Undivine Providence: … as detailed in ColorLines. The U.S. Census data slated for release this week should provide more information about Asians and Native Americans. From there, folks can better figure out how not to get played, since this story (despite what I’m about to quote below) isn’t as simple as all the stories last week about the nation’s black and Latino communities reaching population parity would have a reader believe.
Almeida acknowledges that racism is a problem in getting blacks and Latinos together, and compares it to the privilege that lighter skin color carries within black communities. “Every Latino who ran is light- or white-skinned. What we have in common is that we come in shades, and we need to accept that within ourselves, as who we are.” He explains that as people of color, “we’re more apt to run against ourselves than someone white,” since there is a fear of taking on the power structure. Gwen Andrade, an African American political and community activist, warns that racism has created a wedge between blacks and Latinos rather than forging a bond. After running for state senate in the Elmwood and Reservoir Triangle neighborhoods in 1992 and managing successful campaigns including her Puerto Rican husband’s bid for city council, she sees this election as a sign that many Latinos will respond to racism by more readily aligning with whites. This is especially frustrating because the Caribbeans who make up the vast majority of Providence’s Latino population share not only African roots but also a history of slavery and brutal oppression with North American blacks.
“In America the further away from ‘black’ you get, the better,” says Andrade. “That’s the perception that’s been set up–it’s the historical perspective of any group of people that has African roots. If you’ve got that African heritage that comes out in the skin color, or in the hair, you’re fighting even harder to distance yourself from it because of what black means in this country.” Or in this hemisphere, one could add.