strong in the face of government policies but that also includes all of us, so we don’t leave the most marginalized behind. This is our true identity that refuses to be shaped by the system.
Can we craft a new Latinidad that embraces all of us? We say, yes we can!