is the plight of the average Latino in the USA the same as an African- American?


It was one of those drab Sundays evenings. I was just going through emotions waiting for Monday to hit the fan. I scanned the TV channels for something worthwhile to keep my attention till bedtime; it was then I stumbled on a soccer match on Univision. Shortly after, it was half-time and I decided to stick around and watch some commercials. In the ten or so minutes I watched, I noticed that not once did I see a dark-skinned person on Univision. I then asked, are there no dark-skinned Latino’s? Well, that is a different discussion for another time.

Which brings me to today’s article. When in was in college for my graduate studies, I knew this undergraduate Mexican guy – Handsome, well-spoken, fun to be around, and always immaculately dressed. Whenever our paths crossed, we took time to catch up and discuss issues affecting our lives . One day, we were having our usual conversation, when he opened up and confided in me thus (I cannot quote him accurately, so I am paraphrasing to convey his narrative) – he lamented that whenever he went anywhere and was trying to socialize with folks (white folk), he got this look of being summarily dismissed as an illegal.

It then occurred to me why he was very particular about his looks; he was trying to project this “I am not here illegally image”. But it broke his heart that no matter what he did, at first sight, he was lumped into this much maligned group – illegal immigrants. Now, hearing this from this fellow was unexpected, because he was basically white (skin tone). He could blend into a crowd of white folks and it never occurred to me that this guy could be a victim of stereotyping. The average black person out-there believes the major yardstick of being singled out for discrimination is your skin-tone –  it’s what makes you stand out like a sore thumb. So I ask, is the plight of the average Latino in the USA the same as an African American?





6 thoughts on “is the plight of the average Latino in the USA the same as an African- American?

  1. I’m African American and we (African American) come in all different skin-tones as well. It’s not just our skin-tone that makes us the focus of stereotyping and discrimination…. Honestly it’s just a race thing, I guess. I was speaking with one of my African American male friends over the weekend and he expressed his struggle with discrimination. He’s the lightest Black person I’ve seen since my mother. He told me “it doesn’t matter how light or dark you are, they (white people) know their own. I may be light skin, but they know I’m not one of them.”

    I can see how Mexicans in particular may compare their plight to African American’s. Mexicans seem to get it the hardest out of all the Latino groups….. Sitting here actively trying to imagine how your friend must’ve felt….. Then I can’t help but think why he cared so much about their opinion?…. I’ve had white ppl tell me that if someone (a Latino) can’t speak English they shouldn’t be allowed in America. I’ve also had a Latino man become extremely defensive about his citizenship when I told him his options for completing a basic tax form. He wasn’t rude with me, but he kept telling me he was American. It offended me a little that he assumed I was questioning him. I firmly told him to stop…. I was clearly annoyed by his willingness to over explain himself….

    I think the topic of race discrimination is so complexed that you’ll always be able to produce similarities and stress the differences between our experiences.

    1. @sacrificeofleadership… as per your post, i never looked at it that way, i always looked at skin tone as the key. The fellow i was referring to could pass as a white person at night. it really opened my eyes.

  2. No. Our plight is NOT the same. It irritates me that people mention “black and latino” together so often as if our political/social/personal issues fall into the same category. They are basically white, which is probably why your hispanic friend is so concerned with other whites opinions. Their struggle is nothing like ours and never has been. Even mexicans, where I am from they dish out the MOST discrimination, especially towards Blacks.

    1. I do agree Latino’s issues are not the same as African-Americans. The premise of the article was based on the fact that no matter how much effort you spend on trying to conform or “tone-down” your self to fit in, you will never be regarded as one of them. Which is something a lot of African-Americans attempt to do also.

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