What does it mean to identify yourself as an Afro-Latinx? The definition is somewhat simple someone who chooses to identify themselves as an Afro-Latinx is someone who is from a Latin American country who has African ancestry. Thus, makes someone who is born in these countries or even America an Afro-Latinx. Women who identify themselves as Afro-Latinx have a hard time fitting in whether it is with their own family or in their social lives (school, work, etc.). They question everything from their beliefs, to what they should look like, how to wear their hair, if they meet the standard to be a “Latina”, etc.
This is Elizabeth Acevedo, she is a poet who was born and raised in New York City and her parents are Dominicans who migrated to America. She identifies herself as an Afro-Latina. She is a New York Times best selling author for one of her books called The Poet X. This book has also won several different awards and even a medal.
In the book The Poet X, Elizabeth Acevedo talks about a girl her name is Xiomara and she is a teenage first generation Dominican girl who lives in Harlem. She discovers slam poetry and uses this as an escape from her mother who is big on religion and keeping her sexuality at a minimum. Unfortunately, Xiomara can not hide her body that is growing into a body of a woman. She can’t help the cat calls, and the staring. She uses her poetry as an escape so that she can say everything she wants to say about what she is going through without saying a word.
Her mother wanted to keep Xiomara as innocent as possible so that in the Virgin Mary and Jesus eyes she is not seen as girl who is moving fast. Once her mother found out about this book she kept all her poems in she burned it. She did not want Xiomara to question her religion or their culture. However, Xiomara made it her duty to still make poetry and perform in front of her parents who in the end supported their daughter.
One of the themes in this book that goes along with Afro-Latinx women with help fitting in is self-acceptance. Although in the eyes of most Latinos they praise eurocentric beauty standards, they praise the straight hair, the lighter skin, etc. It is very sad because majority of Latinos have African decent without even knowing and those who know have trouble accepting it. It is hard to be an Afro-Latino, you do not fit in with the Latinos (too black) and you do not fit in with the African American or black people (too Latino). Afro-Latinx women need to make their own lane so they can be able to accept and embrace themselves for who they are. They are beautiful from their full lips, to their curvy hips, to their kinky hair, to their brown complexion. Once all Latinx women accept their African roots, they will be able to love themselves and their features. They will not try to change anything about themselves. They will finally take charge and let the world know that their beauty is meant to be seen and not hidden.
I would like to add this poem also done by Elizabeth Acevedo called “Afro-Latina”. Throughout the poem she is showing love for the Afro-Latina community. She talks about how she tried to hide her own heritage because she was embarrassed. Then, she realizes that this is not something to be ashamed of, but something to speak out loud about. Embrace it and love it!
“We are the sons
and the daughters,
el destino de mi gente, (the destiny of my people)
Viviremos para siempre (We will live forever)
hasta la muerte. (until death)”
About. Elizabeth Acevedo. (2021, January 5). Retrieved December 20, 2021, from http://www.acevedowrites.com/about
Afro-latina. Learning for Justice. (n.d.). Retrieved December 20, 2021, from https://www.learningforjustice.org/classroom-resources/texts/afrolatina
Books. Elizabeth Acevedo. (2021, October 23). Retrieved December 20, 2021, from http://www.acevedowrites.com/books-2