'What happens when you’re a light-skinned Latino' and 'What really happens when you’re a light-skinned Latino'
“What happens when you’re a light-skinned Latino” and “What really happens when you’re a light-skinned Latino” are two blogs recently published at The Huffington Post that expose the two-sided realities of race and skin color in the United States.
Student and editor-at-large at University of Southern California, Fernando Hurtado first published “What happens when you’re a light-skinned Latino” on Nov. 4 as a blog post in which he describes his frustrating experience every time he gets the “You don't look Mexican” response.
Hurtado goes on to describe his random introduction to a new acquaintance who is shocked by his heritage: "WHAT? No way! I never would have guessed. Good for you! I would have thought you were from Spain or Eastern Europe. Congratulations."
“At this moment you feel like you have to say something to stand up for your cousins, aunts, uncles and friends who are ‘dark and short’ and, hence, some of the people you've learned to love the most,” Hurtado wrote.
Although his frustration is valid and share by thousands, a couple of days later racial justice advocate Sean Flores felt the need to post his own response: “What really happens when you’re a light-skinned Latino.”
“The issue I have with Hurtado’s piece is he did not discuss what really happens when you are a light-skinned Latino: You are given more platforms to discuss your oppression compared to dark-skinned Latinos; you do not suffer the intensity of racism that Afro-Latinos experience; you meet the standards of white beauty; your citizenship status is rarely, if ever, doubted,” Flores said.
Being a light-skinned Mexican myself I can relate to Hurtado’s post and agree that race is still a misunderstood concept. I come from a region in Mexico in which there is a variety of skin colors but next to no racial diversity.
I became acquainted with the misconceptions and complexities of race, skin color and identity when I moved to the States, and I am still trying to wrap my head around the U.S. concept of Latino and the very small box in which we are fit.
Flores piece is a sad reminder that life is easier when you look white.
“If we are to live in a racially just world, people of color who have the microphone need to own up to their privileges without a stutter. And when we have the stage, it is critical that we center on the stories of those furthest on the margins,” Flores concluded.