Hispanic Heritage Month

The last day of Hispanic Heritage Month calls for change within the community’s racial bias against other groups.

Sept. 15 through Oct. 15 commemorates the achievements and camaraderie of the Hispanic community, serving as a month-long celebration to honor the Latinx people.

Hispanic Heritage Month highlights the barriers Hispanic people have faced; systematic racism and disadvantages have worked to insert prejudices against this group.

While Hispanic people face oppression, colorism and racism can be perpetrated by this community as well.

It is important to note the racism within the Hispanic community, especially anti-blackness sentiments engrained in Hispanic culture. 

The L.A. City Council is under fire for anti-black racism regarding a conversation about a colleague’s child. L.A. City Council President Nury Martinez was recorded calling colleague Mike Bonin’s son “changuito”, the Spanish word for monkey. After the recording was leaked, Martinez stepped down from her leadership role and resigned her seat.

This conversation sparked a debate about racism within the Hispanic community and the existence of hatred between ethnic groups and how they can be prejudice against one another.

Moreover, the blatantly racist remarks from a prominent group expose the underlying bias held against other communities within Hispanic community.

Spanish words such as “negrito” or “negrita” are often times used to describe Afro-Latinx or black people. Though some may find this term as a form of endearment, other people see the phrase as a derogatory term.

According to Archibald R. Murray professor of law at Fordham University School of Law Tanya K. Hernández, these terms find origins in colonial slave societies of Latin America and the Caribbean. 

The social construct that defines race is often blurred with the existence of racial mixing; while many Latinx people are racially black, the anti-blackness in the community creates a negative view of Afro-Latinx identity. 

The Hispanic community must acknowledge their own racist ideologies and work to fight against enabling these ideas into the culture. 

Recognizing the harmful effects of these words are vital in deterring intolerance within any community. Without bridging the gaps of hate in our own community, we cannot move forward in progress.

Furthermore, racial bias in the Hispanic community exists not only at a large form, but in the form micro-aggressions against others. In my personal experience as a Mexican-American woman, I would hear comments about staying out the sun to avoid getting tan. Seemingly innocent, this rhetoric instilled a fear of dark skin around me, creating a negative attitude about my own skin. 

All Hispanic people, especially older generations, must take the initiative and stop spreading underlying racial bias with the youth.

This commentary envelops discriminatory perspectives against our own community and invalidates the Hispanic identity of many groups. No one should feel uncomfortable in their skin or heritage, instead they should be celebrated.

The racial diversity of the Hispanic community unifies and celebrates the many cultures and customs of Latinx people. 

There would be no Hispanic culture without Black culture or many other cultures; this notion should be accepted and appreciated by the community.

School systems should take control of cultural education and properly inform students of the truth of racial bias in the Hispanic community. Cultural wise, shifting away from normalized racism is up to the people that make up this space, dispelling preexisting racist norms will help strengthen community.

Although Hispanic Heritage Month serves to embrace the Hispanic community, it should also be a step to properly educating and celebrating all Hispanic people.

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