Why is the U.S. is afraid of mixed people? Because it means the loss of white racial privilege. With racial mixing come mixed raced people who don’t fit in the binary and thus, debunk it. The U.S.’s miscegenation laws were used by Hitler. Hitler actually got a lot of his eugenic ideas from how the U.S. justified their treatment of non-whites. So, that brings us to Latin Americans. I guess we call it Latin America because the roots of Spanish, French and Portuguese are from Latin. They speak those Latin rooted languages because of white European colonial and imperialism, and their people are mainly of mixed race, because of the intermixing of indigenous and African slaves. We in the U.S. refer to central and south America as “Latin America” because of the languages. But it is also used to mean a “race,” not just a geographic area and nationality. We say Latin, rather than mixed because of the U.S.’s fear of racial mixing.
I’ve only been to the north east region of Brazil twice. But when I went everyone looked mixed. It was incredibly hard to tell what race someone was unless they lay at the very ends of the color spectrum. As soon as I stepped off of the plane in the U.S. it was obvious who was black, white, Asian and “middle eastern” which is a whole other issue. When people ask me what the people looked like on my travels I just say “Latin,” but what does that mean? It means that they’re racially ambiguous. Some people do have a tendency to look more “black” or more “white,” but in reality you just can’t tell. They could be everything and anything. If you’re at the really white end of the spectrum it’s bad because you’re not the epitome of “tan,” but it’s still better than being extremely dark and racially profiled your whole life. What’s equally as bad is looking Asian in the north east because they still used the word “oriental” freely, and other racist things due to not being exposed to a lot of Asians in that area. It's important to note that even though there is racial mixing, that doesn't mean an end to racism.
But overall, the racial mixing is really amazing and I wonder if the U.S. will ever be like that. La Raza Cosmica by Jose Vasconcelos from 1925 talks about a “cosmic race.” A race that is so mixed that race doesn’t exist anymore. Will that be the solution to racism? Will that be our post racial future? Only time will tell. But in the mean time, don’t be afraid to say mixed race and embrace mixed race people or if you’re a mixed race person, embrace yourself. You’re awesome. Latin is a language root, not a race or ethnicity.
21 year old English major and ESL Teacher. Currently living in Fortaleza, Brazil. Feminist and kill joy with a cause.