A Black And White Issue Among Latinos


Florida Today

A Black And White Issue

Black Hispanics Battle Racism, Difficult Odds; White Counterparts Are More Successful, Census Figures Show

John A. Torres

August 5, 2003
Copyright © 2003 Florida Today. All rights reserved.

There’s a saying in Spanish that translates, "Let me have a look at your grandmother." The implication is somewhere down the line someone in your family was black.

That notwithstanding, black Hispanics have it tougher than white Hispanics. White Hispanics make more money, hold down more jobs and live in better neighborhoods than black Hispanics, according to a study released by the University of Albany based on 2000 census numbers.

In Brevard County, there are less than 1,000 black Hispanics, and nearly 15,000 Hispanics consider themselves to be white.

Melbourne attorney Steve Casanova, a white Hispanic, said the study’s findings were not a surprise. He said it may boil down to racism based on skin color.

"White Hispanics have done well in American society and that’s based on racial segregation, mainly because of color," he said. "It’s really a shame but there is one and only one reason: color of skin."

Anselmo Baldonado said black Hispanics such as himself may face more racism than white Hispanics simply because of where they live. Although he has lived in the county for 22 years without any major racism problems, Baldonado admits to getting looks when he walks into department stores.

"You immediately arouse suspicion because you are a member of the darker persuasion," he said.

"I think the main factor is that we live here in America and fall into that American experience," he said. "Those that classify themselves as black, experience what black Americans experience."

The study, "How Race Counts for Hispanic Americans," was prepared by University of Albany sociologist John Logan using data from the 2000 Census. Logan said his analysis should better illuminate the similarities between blacks and Hispanics and color differences within the groups, topics he said were often glossed over in the national discussion on race.

 

Not immune

Casanova said his white skin has not made him immune to racism. He has experienced prejudice on both the professional level and while going through school partly because of his ethnicity.

"I felt totally alienated once in a professional surrounding. I was viewed as a lesser person because I’m Hispanic," he said, adding he felt law school professors treated him differently than non-Hispanic white students. "They treated us Hispanics as if we weren’t that smart."

Samuel Lopez, president of United Third Bridge, a Melbourne-based civil rights organization, agreed.

"I’ve even seen it take place in Puerto Rico; racism exists there between the whites and blacks," Lopez said. "Because, strange as it seems, it all goes back to color and racism.

"It’s about the color of skin and the identification with people as being African or brown, it has a negative connotation. Yet, we clap for Roberto Clemente and Felix Trinidad. Figure it out. Otherwise the thinking is ‘I don’t want them living next to me,’ " Lopez said.

Clemente, who died in 1973, and Trinidad, a recently retired boxing champion, are both black Puerto Rican athletes admired by Latinos who follow sports. According to the 2000 Census, 17.6 million Hispanics described themselves as white, 939,471 Hispanics described themselves as black and 16.7 million checked off neither white or black. Logan refers to those as "Hispanic Hispanics."

‘Americanized’

Ironically, the study concludes that despite their socio-economic status, black Hispanics seem the most "Americanized" of the Hispanics. Only 28 percent of black Hispanics are foreign-born compared to 38 percent of white Hispanics and nearly 44 percent for Hispanic Hispanics. Black Hispanics are also less likely to speak a language other than English at home. Black Hispanics also average 11.7 years of education compared to only 11 for white Hispanics.

But this doesn’t translate into good news in the job market. Only 8 percent of white Hispanics are unemployed while 12.3 percent of black Hispanics are unemployed.

Social standing isn’t much better. According to the report, white Hispanics live closer to non-Hispanic whites than black Hispanics do and their neighborhoods are wealthier than those of other Hispanic groups.

In the middle

Baldonado, publisher of El Playero — Brevard’s only Spanish-language newspaper — lives life right in the middle.

"I speak Spanish and function very well in both groups," he said. "I’ve been accepted without any reservations by the black community. But there are some white Hispanics who don’t know I’m Hispanic when they see me."

Lisa Navarrete, spokeswoman for the National Council of La Raza — the country’s largest Latino civil rights organization — agreed the study’s findings are an indication of what it’s like to live in the United States.

"America defines how you are treated in a lot of ways, especially how you look," she said. "Afro- Latinos (black Hispanics) experience discrimination based on country of origin as well as race and color. In this country, race determines a lot — where you live, where you work — but so does national origin. That combination makes it difficult."

Miami has the highest share of white Hispanics, while New York has the highest share of black Hispanics. The highest rate of white Hispanics can be found among Cubans, while Dominicans have the highest share of black Hispanics.

According to the study, White Hispanics have another distinct advantage over black Hispanics in that they are more likely to be raised by both parents. Only 30.5 percent of black Hispanics under the age of 18 live with both parents, while nearly 72 percent of white Hispanic children live with both parents, the report states.

This, according to attorney Casanova, may have other consequences — not all of them bad.

"Black Hispanics probably integrate into American society better than white Hispanics, maybe because their family units are not that close," he said.

Suntree resident Rebecca Soto said she has seen racism between Hispanics.

"As a white Hispanic in this community, I have not faced what perhaps a black Hispanic would have faced," said Soto, a bank manager. "Unfortunately, there is probably a little racism in everyone."

But Casanova, who worked his way from poverty to building a successful law practice, said the American dream is there for the taking — regardless of race or color.

"I feel that in America, if you want it bad enough, you can get it," he said. "It might be a steeper climb, but you can get there."

__________________________________________________

Brevard Hispanics at a glance

White Hispanic…………… 14,716

Hispanic Hispanic…………. 4,414

Black Hispanic……………….. 933

Other………………………… 1,907

Total ………………………. 21,970

Note: Hispanic Hispanics are those who did not check either white or black on their 2000 Census.

Source: 2000 U.S. Census

__________________________________________________

National origins of Hispanics by race

The highest percentage of black Hispanics is Dominicans at 12.7%. Puerto Ricans also make up a higher than average percentage of black Hispanics at 8.2%

White Hispanic Hispanic Hispanic Black Hispanic Total

Mexican…………..10,324,597..49.3%….10,406,214..49.7%… .221,905…1.1%…20,952,716

Puerto Rican…..1,661,517..49.0%…..1,450,124..42.8 %.. 277,765…8.2%…..3,389,466

Cuban……………..1,071,596..85.4%……. 123,472…9.86%.. ..59,341…4.7%…..1,254,364

Dominican………197,939 ..24.3%……. 514,185 .63.1%.. 103,361..12.7%……815,485

C. American……746,847..42.1%……. 956,540 .53.9%. ..72,823….4.1%…1,776,210

S. America………854,785..61.1%……..522,762..37.4%… 21,956….1.6%…1,399,503

All others…………2,744,601..48.6%…..2,726,803..448.2%. .182,320….3.2%…5,653,724

Total………………..70,601,942..49.9%…16,700,055..47.4 %.. 939,471…2.7%..35,241,468

Note: Hispanic Hispanics are those who did not check either white or black on their 2000 Census forms.

Source: Lewis Mumford Center, University of Albany


  1. Keita Fennick

    It’s funny that there was a small portion of Latinos who claim to be black when we know there are a much larger amount. This tells you what Latinos think about black people.

    Most Latinos that I have seen are not white. They try to avoid any connection to black. This is why black Americans should be against illegal immigration. They should not help out Latinos now that they need help.

    This racism which they claim comes from white Latinos is half truth. I have been around darker and black Latinos who are racist against black Americans. So this black brown unity thing is bullshit.

    Also, I don’t feel sorry for Latinos or Asians when they cry racism from white Americans. The reason that is is that they will turn around and be racist against a black American. They are hypocritical and they think they are better than you.

    But it’s unfortunate that black Americans are foolish enough to think that these people are allies of ours. Come on now. Do you really think these Latinos come to America to unite with black & to stand up to white oppression?

  2. Denise

    @Keita Fennick

    Illegal immigration issue on relates to Mexicans-who clearly don’t consider themselves as Latino, they consider themselves as Chicano-American. When Jennifer Lopez played the role of the late Mexican pop star Selena, Mexicans protested and said that J-lo is Puerto Rican-a Latino, and not Chicano like Selena was. Even though there is some African DNA in Mexico, it is practically not visible. The Mexican culture as a whole is more related to the Indigenous Indian culture there are over five different languages spoken in Mexico.
    Puerto Ricans as well as Cubans and Colombians, so acknowledge their African DNA. Now Dominicans that is a whole other issue, Not all Dominicans have an issue with African DNA,but most do.Many Dominicans refer to themselves as Indian-even the ones that look 100 percent Black.

    The reason why there is such a rift between blacks and Mexicans, it is because of jobs and gang turf. Mexicans feel that California and Texas belong to them-which it do.

    There is a movement called the Afro-Latino Movement that is going on; you can check out the Afro-Taino gear website. Just type in Afro-Taino gear in the search bar, and you will find it. Afro-Taino gear is basically T-Shirts and hats and that sort of thing, their Logo is the African Continent, with the Puerto Rican flag inside of it.

  3. Denise

    OOPS TYPO, LOL. I meant to say that:

    The Illegal immigration issue relates to Mexicans.

  4. Denise

    I made a lot of typos, OOPS, LOL. Here are some more corrections.
    @Keita Fennick

    The Illegal immigration issue relates to Mexicans-who clearly don’t consider themselves as Latino, they consider themselves as Chicano-American. When Jennifer Lopez played the role of the late Mexican pop star Selena, Mexicans protested and said that J-lo is Puerto Rican-a Latino, and not Chicano like Selena was. Even though there is some African DNA in Mexico, it is practically not visible. The Mexican culture as a whole is more related to the Indigenous Indian culture;there are over five different languages spoken in Mexico.
    Puerto Ricans as well as Cubans and Colombians, acknowledge their African DNA. Now Dominicans that is a whole other issue, Not all Dominicans have an issue with African DNA,but most do.Many Dominicans refer to themselves as Indian-even the ones that look 100 percent Black.

    The reason why there is such a rift between Blacks and Mexicans, it is because of jobs and gang turf. Mexicans feel that California and Texas belong to them-which it does.

    There is a movement called the Afro-Latino Movement that is going on; you can check out the Afro-Taino gear website. Just type in Afro-Taino gear in the search bar, and you will find it. Afro-Taino gear is basically T-Shirts and hats and Logo items,their Logo is the African Continent, with the Puerto Rican flag inside of it.

  5. Yeah Right

    KEITA, you are right on point. i have been saying this for years. Latinos are a group of people that can play both sides of the fence and those types are the ones to watch out for. when things can benefit them, then all of a suddden they have this love for black poeple. but otherwise, a lot of them really can care less.

  6. Arthur Ward

    Turf. turf, turf. While the real white people are sitting back with popcorn and beer – watching Latino and Black, light-skinned and dark-skinned go at it like we’re in the wrestling ring. “I’m better than you kuz I got more white in me.” Are you kidding? The real white folks are laughing their asses off and quietly walking off with all the money. The real white folks ain’t fighting. They are thinking, collaborating and pooling (American, French, German, Canadian, etc.) so they can sell more shit to us – the cultural dum-dums.

    The dum-dums of color are fighting and shooting. One side is wearing Tommy Hilfiger billboard-wear, the other side is wearing Southpole billboard-wear.

    In the meantime Tommy Hilfiger (who by the way, does not wear clothes that have advertising on it – not even his own – but he sells it to our dumb asses, making a profit while at the same time, driving down his marketing costs to nearly zero because we are stupid enough to wear someone’s advertising on our persons and not get paid for it – and we think this is fashion!) is kicking back at his $150 million dollar mansion that we paid for and shaking his head and making jokes about the multi-cultural “niggers.” We fight – they sell.

    There is a confidence within the white community that the Latino, Black, mulatto and otherwise groups – will never GET IT. They might be right. Go ahead, with our fighting, shooting, ganging and turfing. A little “disrespect” can keep the funeral homes real busy!

    Meanwhile at the $75 million dollar Southpole mansion, located on 37 acres in the quiet town of Fuckingrich, CT, the owner of Southpole clothing is reading the newspaper and sipping a latte that was brought to him by his BUTLER. He is shaking his head at the story of another drive-by shooting. A retaliation thing done because some Black guy “disrespected” some Puerto Rican guy.

    We really got time for this?




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