“In the USA everything has a label,” was one reader’s comment to the article Blacks and Hispanic —an examination of the relationship between the two groups in this country. His comment was a cry against the racism that exists within those labels, and a denunciation of being reduced to a statistic and defined by one fact about who we are as humans.
It’s what the census attempts to do; ‘box us in’ with labels that cannot possibly define us properly. A perfect example is in the question: Who is Black? Is it just Black Americans or does that include those from Africa and Afro-Latinos? Is it the shade of our skin? Our own president is considered a Black man, but he is half white. Is that his definition of himself or is it what we have decided?
In a country—in a world—where race and ethnicity are not pure, but a melting pot with a little bit of everything, who defines who we are? Who creates our labels?
These labels don’t just exist in government census documents, they exist in our lives. The label of sell-out is often used when a Latino is not a liberal or when a Latino marries a gringa; the user never taking into account upbringing, beliefs and in the case of marriage a simple thing called love.
At a time when we have more opportunities to be whatever we want to be—a young Latina is no longer expected to marry young, if at all, and lose sight of life goals— we must take full advantage of them to shed all labels and redefine ourselves as often as we like. We can show the world that we are a group of complex individuals with lives and beliefs as varied as the many shades of our skin.
Being Latino is a communication platform whose mission is to educate and connect all peoples across the global Latino spectrum. Being Latino is the largest fan page for Latinos on Facebook.