Friday, September 20, 2019

New report takes a deeper look at how Latinos experience discrimination in the U.S.

Latinos with darker skin tones are more likely than those with lighter skin to say they’ve been discriminated against, according to a new national poll by the Pew Research Center.

A new report out today takes a deeper look at how Latinos experience discrimination in the U.S. In Leyda Diaz’s family, there’s a diversity in skin tones; “I’m the lightest one of my siblings. We come from the darkest to the lightest. My mom is dark, and my father is very light skin-toned and – with red hair and freckles.” she said.

Diaz lives in Queens, N.Y., and identifies as Puerto Rican and Afro-Latina, but sometimes, she says, other people overlook her Latino identity, including during a recent shopping trip. “This lady was asking for help, but she was saying it in Spanish. And she was with a friend. [Her friend] goes, ask her. She goes, oh, she doesn’t speak Spanish” she said.

Diaz says others have also judged her brothers by their appearance; “They’re black Hispanic – ‘morenos’ as they would say, so when you go to a bodega – [people say] oh, watch that moreno. He might steal”. That is a kind of discrimination that the Pew Research Center says some Latinos and Latinas are more likely than others to say they’ve experienced because of their race or ethnicity.

Latinos and Latinas with darker skin tones are more likely than those with lighter skin to say that they’ve been subject to slurs or jokes and that people acted as if they were suspicious of them. Juliana Horowitz, one of the co-authors of Pew’s new report, says that the idea of colorism is something academics talk about, but that hasn’t necessarily been part of the more public debate about race and experiences with racial discrimination in the U.S.

Guesnerth Josue Perea, the director of programs and communications for the AfroLatino- AfroLatina Forum, an organization based in New York City that is trying to raise awareness of Latinos and Latinas of African descent in the U.S. addressed this. “There’s a myth in the Latino community that we are this rainbow, multicolored ethnic group, that there’s no racism in Latino communities because we are all mixed. It’s not true. There’s a lot of discrimination in many different ways” he said.

NPR