Afro-Latina

Gratitude to Marisol Caballero for introducing me to the term "Afro-Latina." (Yeah, I probably should have known it, but I didn't.) I think this year I'm going to resolve to RECLAIM that identity. Usually, when I see things like this in the news about Latinx, I feel like it's not about me...and that if I try to connect with it, that says something bad about me. But THIS article does not feel this way. It feels right in my blood. I know for a fact that we had "brujas" in my family, and that's what they were called.

On BOTH sides of my family, I am Afro-descendant. Double f*&(&g Yoruba, man. (Not that I actually know that but PROBABLY Yoruba. LOL) And...although I have not expressed this to my family, and probably won't, I sometimes think that one "reason" I went from Christian to pagan and witchcraft is because the Latin people in my family all rejected that part of their heritage. And with good reason from their perspective, and I absolutely respect that.

But I grew up with stories of how gifted my mom and aunt and recent ancestors were, stories that fascinated and terrified me. And they are STILL like that...gifted, but want nothing to do with it. Meanwhile, I, who don't really see myself as gifted in the same way or nearly as sensitive, am the one who went the other direction. I even studied folklore and music and culture, so that it so happens I am able to look into these things and research my cultural history, if I so choose.

So...though i can't necessarily feel them, I like to think my ancestors conveniently found a way to make sure the heritage did not get completely lost. Borrowing from that Jewish story of generational religious heritage, I may not know the sacred place, or the tree in it, or the prayer I'm supposed to say, but I can pray.

And so now we have the whole diverse package. The Christian and the pagan are both part of my family, not one or the other. Christian is also on BOTH sides of my family. :) ANYway, I love this article. I love that it's giving me the rare experience of feeling it is connected to and about ME, in some way, and not that I'm an outsider looking at something exotic.

I do not need to claim Latina identity because I need to add something "extra" to being Black. I know some people think that, and some people DO that. But that is not why. I am happy to be black. I am happy to be the color of the coffee I drink and beautiful in my own completely unique way. I'm happy that I HAVE an ancestry...THAT'S what matters. I don't care which one it is. I just want one.

I need to claim Latina identity, because my ancestors need me to, and my heritage and spiritual practice needs me to. I need it to be whole and to be connected with them. So i think maybe I'm finally at a point in my life where I'll actually make a little more effort, and stop pretending like it's something I should be embarrassed about. :) This article just makes me feel a little sparkly and happy, so I knew it was a good thing I came across it...particularly in these times.

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