Afrolatinos, often neglected and ignored when it comes to the struggles with racial identity, are using Instagram to foster community and make their voices heard.
A couple of weeks ago, I answered the Census 2020 and, for the first time in my life, did not identify as black. I wrote in mulata after choosing “Other.”
I didn’t do it for myself. I never felt anything other than proud of my blackness, even when people called attention to my narices and my bembas, even when my second-grade teacher told me I had pelo malo and refused to let me untie it for the class picture. I am crying in the photo, but believe me they are tears of rage because, even then, I knew a self-hating idiot when I saw one.
But I identified as mulata on the Census because the Afrolatinidad conversation has gotten to me, making me suspect I, too, may need to acknowledge my privilege: the light skin that falls somewhere between cream and café con leche of a mulata blanconaza. I am now wondering if I am doing enough to prevent the systemic erasure of my darker brothers and sisters who do go through the worst of it in this country.
Now, I’ll admit it’s confusing to no longer feel worthy of identifying as you always did, especially when I’m not 100% sure that the argument that moved me is sound. I mean, what about inclusivity?
So I am doing what I always do when I suspect I don’t know what I don’t know that I don’t know: research, read, ask people smarter than me.
And so this story isn’t about me and my struggles with racial identity. That’s for another day. This story is about where you can find some of the best resources on this important conversation, and can you believe it’s the Gram?
Yes, Instagram was where I found some of the best, most passionate voices, the most inspiringly-presented information. Who knew the social media platform known for beauty tutorials and cute dog and cat pictures had it in it?
The accounts below are full of dialogue, solid arguments and historic and social facts. I hope you’ll check them out, come back next week and have one of many Afrolatinidad conversations here, on The Americano, with me.
Best Afrolatinidad Instagrammers to Follow Right Now:
@sheismela — Melania Luisa Marte is a poet and an Afrolatinidad activist. Her voice is among the most passionate and her arguments the most consistent. As she says, “Listen, I don’t got all the answers, but I know for damn sure these old white men don’t either.”
@peraltaprjct — M. Tony Peralta is a New York-based visual artist who speaks frequently, and profoundly on Afrolatinidad and social justice.
@bemba.colora is a Puerto Rican brand that is consistently willing to be controversial when it comes to the topic of Latinidad, even at the expense of promoting their products. You’ll find lots of food for thought in their feed.
@afrolatinos.siempre.palante has a global approach and speaks as much to afrodescendientes as to afrolatinos.
@theafrolatindiaspora is a hard-core research and activism account. Follow it when you’re ready to go deep and serious with the conversation.
@afrolatinas may be geared to “highlighting the diversity & beauty among black women of LatAm descent,” but they are doing much more than posting pictures of beautiful afrolatinas. They are fomenting identity and helping to create a more accepting, more positive environment for #blactinas of all shades.
@aintilatina is more of a curator’s feed, but you’ll find loads of inspiration and sources for going deeper here.
@hashtagiamenough is all about self-esteem, self-love, and helping Afrolatinas tell their individual stories.
@remezcla though not a feed dedicated to Afrolatinidad, it does consistently host content that sees the full racial spectrum of our people, thus combating erasure with one of the most powerful elements available: humor.
@maria_la_hinojosa is a mulata blanconaza like me, but she uses her amazing platform as an author, a speaker and a former white house staffer to advance the conversation of race and the underrepresented in our community and well beyond it. She is a must-follow.
@schomburgshop — Arturo Schomburg is considered by many the father of Afrolatinidad. Read up on his work, and on work by scholars who have studied him deeply, such as @negronmuntaner and you’ll soon be ready to make your own empowering contribution to the question of race and ethnicity, or to ask some brave questions of your own.