When I was in third grade, in Puerto Rico, I wanted to be the Virgin Mary for the community Christmas celebration. A teacher promptly informed me that the mother of Christ could not be black. A girl with blonde hair and blue eyes was selected for the role, and I was given the role of a shepherd. In middle school, also in Puerto Rico, I played a house servant for a school play. Only children of black heritage played the slaves and servants. A white student with a painted face portrayed the only significant black character. All the other characters were white. I learned then that nonwhite persons could not be anyone or anything representative of the nation's greatness but could only serve as servants and slaves to the great white leaders. In this essay, I explore racism among Latinos both in Latin America and the United States, with particular reference to black Latino women, the Latinegras.


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