George Zimmerman and Jeronimo Yanez highlight the need to unpack anti-Blackness in Latinx communities
June 19, 2017
As anyone who is both Black and Latinx (Afro-Latinx) can tell you, anti-Blackness in Latinx communities is a huge phenomenon. Because white supremacy is global and it makes proximity to whiteness the ideal even for non-white people, those cultures generally reflect the dehumanization of Black people in their social heierarchies. This can be seen in beauty standards, financial disparities, and criminalization in places like the Dominican Republic, Brazil, and other Latin American countries.
As Queer Xicano Chisme pointed out on Facebook, evidence of anti-Blackness in Latinx communities can also be witnessed in the police killings of Trayvon Martin and Philando Castile, and the responses to them. In both instances, the murderer was a non-Black Latino (George Zimmerman and Jeronimo Yanez, respectively), and their justifications sounded no different than white officers who also murdered Black people. Posting a screenshot of a previous post about the Castile case, Chisme encouraged Latinx people to do some self-reflection on their complicity in anti-Blackness:
The caption reads:
When you (NBPOC) say Black Lives Matter, I hope you’re doing the work within our communities to ensure that they indeed do matter. Oftentimes we let our families slide cuz “haci son” or they’re “too old to change.” Bullshit. That’s us refusing to do the work where it matters most: in our own communities.
It’s easy to point the finger at white people but the real challenge is pointing to the mirror and realizing that we, non-Black people of color, are also part of the problem.
We also kill Black people.
May Philando Castile rest in peace and may his family find justice.
It’s also worth noting that even Black people have internalized anti-Blackness. Three of the six officers involved in killing Freddie Gray were Black, and issues with colorism have plagued our community since the spawn of slavery.
Sometimes, all we can do with the anti-Blackness of white people is resist, but we should all be unlearning our own complicity in the meantime.