For years, Afro-Latinidad has been a point of contention and a cultural topic that's difficult to pinpoint. Though millions of Latinos (celebrities included) self-identify as Afro-Latino, others struggle with the term for many reasons. Just last year, a Pew research survey showed how many Latinos identify as Afro-Latino. According to the results, only one quarter call themselves Afro-Latino, though most Dominicans, Puerto Ricans, and South Americans fall under the label.
One Reddit user began a thread to explore her own struggle with the term, her identity, and how others perceive Afro-Latinos.
Reddit user cabernaynay posed the question, "What are your thoughts on someone identifying as Afro Latino?" and included a personal story.
"I wanted to get your thoughts on this topic. I'm Dominican and I identify as Afro Latino. I grew up in New York and everyone knew that Dominicans are black Latinos," the user wrote. "I moved to the mid west and there are barely any Dominicans here and I am under the impression that by me identifying as Latino, that I am somehow not claiming my blackness even though I have black features."
The user than explains the different between race and ethnicity with two celebrity examples.
"Latino is not a race, it's an ethnicity and latinos can be any race including black, white or asian, for example," the user explained. "Am I correct in assuming that some people think that Latino is a race and if you look like Zendaya instead of Salma Hayek that you could not possibly be Latino? In order to claim my blackness do some people expected me to not embrace my Latin culture because they see the two as mutually exclusive?"
The thread was met with mixed reviews, but luckily, most were supportive of the Reddit user claiming both her Latinx culture and her Blackness, despite people in different regions not fully understanding this idea.
Region is definitely a factor when discussing Afro-Latinidad in the US. According to Pew Research results, those who identify as Afro-Latino are more concentrated on the east coast and in the south than in other regions.
Responses show that most think that the two are not mutually exclusive, and people just need more education on the topic.
Countless celebrities have spoken out on the struggles they've faced with identifying as both Black and Latinx.
One Reddit commenter asked whether or not Afro-Latinos use their Latinidad to their advantage over Blackness, which posed a whole other slew of complicated questions.
"Does saying you have Latin culture equal doing the 'Im not black, I’m Latino' thing?" the user asked.
The thread continued with some asking if this is an issue of "downplaying your blackness."
In a story on this topic published by VIBE last year, six Afro-Latinas opened up about claiming both their Black and Latina sides.
"Being raised in a typical Dominican household meant many things. It meant listening to lots of merengue and bachata (especially as you cleaned the house). It meant being raised Catholic despite the fact that everyone contradicted all its doctrines. It meant having pride in our deep roots of revolution. But it also often meant denying our blackness after generations of exposure to political and societal anti-blackness," Christy Martinez wrote.
The Reddit thread didn't necessarily break new ground when it comes to the conversation of Afro-Latino identity, but it's definitely a topic that should continue to be discussed.
Judging by all the comments and questions, it's clear there needs to be more education on the topic. Read the whole thread here.