December 20th, 2011
01:48 PM ET

Rareview: Black Latinos balance two worlds

Rareviews go inside the lives of those in America whose stories we don't always hear.

Imagine growing up and to have your family, friends, neighbors, community look at you as the other - maybe because of the color of your skin or the texture of your hair - even though you saw yourself as one of them.

What if you then tried to identify with someone who looked like you - someone who shared your ancestry - but they said you didn't belong to their community either?

That's the experience for some Afro-Latinos, who said they grew up knowing they belonged to both the black and Latino communities, even if others disagreed.

The 2010 Census showed that among 50.5 million Latinos living in the United States,  almost 27 million identify as white and just 1.2 million identify as black. Three million said they identify as two or more races.

These three black Latinos said they often felt forced to choose one side or the other.

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Filed under: Black in America • Ethnicity • Latino in America • Race • Rareviews
soundoff (46 Responses)
  1. mind power

    this mindset flourishes in teh latin community, people don't seem to understand there are more people of African descent in latin america than in the usa. brazil having the bulk of them. the dances, tango,merengue etc. have african origins. the music and the drums, the food, the religions, santeria , orisha ,etc. African origins. It is very possible to occupy that same space and time of being Afro-Latino and speaking Spanish. But we are still dealing with this pelo malo and all this crap. geuss what, none of you are spanish, the spanish are in spain, latinos are a hybrid of many different ethnic groups. including some spanish( very much of that descendancy is gone) african ethnic groupos, amerindians, and other european groups. Latinos( and that word itself is a misnomer) speak Spanish, have cultures that are a hybrid of Spain and other ethnic groups. Yet some of you are so reluctant and ashamed of that Black element which is there. it's sad

    October 8, 2012 at 12:14 pm | Report abuse |
  2. ......

    there's an Afro inflation. having a little bit of pigmentation in your skin don't make you Afro. not one of them would be able to blend in if they were dropped off in West Africa right now. 1st one looked like a dark mexican, the girl looked indian, and the 2nd guy look normal mestizo. i

    December 21, 2011 at 9:10 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Caxamarca

    funny how white latinos get blamed for wrongs in this leftist forum, funny to me because as a white latino i have the same double rejections the black skinned latinos in this piece speak of, as most of the latinos where i live are more indigenous blooded mexicans and they do not have much understanding of the cultural diversity of the latino world. the latino world is not as diverse as the usa but it is diverse, indian, black, white, asian, various mixes, latino america and latinos identify themselves as such there are deeper prejudices and less opportunities in latin america than there are in the usa for those of different cultures, colors, ethnicities. the usa is not perfect, but for the most part people when they complain all the time its because they want something given to them and do not want to earn it, my father was an immigrant from the mountains of <peru that immigrated to the usa and made a decent life with hard work married a poor american farm girl and later had an immigrant vietnamese gf, anyway quit crying it gives fodder to the ignorant racists that somehow think they are not decendants of immigrants

    December 21, 2011 at 8:51 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Verakumar

    Be happy that we were born without any effect,let million, billion or trillion people look up or down on black
    We don't know what happen tomorrow so, think positive be happy with your love one.Move on !

    December 21, 2011 at 7:23 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Lost

    White supremacy has soiled the fabric of life (everywhere). When we overcome this, we will have conquered all evils. It is the root of all selfishness, arrogance, and base of all poverty and pestilence in the world.

    December 21, 2011 at 6:47 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Machoman

    I just can't get over these people, so-called Latinos, calling themselves "people of color". They are, in fact, for the most part...........white. Certainly as white as me and I am white. This is an example of a political movement gone wild. Similar to the black freedom movement. But in this case the prize is getting citizenship for 200 million of their closest relatives currently living elsewhere!

    December 21, 2011 at 4:31 pm | Report abuse |
    • Wayne

      The people in this article are black with descendants of african slaves that where brought to Mexico or to other South and Central American countries. Actually one of the presidents of Mexico several hundred years ago was of African descent. Mexico is actually the first country to have a president of African descent and many of the generals that fought in wars in Mexico where black. You have to understand the history of Mexico , Central America and South America. Dig a little deeper in history and you will find out these truths.

      December 22, 2011 at 4:56 am | Report abuse |
  7. Alan

    ummmmm....where do Puerto Ricans and other carib, and south americans think so many of their cultural norms and structures come from....from food, to music, to drums...they ALL have african roots, whether they choose to accept them or not, so the fact that one parent is black just mean you are a lil more black than the other latinos, but make no mistake, your food contains okra, rice, root vegetables, etc....because of those african roots, your music is heavily drum laden because of those african roots.

    December 21, 2011 at 2:45 pm | Report abuse |
    • Criolla

      I am Bolivian born, and we are as diferent from the Caribe people as we are from a Pakistani. We do not do Santerai, Woodo . our culture is not the same.
      This people see the convinience of being black.
      Central, South America and Caribe peoples have diferences in culture, value, foods, music , we are not all the same.

      Even in mulattos, a Cuban would be diferent from one from the coast of Colombia.

      December 22, 2011 at 8:00 am | Report abuse |
  8. truthbtold11

    See the hateful comments? This, America is why we are so screwed up. I for the life of me cant understand why we continue to degrade our fellow man or woman based on skin color. I am a African American, raised in the South. I am dark skinned, with Choctaw Indian, White and who knows what else? Who cares? There are some beautiful people out there of ALL races! Embrace the rainbow of colors you are blessed to interact with, open your mind to what is unique and different. I have Mexican cousins, white cousins, and relatives of different faiths. You can't expect everyone to look like you or act like you. Block the hate and the fear of the unknown. Grow and learn to be better than our ancestors and our past. I have friends of all races, and look forward to meeting someone different and learning something new. Forget the past? Never! Remember it, learn from it, and be better for it. Our children's future and this country depends on it!

    December 21, 2011 at 2:39 pm | Report abuse |
    • Bruno

      samuel c samuel Posted on I am a naireign that has just completed my secondary school level and would like to study Computer Engineering/Electronics Engineering in Korea through scholarship.this is because korea is the largest producing electronics and my parents are poor and can not afford the morney to sponsor my academic carrer so,how can i accomplish my dream? kindly reply.

      October 15, 2012 at 1:16 am | Report abuse |
  9. hotweezie

    Is anyone considering the slave trade and that Africans were dropped off in numerous countries and "browned" the populations. Call it what u want to, u may not say you are "black" but know that the brown/black skin is compliments of African ancestors.

    December 21, 2011 at 2:24 am | Report abuse |
    • Alan

      A great point that seems to be flying over people heads.

      December 21, 2011 at 2:48 pm | Report abuse |
  10. liz

    by the way 'showmeyerpapers', let me guess... you live in a trailer park rockin a mullet and a wifebeater. that's what I picture when reading your

    December 21, 2011 at 1:10 am | Report abuse |
  11. liz

    we're not all illegals either. I think our numbers scare you because you know the enivitable is coming. pretty soon you will be the minority not me.

    December 21, 2011 at 1:01 am | Report abuse |
  12. liz

    I wasn't born here, but this is my country now. I could care less How you feel about it. And guess what black or white, us latinos are here to stay. We're not all immigrants myy friend.

    December 21, 2011 at 12:53 am | Report abuse |
  13. liz

    Do we have some white supremicists on here trying sound like they know something? So everytime you hear a siren it's because a latino has killed a white?

    December 21, 2011 at 12:47 am | Report abuse |
  14. cecilia

    Hi everyone. im a hybrid person,also. Half White,half Black. this issue dates back to before the Civil War,so Im surprised CNN felt it was newsworthy. as far as i know, "light,bright n damn near white"(a not always flattering colloquism within the African American culture) is also a fact of life. So deal with it.

    December 20, 2011 at 11:30 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Showmeyerpapers

    Still got my vote Mr Cain. Herman my man, my main man,the "hermanator" got the nwo scared to death . The man will allow the states to enforce the dadgum law against mehicos invasion of our lives! That would ruin everything for the nwo. Illegals must have murdered at least 250 000 americans in the last 50 years. Cant you hear their blood scream for justice from their graves? Our american brothers and sisters victims of federal ethnic cleansing! Sometimes at night i can hear a car horn stuck on as if in an accident,then another and another and so on when one goes silent the tune is carried on by others till they fill the night with the constant blare,the horrific ane sickening symphony of americans getting wiped out by illegal "hispanic" drivers, theyre wiping out entire families daily

    December 20, 2011 at 10:43 pm | Report abuse |
  16. Showmeyerpapers

    What about all the areas of our country where the standard of living is govt aid, where the american society has been utterly destroyed and unrecognizable. We once had the greatest nation on earth, now in so many places all we have is "the streets" depressed mehican varios or barrios as they are so proud to say. My once quiet street is now a mexexpressway . The clovis were here long before any mehicans or indians ever existed and they were WHITE. I say deport them all every single one of them, if theyve married americans send them along. Its time to go home and fix their rathole country and stop sucking us dry and preying on innocent americans!

    December 20, 2011 at 10:39 pm | Report abuse |
  17. Showmeyerpapers

    Not only have illegal invaders slit the throats of the working man they are responsible for 75% of the crime here in denver radioreference dot com monitor police and ems frequencies for yourself they must have killed 250000Americans in the last 50 years look at lapd online all most wanted 95% spanic. I knew newt was the sht samich. I dont care if an illegal sailed with washington , REMOVE THEM! The states want the laws ENFORCED PERIOD! Theyll bankrupt EVERY STATE! LOOK AT CALIFORNIA FOR GOD SAKE! Mehico is a cultural catastrophe and our govt has helped them spread their societal ills across our great nation. We would have the highest standard of living on earth if it wasnt for the constant stranglehold on our economy due to the invasion and occupation of our soverign land. Look noone wants to break up families just be sure to get them all on the same bus with the anchor offspring seated up front. What about all the american families torn apart by the federal invasion policy in effect. The

    December 20, 2011 at 10:36 pm | Report abuse |
  18. issa

    Don't we all want to feel accepted into our community?? What's wrong with that?? I wonder if we just went to work and didn't socialize how amazing would we feel? I personally feel this can be an advantage to many since we can get the best of all worlds, latinos are mainly mixed of spanish, indigenous and african decent. Where on earth will you ever find a more diversified race?? Why not embrace this and us it to your advantage! In life we will always find ignorant and non culture people, just show off what you have and leave them with their mouths open.

    December 20, 2011 at 9:41 pm | Report abuse |
  19. Criolla

    A person is defined by their upbringig, a black fron Colombia is very diferent from an American Black, or from Africa.
    He is colombian that happens to be black.
    I know that we have a lot of prejudices in the Latin community, just like in any other group, because we are all very diferent in many ways, culture, values, etc.
    That is the reason that we should never accept that latin people form a "race" that only exists in the USA.
    I am south american from a country where maybe there were 60 more or less black mixed with indigenous people.
    Very much liked, very hard working.
    They lived deep in a tropical area, I saw one when I was a teen, but now they are active participants in culture and political movements.
    I am a naturalized American and I consider myself first and only American, because it was my choice.
    I remember a friend told me, I needed to go yo Africa to learn that I am an American first and only, that my color did not made me African'.

    December 20, 2011 at 8:23 pm | Report abuse |
  20. Arenas

    I'm proud to be Black. I'm proud to be Cuban. And I'm proud to be American. Y que?

    December 20, 2011 at 8:03 pm | Report abuse |
    • Misty

      Mark, You mean like the White British, French, Protugese, and Spanish that stole the Americas from the indigenous people? Or shall I even say the white Americans that stole the land from the Mexicans, (whether they be black, white or native) already living there? Yeah let's send them back to Europe! Oh wait. You don't like that? Well when you admit that this country is diverse and stop being an idiotic racist troll, we won't HAVE to remind you about who the REAL Americans are.

      May 9, 2013 at 2:49 pm | Report abuse |
  21. deangelo

    QUIT COMPLAINING!! Black latinos have 2 communities they can be accepted into. If ppl didn't make your race such a big deal it wouldn't be one skin color means nothing one way or the other. If your family can't accept you as being split obviously they don't truly love you; and if that's the case screw them anyways. In reality they are better off then a single race; especially white; they get 2 different opportunities for ancestory scholarships, 2 different opportunities for racial scholarships, they are more likely to get accepted into a college if they do well in school because they are bi-racial. There is no reason bi racial ppl should be whining or complaining you have it better off then most.

    December 20, 2011 at 7:00 pm | Report abuse |
    • One+One=Too

      BS. You are either dumb or dumber to even go there, it's just not true. I share both ancestories and it never got me any dual benefits. If you peoplel aren't hating my black side, you're hating my Latino side, but that's alright with me, you all can kiss my backside. I'm good with that.

      December 20, 2011 at 8:17 pm | Report abuse |
    • Chase

      @Deanglo-Not every person of color benefits or even need the assistance you are referring to. Stop generalizing people of color. I am a married black man who went to school at night and worked full time during the day. I never asked for or received a handout Undergrad or Grad. Let’s just all have a great holiday season!

      December 21, 2011 at 6:13 pm | Report abuse |
  22. josh

    I think black lotinos are better then black folk

    December 20, 2011 at 6:31 pm | Report abuse |
    • One+One=Too

      How's that Josh? Go back to class.

      December 20, 2011 at 8:18 pm | Report abuse |
  23. Me

    I can definitely relate to these people. My family is from Panama and I find myself often having to choose sides. Latinos seem to think of me as an outsider and blacks always, always, think I'm lying about my heritage because I think I'm "better than them". I am proud of being black and proud of being Panamena. I remember being told that I was lying about my heritage because I didn't have that "good hair" and I was way too dark. Oh the surprise on those ignorant people's faces when I'd go off on them in Spanish. When I applied to college I had marked "hispanic" as my race, and my advisor asked me if I had chosen the wrong choice as I looked black. I explained to her my heritage and she still didn't seem to understand! Unfortunately, we live in a country that always sees race along black-white lines and those of us who are in the middle tend to get ignored..

    December 20, 2011 at 5:55 pm | Report abuse |
  24. Latino Brazilian?

    When will people finally learn that we are all the same species and that race does not determine character for example? If minorities prefer to segregate themselves in isolated islands called 'communities' we will keep having people looking different at you for being 'different'.

    December 20, 2011 at 5:27 pm | Report abuse |
  25. mikrik

    If people start thinking of themselves as Americans vice, as racial groups, things will be better for all involved. The media's constant focus on race is determined not to let this happen.

    December 20, 2011 at 4:59 pm | Report abuse |
  26. pauljack

    We are all Brother's and Sister's of the same race....human. Via con dios!

    December 20, 2011 at 4:53 pm | Report abuse |
  27. Shawn

    CNN's fixation with skin color amuses me.

    December 20, 2011 at 4:37 pm | Report abuse |
  28. denisha

    well my sister is black and puerto rican so for her it was easy to embrace both sides! i think its a wonderful thing though because you get to learn about another culture that you're apart of. love you

    December 20, 2011 at 4:01 pm | Report abuse |
  29. SpencerX

    For me, it's the best of both worlds! I mostly identify with my African American side however as a child growing up I learned and embraced my Puerto Rican heritage as well and I've never felt like I had to choose sides....as far as we were concerned...we were all the same regardless. It's the more fairer complexion Latinos who looks down on us because they want to be accepted as white or feel they're more passable in a white world. My family (mi familia) never embraced that type of stinking thinking!

    December 20, 2011 at 3:35 pm | Report abuse |
    • mac58

      Spencer I'll bet though you probably have a long list free minority benefits, Mr. I don't subscribe to that type of stinking thinking.

      December 20, 2011 at 3:47 pm | Report abuse |
      • Latina P

        I wish I knew all the benefits you speak of. I am a black Latina whose parents migrated to this country 20 years ago. We have never been on ANY type of government assistance, no one in my family has ever had a run in with the law, and I’ve never received assistance because of my race, color, or creed. My sister and I put ourselves through college like the majority of students do; with student loans. We work, pay a mortgage, have a car note, donate to charities and give back to our community. No, not a community that is compromised solely of Latinos, but one that happens to be very diverse. The fact is that the media only shows the negative aspects of the Latino community, what we supposedly take away from others who were born in the United States. Never do they say what we give back. Educate yourself.

        December 20, 2011 at 4:07 pm | Report abuse |
    • One+One=Too

      Yes Spence, it is some times. But, it can also be amusing listing to those around me talk about me in a language I speak fluently and then the surprise looks when I join the conversation...worth millions!!!

      December 20, 2011 at 8:23 pm | Report abuse |
  30. B00bTube

    I'm thinkin more like Brown Sugar Mamacitas. This chick is a babe.

    December 20, 2011 at 3:13 pm | Report abuse |
    • NudeTruth

      You have low standards, lol.

      December 20, 2011 at 6:22 pm | Report abuse |