'You're Not Latina Enough': What It Feels Like To Be Black And Latina | xoNECOLE
Life & Travel

‘You’re Not Latina Enough’: What It Feels Like To Be Black And Latina

Comments (30)
  1. This article is so relatable. Growing up Panamanian, I had a hard time identifying who I was. I wasn’t cool enough for the Black kids, but my hair wasn’t slick & long enough for the Spanish kids. When I was in elementary school, being Black wasn’t enough. You had to be mixed with SOMETHING (even if it was 2% Native American lol). But even with both of my parents being from Panama, I love was never Spanish enough. But hey, I’m finding my identity in Christ and knowing I’m beautiful either way. Afro-Latina/Black…whatever. My identity is in Christ 🙂

  2. Fix it jesus says:

    My husband is a black Cuban from Santiago de Cuba. I’m the complexion of Oprah, my husband is very dark skinned and has dreadlocks, he makes me look light skinned in pics. People flip out all the time about a 6″4, 240 pound jet black man that only speaks Spanish, but most people only go from what they have learned on TV. How do people think the sugar cane in Cuba was harvested? Not by magic, it was done with African slave labor. I’ve been to Cuba about 8 times, most of the white folks fled during the Cuban revolution. What remains on the island is mostly blacks and mullattoes. I fit right in with Cuban society and my husband’s family, everyone looks like me.

    1. Thank you for sharing this, I love it! Go on and educate the masses! I have yet to go to my father’s homeland, but I know when I do, it’ll be magical and everything I hoped it to be.

  3. Amber Lootie says:

    I get questioned all the time, not black enough, not white enough, I’m frowned on because I don’t speak Spanish ( I’m not even a Latina) at the end of the day ( after years of feeling inferior one way or another) Im a black woman, who’s raising black children and it’s nobody’s business how come we are all so fair skinned.

  4. Blackish says:

    This article transcends on so many levels. I grew up being the “Oreo” (black on the outside but white on the inside). I was picked on for speaking differently among black kids and I was always token around white kids. When I hit middle school and high school I felt like I spent much of my time either defending myself or my race. It really wasn’t until I became comfortable in who I was that things shifted. That’s were you find your true beauty. The beauty to walk the line and fall into either category (no matter your race, creed, or gender) and still be excepted because you excepted yourself. I will never be “black enough” for some and I will always be reminded I’m still black to others. But that’s just fine because I like me.

  5. I deal with this from my own family. My Dad is Puerto Rican and his side of the family tries to make me feel less than for one reason or anther. Sometimes they don’t even realize what they’re doing.

  6. Curly Sue says:

    Great article. Because I’m light skinned, I always get “you don’t look African” because apparently every African person is supposed to be dark skinned. I stopped asking the same questions and just let them live in their own ignorance. People need to travel and read more. The media only depicts what they want you to see and believe so if you’re only watching TV, you are living inside a box. People from all continents come in all different shades and we are all children of God😊

  7. Justine bloomquist says:

    Imagine how Celia Cruz must of felt… Black women come in all shades… I always thought the census and “Latin explosion” early 2000s was more about perpetuating prejudice colorist stereotypes and played down the Afro presence for political reasons… which is the fabric of so many experiences in the Americas. I had to tell someone before Please don’t down play my down my blackness and my culture to fit your racism yes my family is from a Spanish speaking country but I am not ashamed or hide who I am to fit in with trends of the moment. Those that do are embarrassing. My heritage is not a trend.

  8. Paola says:

    I love this! Being Afro-Rican myself, I’m always told I’m too light to be black but I’m too dark to be white . Or my hair is nice so I couldn’t possibly have any black in me. I can tell you that I don’t fit the normal category either but I learned to love myself & love to try and educate those that are ignorant around me. I’m proud of my heritage and it took me a while to be comfortable and love myself unconditionally but j had to do it for myself

    1. Thank you for reading, Paola, and AMEN! The “hair is too nice to have Black in you” comment drives me up the wall. Pure ignorance, but there’s nothing like falling in love with yourself because YOU know who you are.

  9. I just binged watch Jane the Virgin this weekend….love it

  10. Seana Marie says:

    I can relate Jamaican heritage but don’t have the dialect (speak patois) and Jamaicans basically disown me for it. I’m not a Jamaican they always say, but that’s what I know. It’s my culture, my comfort, my “home”. It’s frustrating feeling like u have to prove yourself, but I’m just learning to go where I’m accepted. Funny thing is, I’m most accepted by Latinas! Lol!

  11. Fix it jesus says:

    Erica, you will love Cuba. Go to Santiago de Cuba for Carnaval, it’s in July and Eastern Cuba is the most African. All of the parties and parades are the week leading up to July 26th, it’s the anniversary date of the Cuban revolution. Santiago’s Carnaval is that time of the year because it’s the hottest. The slave owners would give the slaves that week off to rest. If you can survive the heat, it’s the best time to go. You will blend right in, trust me!!

  12. Cookie says:

    As a dark skinned Belizean I can relate to this. Both my mother and father are from Belize and my family members are many different colors, so I wasn’t phased until I would met other Belizeans (or people of other ethnicites) shocked that I’m Latina. For a while it would bother me, but I love who I am and have so much pride in my culture. I’ve grown to learn that no one can define me under their terms or put me in this box. We come in all different colors and cultures and should be respected as such!

    1. yonnom says:

      I too am Belizean-American. But by US standards, we Belizeans are not Latino. I was confused for a long time b/c it’s a multi-racial in Central American country. Officially, Latinos are only people with heritage from Spain and Portuguese colonized countries in Latin America (I think. There’s a youtube video explaining the definition). All us former Brit adn French colonies (Guyana, Jamaica, Trinidad & Tobago) get lumped together as “West Indian” or “Caribbean”.

  13. I get that with my Trini family. I’m a Yankee until I do something good or if I get famous I bet they will let me claim it then .. Let me not even get into the confusion my last name vs appearance causes *sigh*

  14. All the time. ..apparently a darkskin girl can’t be afro-latina! Smh

  15. Been called “white girl” so much because I speak proper(being from Colorado doesn’t help) and have had people tell me they assumed I was bi-racial ….I’m sure I’m not. I’m black and proud it’s just wierd when people want me to be anything but!!!

  16. Always and it used to annoy me but it’s their problem.

  17. Ticanica830 says:

    @Erica Nichole, your article completely resonates with me! I am a first generation American of Costa Rican / Nicaraguan parentage on both sides with basic Spanish speaking skills. My parents came to this country fully bilingual, as English was their primary language in the home. Also, in this country, I’m viewed as light skinned, while in Costa Rica, I’m dark! Growing up, I’ve been called everything from white girl, Spanish coconut, blasian, to Puerto Rican, all while having to defend my blackness. Til this day, I still field questions about my ethnic background. I have this one distinct memory from elementary school, when a very dark skinned girl from DR, told me that I wasn’t “Spanish” because I wasn’t fully bilingual, and that all “Spanish” girls have mustaches! I didn’t have a mustache. Go figure!

  18. Frost says:

    How is Vonnie being negative? It’s a true statement. If I called you an idiot for saying she was being negative, then THAT would be negative. -_- Hence, why it was changed.

    Anyway, I disagree about the language ideology of if you don’t know your language then that’s ok. I feel that Americans have this complex about being multi-lingual when the rest of the world are bilingual, trilingual, etc. It’s sad because speaking another language enriches you, especially if it is one you have biologically a part of. I think it is important to learn it and pass it on to your children.

    1. Ticanica830 says:

      Vonnie’s critique is still baseless, just as your cosigning of it. Vonnie referred to the article’s intro, which by the way, was not changed from ethnicity to nationality. Erica wrote about someone asking her a question, entiendes? Pura vida!

  19. E.J. La Tremenda says:

    I am Puerto Rican, Cuban and Panamanian. I am morenas. I am always asked my ethnicity especially after seeing me dance. Once I tell them, the response is, “Oh that’s why you can salsa or move like that,” I’m like really. I was told I thought you were black. I didn’t know there were black people that were Latina. I told them you should read more and travel more to expand your little minds. People of color are all over the world. I love my skin, my locks, my soulfulness and all of my culture.

  20. Jasmin Tapia says:

    I’ve always gotten this from people. Mostly because I don’t speak perfect Spanish. But to hell with them. I am Puerto Rican and I love Puerto Rico and my family and heritage. If I needed everyone’s opinion or cared about them for that matter; I’d be a lost soul and wouldn’t have come as far as I have. F*ck ’em all! Miserable ass sheep!

    1. Lol, YES! My grandfather and aunt is of Puerto Rican descent and this has been an issue for my auntie because she barely speaks Spanish. She is STILL comfortable and PROUD of the skin she’s in and that’s all that matters for any of us! We are who we are and there’s nothing someone else’s opinion can do about it. 😉 Thanks for stopping by and reading, Jasmin!

  21. J says:

    I can relate to this article…my great parents from my dad’s side were cuban and my grandfather was cuban (my grandmother is black) so my dad is african american and cuban (my mother is black) so i sometimes consider my self african american but when people look at my thick hair and thick eyebrows and my appearance im not considered african-american to them they think i look more “ethnic” (especially living in a latino community in nyc) so when i explain that my great grandparents are afro -cuban they think i was lying….i find it ok to be part hispanic and not speak spanish…my grandfather didnt speak spanish but understood the language and so has my father….

  22. Jade A Bryan says:

    Why do you want to be called Latina anyway. It’s a colonial term…

  23. Vonnie says:

    Love it! My only critique is relating to this article, in the intro paragraph the proper term would be “What’s your ETHNICITY”, as nationality would be the country you are born.

    1. Ticanica830 says:

      @Vonnie Please stop with your negativity, your critique is baseless.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *