Did you know white Latinx Americans composed 33% to 36% of the entire Latinx American population in 2010, according to some sources?
Latinx people come in all shapes, colors, and sizes. Some of us have dark skin, some of us have brown skin, and some of us have fair skin. From my experience, I think most people associate the Latinx community with the first 2 more than anything, but fail to realize that there is such a thing as white skinned Latinx.
Because of this, today I want to share with you a few experiences you will have as a white Latinx.
People will automatically assume you are not Latinx
A lot of people will look at you and think you are not Latinx. Even if you start speaking in Spanish, they will assume that you learned the language in school, or from living abroad. When you finally explain to them that this is incorrect and that you are indeed Latinx, you can expect looks of awe and bafflement as people can’t seem to wrap their heads around this one, for some reason.
People will say things like “You can’t be white and call yourself Latinx”
Because of your physical appearance, a lot of ignorant comments will be made. These comments include the famous “You can’t be white and call yourself Latinx,” which is way more common than you believe. This is also a struggle for the Afro-Latinx American community which is not recognized as “Latinx enough” either.
Why this happens is still baffling to me, as I don’t think our culture has anything to do with how we look, but I guess not everyone agrees.
People will assume your hair color isn’t natural
A lot of people will assume your blonde hair, ginger hair or even light brown hair isn’t natural. My mom told me that even when I was a little kid a lot of people would ask her if she dyed my hair, because apparently Mexicans can NOT be born blonde. Let me also point out that I was 4 years old when she got those questions.
Four years old.
Some people within the Latinx community will not accept you
Latinx people can also be ignorant to the diversity of their own community. This is a sad truth, but one I have experienced personally. I have heard a lot of ignorant comments about myself, and how that meant I couldn’t identify as a Latina.
This issue goes both ways, of course. White Latinx and Afro-Latinx experience it on the daily. I have known way too many people inside the community who didn’t even realize that there is such a thing as being Afro-Latinx, but also some brown skinned Latinx will not accept white Latinx or Afro-Latinx. What’s even worse, some white Latinx don’t accept Afro-Latinx as well, and it’s important that we all understand that there is no one way to look Latinx.
I hope we can all grow pass this, accept, and most importantly embrace this diversity, which only makes our culture even richer.
People will assume you are wealthy if you are a white Latinx
I experienced this quite a few times. Because of the way I looked, many people thought I was wealthy even though I grew up being part of the lower class. At school, people would steal things from me, with the excuse that I could afford to get my things stolen. They automatically assumed I had money, because I was white.
You will experience privileges that other Latinx don’t
This last one is messed up on so many levels. White privilege is a real thing and I know this from experience. I have been treated with more respect and received more opportunities than other Latinx around me, because of my physical appearance.
Just look at the many examples on telenovelas and latinx TV. The main characters or “more desirable” ones are always the most white-looking ones, and the people who portray maids, workers, irrelevant side characters or even villains are usually darker-skinned.
This privilege is real, even within the latinx community, and it’s important to point it out, to accept it, and I hope the least thing I can do with it is help lift up other people inside my community that need it way more than I do.
I will always be a proud Latina, irregardless of my outer appearance, and you should be too. The way we look shouldn’t confine us to a box. We can be diverse and proud of our culture.
Have you experienced any of these?