Reader beware, there will be swearing below:
Caveat #1: This opinion piece was written while renting a room from a White Venezuelan. I don’t hate white people, though I absolutely despise those who misuse their genetic privilege, especially to the detriment of others. I mean —like so many white people like to say, I must affirm the inverse— I have white friends, and they’re cool with what I say here, and in my music.
Caveat #2 White Latinos are like cops —the good ones will call out and hold accountable the bad ones— and as I said to another organization recently, I would hope that fair-skinned Latinos could be defenders and uplifters of dark-skinned Latinos, knowing that their privilege shields them from the ire that darker-skinned Latinos receive. Though I won’t hold my breath, as there’s too much to gain by playing the one-drop (if that) crying game.
Caveat #3 You’re right, I’m tired and pissed off. I don’t have any patience, whiteness stole my childhood from me and patriarchy/capitalism stole me from my mother. And that’s just for starters. I mean, what it’s taken from all of us—we need to be more competent than we’re acting. And ain’t none of you White Latines, save the editors of this here publication, ever done a damn thing that I haven’t paid for, to help me get back to either of them—fact, most of y’all trashcans have only made it more difficult. While you’re screaming Latinidad, la raza, and goddess knows what the else at the top of your damn lungs—shut the fuck up and wake the fuck up.
The white Latinos are at it again.
And I hate that we have to have this conversation. Again.
WHITE LATINOS EXIST. Y’all need to stop crying.
Just one brief example from Colombian history:
In a debate with the Conservative candidate for president, Gaitán asked him how he made his living.
“From the land”, the other candidate replied.
“Ah, and how did you get this land?” asked Gaitán.
“I inherited it from my father!”
“And where did he get it from?”
“He inherited it from his father!”
The question is repeated once or twice more, and then the Conservative candidate concedes, “We took it from the Natives”.
Gaitán’s reply was, “Well, we want to do the opposite: we want to give the land back to the Natives.”
And to me, if you’re not about that life, if you’re not Juan Marrón (read: the Latino John Brown), you need to fix and de-center, yourself enough to stop acting like you’re any type of victim, as comparable to dark-skinned people from Latin America (read: Indigenous and Black people from Latin America).
Yes, affiliation with Indigenous communities is not a matter of skin color; it’s complex, nuanced and beautiful; nonetheless, White Latinos, and the beige brigade, stop centering your shallow selves and tears.
Now you’re right, I’ve only been living in Colombia for the past few years, re-connecting with my own biological family. And leaving personal experiences aside, white people are called monos in Colombia, which is used as a term of affection; while the term negro has a much more complex use. And the word indio is used as an insult, consistently.
The point is, and from my understanding this applies to at least a few other countries in Latin America, WHITE PEOPLE ARE CALLED WHITE.
So the humor, and idiocy, of these same colonizing bigots traveling to North America and THEN acting like they aren’t white, is odious to say the least, as well as inline with their colonial lineage …
To be honest, the idea which I’m about to put forth was originally unveiled to me by Marwan Kraidy in his book, Hybridity, or the Cultural Logic of Globalization, as recommended to me by my U.S. History of Electronic Media professor at the University of Minnesota. What’s worth noting is the narrative under which Latin America was colonized, and by which the colonizing inhabitants subsequently separated from their ancestral monarchies, who had originally infected the land.
While “Founding Fathers” of the United States refused to acknowledge any semblance of equality (even when they did have relations with non-Europeans—hi, Sally Hemings and Thomas Jefferson), Latin America’s “Founding Fathers” claimed that because some of them had had relations with the indigenous people of the lands, supposedly, that they were the rightful heirs of the land, and furthermore, that it was their responsibility to rid their lands of the offensive colonial presence of their former monarchies.
THIS is the story of how White Latinos came to be. This is wherefrom their skin’s lack of color descends, and this is the path their privilege has paved. Knowing this, the colonizer’s next natural move is to try and say that whiteness isn’t a skin color, but a mentality. This is an overt attempt to twist an assessment of how tokens behave into an illogical defense for their own belligerence/negligence, and so conflate their humiliation into a victim’s pain. I mean, even if it were only a mentality, y’all gotta stop centering yourselves in order to break free of that mentality.
The indisputable psychological fact is that first-sight impressions play a large role in how people are perceived, and are thus treated. When you’re white, you’re treated with greater humanity than those who are progressively darker—it’s called colorism, and it is also real. (For the academically minded, a pertinent book may be Pigementocracies: Ethnicity Race & Color in Latin America.)
This past week, one previous Latino Rebel contributor decried that the difference occurs when people learn [his] last name, though I must posit that there are only a fraction of instances when this occurs, compared to having to walk around the world, 24/7, being dark-skinned. An experience of which our aforementioned author has none, zero, nada, zilch.
And so, we ask, to what is he trying to compare his experience?
I would posit that he has very little of his own, so he must rely on the projection of an experience which can only be substantiated by listening to the narratives of others, of which he subsequently colonizes, turning the overheard narratives into his own.
It is in his lineage as a colonizer to do this, to take these narratives which he has heard, extrapolate what can be manipulated into plausible applicability, combine it with what little experience he has of his own, and then cry louder than dark-skinned people or conflate their pain, and their struggle, as some how equal to his own. Furthermore, I would posit that this is the pathology of whiteness, this is the modus operandi of colonization. It’s parasitic.
And it’s exactly what his ancestors did—to rid the land of their royalist relatives.
While most of these supposed victims aren’t doing a damn thing about their own biases, colorism and bigotry —either because whenever a dark skinned “Latino” attempts to hold them accountable for their putrid behavior— they cry victim, and vilify their critic:
DARVO: Deny the abuse ever took place, then Attack the victim for attempting to hold the abuser accountable; then they will lie and claim that they, the abuser, are the real victim in the situation, thus Reversing the Victim and Offender.
I even had a old Boricua guy, who supposedly ran with the Black Panthers of Chicago in the 60’s, accuse me of being a reverse racist. He was mad that I took public offense to his attempts to colonize conversations around talking to young men of color, when his most recent, and perhaps relevant, experience was to create a “healing circle” for another white Latino who Black, Brown and Muslim women in the community had named a predator. This is what this old Boricua said about me:
But again, isn’t that how colonization works?
A White Latino is called out for predation and colonization by the marginalized, and often darker complected members of the community, only to have other White Latinos, and their tokens, swoop in to save their colonial kin?
What the fuck has changed in 528 years? ‘Cause I’m not seein’ it.
Is it supposed to just be coincidence that nearly all holders of power in Latin America are white? And when we turn our eyes to the U.S.-ian shores —to the Latino leaders of industry in the developed world, to the C-suites, and even the office workers— how many are as dark as, or darker than, a paper bag?
Do I even need to answer that?
Not that representation is to be equated with liberation, because it isn’t.
And I wonder why that is?
I mean, y’all gonna wanna tell me it’s because the darker ones aren’t working hard enough?
Or maybe it’s because the darker ones are continually belittled, demeaned, alienated and dismissed in ways light-skinned Latinos will NEVER comprehend, because y’all do the same shit and then laugh it off like we’re all the same—you’re invested in the charade.
We are not that same.
And trust me, I would know, I was raised in the middle of Whitelandia, raised by white people and ostracized by the affluent Midwestern Latinos for having been so, you know. Need proof?
I mean, there’s an old dicho that flatly says, mejorar la raza.
And y’all acting like just because you moved a few latitudes North all of the sudden y’all are the victims; but only after someone hears your name, or maybe your accent.
All the while, y’all acting like Latino is a scout badge: y’all get to say that your children are biracial, that your relationships are interracial and that you’re not a racist bigot for acting like the colonizers who spawned you, constantly centering yourselves.
The one-drop-if-that rule got y’all drunk as a cop on a power trip.
I mean, for WAY too many of y’all who are light-skinned immigrants of the U.S., the only reason you have that opportunity is because your ancestors colonized the land, nearly exterminated the natives, enslaved Black people to work the land, then called themselves the rightful heirs of the land—so y’all could have the power and position to migrate North and perpetuate the protocol.
Y’all wanna say you’re victims, y’all wanna say you don’t exist so you don’t have to examine or unlearn your own privilege and problematic behavior —y’all wanna be brown— so much so that y’all can’t listen to, support, nor uplift, actual dark-skinned people because it would get in the way of what you’re really after—the spotlight.
The pathology is pathetic, basic, colonial, and obvious.
Pachamama doesn’t love you.
I think I’ll just leave this as this… y’all honestly, I’m tired … if y’all wanna support me, here’s a book of poetry for purchase, or join the Patreon. And if you’d like some tech help, check out DreamFreely.org/exocto. Or check out what I’ve been doing on Github and sponsor me there. I’ve been fighting whiteness for my entire life, minus the first six months; only to, nearly, continually be shutdown by fair-skinned Latinos who always want to act like they know better than me. Act like they know my experiences, and to be honest, nearly all act in congruent manners, and with the same narratives, as the Scandinavian people who bought me.
Y’all wanna tell me I’m wrong, but y’all weren’t raised by Scandinavian Evangelicals. All you have are projections to go on—delusions, if you will. I have the hard experiences, and I studied statistics. The behavior is arguably, and frighteningly, the same. Then we get to the rote tropes about me being dramatic, or taking things out of context, and finally we end up with me being called a bully for holding, more often than not, white people accountable for their colonial behavior.
So these days, I say, let’s just fast-forward to the end: white people/Latinos are stupid, arrogant, belligerent colonizing bigots. Just like all men are paternalistic trashcans, and all cops are bastards.
As I once read a Black woman to have written, “If it don’t apply, let it fly.”
Now you’re also correct, I didn’t talk about Blackness at all in this opinion piece—because I’m not Black, that’s not my narrative. Someone else ought write more on that, many already do. Listen to and support them. And to whomever might write for this publication on the topic, I beg of you … do not give White Latinos an inch—we all know they’ll make it into a mile of excuses, justifications and violence.
Also for further insight on what is happening in Colombia right now please follow and support MovimientoMAIS; between the seemingly daily massacres, which the current president calls “collective homicides,” as he and his patrons attempt their own take-over of the government so as to avoid jail, not to mention attempts to begin fracking. While U.S. troops occupy our land without permission from the Senate, not trying to legitimize nation-states, but if ever there was a time for “Latinos” to unite and fight the demons of our past, that time is now, though we need to de-center whiteness, along with those who bare that mark of privilege, before we can all move forward together … and so I say …
Lastly, a shameless plug of my own music because I don’t hate white people, I just don’t trust them either; they have a lot of growing up and gettin’ down to do before that’s possible … nonetheless, here’s to faith, hope and love …
Thanks for readin’ & listenin’ y’all.
Canin Carlos (Culture Clap) is an artist, entrepreneur and educator. His book of poetry is called White Like Me, The Incoherent Ramblings of an Unmedicated Adolescent. He also has a code ebook called Rebel Coding. You can find him on your favorite social media platform as Culture Clap.