The reImagining Speaks: (Black) (Latina) American Woman
I want to start this post with a confession. Despite the fact the reImagining project is dedicated to creating a more inclusive view of the Black woman, I totally overlooked an entire population of women when researching the diversity of Black femininity in America. My apologies to the Black Latinas. I was taken by surprise when one of the young ladies now in the show asked me if she could participate despite the fact that she was Latina. I immediately felt like an idiot for overlooking all the amazing women with a similar background and asked her to please participate BECAUSE she is Latina. Thinking back to this misstep, I wonder why this population of Black women slipped my mind.
Then I noticed that despite my intense monitoring of media culture, I could not name one women in popular culture that proclaims herself to be a Black Latina. I know I am in no way one-hundred percent tapped into all the diverse Spanish-speaking cultures, but the few Latina actresses that have crossed over to mainstream American audiences are all fair-skinned. It seems the brown bag test is universal no matter the language barriers. This speaks volumes when you notice all the criticism of the new Devious Maids show is centered around their job titles, but no one pointed out the fact that all five actresses are rather fair-skinned. Not one overtly Afro-Latina among them.
The thing I find so amazing about Binaca’s video is that she makes the mental decision to embrace her Blackness. She obviously takes great pride in her Honduran nationality, but also chooses to have that same pride in her African heritage. Instead of feeling split by her divergent cultures, she has fully embraced the melting pot that is her cultural heritage. Her life is exactly the bedtime story America tells it citizens to lull them into the complacency of being a “post-racial” society. With the outcome of the Zimmerman trial and the overt racism woven into the House GOP’s criticism of immigration reform, I think the country has finally reached a point where it is now acceptable to white glove duel slap anyone that mutters the phrase “post-racial America”. The last thing this country needs is for its citizens to whitewash their heritage. America needs to take on Bianca’s embrace of her full heritage as an example of how we can take pride in what citizenship means to a country apparently founded on the embrace of diversity making us all one.
I owe a great deal of thanks to Bianca and the other Afro-Latinas that have been gracious enough to share their stories in the reImagining. They have broadened my view of how varied the term “African decent” is.
Latest posts by Ijeoma D. Iheanacho (see all)
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- The reImagining Speaks: Constructing the Phantom Woman - May 15, 2013