As U.S. Confronts Anti-Black Racism, Latinos Wonder Where They Fit In


“Many Latino youth, they are making the connection, they are pressing their families to have difficult conversations,” said Chris Zepeda-Millán, a professor of Chicano studies and public policy at the University of California, Los Angeles.

In one indication that Latinos are reacting to the current moment with urgency, a recent poll by The New York Times and Siena College found that 21 percent of Hispanic voters said they had participated in Black Lives Matter protests, nearly identical to the 22 percent of Black voters who said they had done so.

But some activists have privately wondered whether the recent police killings of Latinos have received enough attention, and whether there is broad acknowledgment that they, too, suffer from police brutality and systemic racism.

Jonathan Jayes-Green, a longtime activist who in 2015 created UndocuBlack, an organization designed to bring attention to issues of immigration and racial justice, said he had seen a notable shift among Latinos, both in their desire to protest and their willingness to confront racism among themselves.

That activism could be seen when dozens of Latino political leaders recently signed an open letter calling on Univision and Telemundo, the largest Spanish-language news networks based in the United States, to improve their coverage of the protests and to “use their platforms to dismantle racism, colorism and anti-blackness in our own Latino community.” Mijente circulated a similar petition.

Anti-Blackness has deep and complicated roots throughout Latin America, where fair-skinned people are frequently viewed as the ideal and receive better treatment. And those views have often carried over to the United States, where some believe that assimilation is the path to equality.

“Historically we’ve tended to aspire to the American dream, to aspire to whiteness,” said Mr. Jayes-Green, who is Afro-Latino. “Latinos have a real active role to play in this fight. We can show that these fights are not separated and that we can be active conspirators in fights against anti-Blackness.”



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