C L E A R A S B L A C K
My parents raised me in a predominantly white suburb of a black city, but it was the Latin culture that taught me. My first words, my mother’s food, my grandma’s counsel, my grandpa’s stories, my father’s song, my manipulative manners, my sister’s eyes, our irreverent whispers in church, the old man that gave me candy, the young man called Piraña, who had very large teeth who showed up every 4 months- stayed for a couple hours and left everyone in the house screaming with laughter. All these things… were so very Latin.
I also grew up enveloped in black. Growing up so close to Washington D.C., it was inevitable. From my best friends to my favorite songs; from first loves to lost ones. These things that encircled me from my baby face to my awkward age and carried me to adulthood were the standard for me - a Latina growing up in a white suburb of a black city that did not know she was anything else but Latin.
3 years ago I found out that my great-great grandfather was black. My grandfather was brown, tall and slender with light blue eyes. His grandfather was an African man that came to Colombia and stayed for a while. Somehow this heritage was hidden underneath the shades between white and black. It got pushed more towards white and less towards black, until lines blurred and although I am Latina, I am covered in white. Just like my suburb, just like my face, I am not what is exposed.
Puerto Rico is an island made up of a vast hybridity of people including: African, Arab, Native In- dian, and European. This island also happens to be the capital of the world for Albinism. There are layers upon layers that make up how alibinism manifests physically, inside and out. Albinism is not just white on this island, its black too. There are people who have the condition of albinism, but do not display the physical characteristics commonly known of a person with albinism. They have normal pigmentation, dark eyes and hair. They are black, white and everything in be- tween, and they are all people with albinisim.
The blackest person with the condition is still white, and the whitest person with albinism is still black. Because of the genetics of the people that make up this place, everyone is black, but not everyone is white. One word cannot embrace the whole of my identity. My make up lies in a million things that cover me and when unveiled are clear as black. (via)
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they need plenty of sun block and don’t go to east africa otherwise they’ll end up in some witch doctors bag of bones………