Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Why Light Skin Latino: Part II

A friend told me that Light Skin Latino sounds racist, as if I’m saying “I’m one of the good ones because I’m white-ish.” But that’s not what I mean at all.  The truth is, being light skinned was actually a hindrance for me growing up.

You see, as an immigrant growing up in South Texas, where almost EVERYBODY is Mexican, I found myself stuck between two very different segments of the Hispanic culture.  It’s a little more complicated than that, but this is what it boils down to: On one side of the spectrum was the poor dark skinned immigrants discriminating against me for “looking white” and on the other side were the affluent second-generation Latinos discriminating against me for being poor (very poor) and not speaking English.

As an adult, I now know that this type of self-racism exists in almost every transitional culture.  But it is what it is, and whether I like it or not (and whether I am over it or not), I am a product of growing up in it.

I see now that Light Skin Latino may be a bit incendiary.  So maybe I should have named this blog My life as an Americanized first-generation Latino. But I gotta admit, that doesn’t sound nearly as catchy.

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