For this second installment of #LatinoRebels10 in celebration of Latino Rebels’ 10th anniversary, we look back at a moment in 2012 that is still relevant today. For more installments, click here.
On February 26, 2012, 17-year-old Trayvon Martin died after being shot by George Zimmerman in Sanford, Florida. At the time, when Latino Rebels started covering the tragedy, we were told by many of our online followers that we couldn’t cover “Black issues” because we were a Latino news site.
The ignorance of such comments meant nothing to us.
Today, if here were alive, Trayvon would be 26 years old, his whole life in front of him, and even though Zimmerman, now 37, was never convicted for Trayvon’s death, this story’s relevance still resonates now—especially when it comes to issues of race and identity.
Zimmerman’s mixed-race status became the crutch of a mostly conservative media that insisted it wasn’t a racially motivated issue, because Zimmerman was actually Hispanic. Soon, conservative voices would mock the term “white Hispanic” as being illogical, claiming that it was just an invention of liberal media to insist that race was a factor in the confrontation between Zimmerman and Trayvon.
In response, we wrote a piece in March of 2012 that stated the obvious: yes, Latinos are racists, especially white ones.
As we wrote back then:
The point is: race and culture are interwoven in Hispanic/Latino communities, and it has never been a harmonious fit. To deny that reality is to deny that we as Latinos can be our own worst enemy when it comes to racism. If we aren’t bombarded with Univision and Telemundo shows with white, more light-skinned actors living the lap of luxury, all we need to do is look at popular culture: Latinos promote whiteness more than ever. They sell a world of whiteness, and have done so for decades. And that is wrong.
This theme would become a central part of our site, with many contributors weighing in. Here are just a few examples:
White Latino Racism on the Rise: It’s Time for a Serious Conversation on Euro-Diasporic Whiteness
Blackface, Brownface and Black Lives Matter in Latin America
1.2 Million Latinos Tell Census They’re Now White, and NYTimes Thinks It’s Awesome
Examining Dominican Anti-Blackness During a Summer of Protest
To My Fellow White Latinx: It’s Time to Decline the ‘Get Out of Whiteness Card’ (OPINION)
‘White-Passing’ Isn’t a ‘Get Out of Racism Free’ Card (OPINION)
The Violent History of Latin America Is ALL About Promoting Whiteness (OPINION)
The theme is one we continue to explore with our contributors even when it seems like a piece’s headline might have missed the mark:
Don’t worry —even with some just slamming us for publishing the headline— we made sure others weighed in because that is what we do at Latino Rebels.
It’s safe to say that we will continue to explore this issue like we always have. And if you don’t like it or feel like we “can’t” talk about, well, hit it, Gollum:
This conversation, debate and discussion about racism within Latinx communities needs to continue while clearly recognizing the Roots of that racism to be firmly entrenched in every one of our Latin American home nations!