Due to having been under foreign domination for the past 600 plus years, African people around the world have lost a great sense of who we are. That is reflected in the fact that we often refer to ourselves as various foreign titles, most of them tying us to those who oppress us, such as ‘American’ or ‘French.’
African people hold on to these false identities often because of ‘culture,’ while failing to realize that culture does not define who we are—nationality does. Culture—such as the food we eat or language we speak—is not stagnant and can be easily influenced by other cultures. Also, let’s not forget that many of the things attributed to other cultures are really aspects of African culture!
Nationality, on the other hand, ties us to a land, history and resources. Furthermore, our nationality defines our relationship to other nations in the world, and even if those relationships change, our nationality remains the same.
While many Africans see the contradiction with identifying with the imperialist nations that enslaved us, some of us believe that we are ‘not as African’ as those of us who were born on the Continent, but are instead of ‘African heritage’ or ‘African descent.’
To hold on to ‘some’ of our African identity we hyphenate ‘African’—or more passively, ‘Afro’—with a colonizer identity, and somehow become ‘African-American’ or ‘Afro-British.’
We cannot subscribe to the false ideology that we have ‘descended’ to something other than African, as if who we are has changed because of where we are located. African people have been forcibly dispersed around the world, but that does not change the fact that we are who we are—African!
This truth also applies to the millions of Africans who refer to ourselves as ‘Afro-Hispanic’ and/or ‘Afro-Latino.’
Difference Between Hispanic and Latino/a
Though many groups of people categorize as both, ‘Hispanic’ and ‘Latino’ should not always be used interchangeably, since some people are one or the other.
The term ‘Hispanic’ means ‘from Spain’—or more accurately for African people, ‘colonized by Spain.’ It can also be defined as ‘a person from any Spanish-speaking country.’ Using these definitions, the term ‘Hispanic’ can refer to Spanish Europeans (from Spain) and Africans from places like Spain, Dominican Republic and Puerto Rico.
‘Latino’ is used to refer to anyone from a country in Latin-America—countries with languages derived from Latin, which include the so-called “romance languages,” Spanish, French, English and Portuguese. Africans and non-Africans alike from places like Brazil, Ayiti, Guadeloupe and Martinique would all be considered ‘Latino.’
People from countries such as the Dominican Republic, Puerto Rico and Cuba would be considered as Hispanic and Latino, because they fall under both categories. Clearly, there is nothing that speaks to being African in any of the definitions above.
African, no hyphen.
For any African to self-identify as any variation of Hispanic or Latino is to identify with those who have colonized us, period. We are not Spanish or from Spain and if we speak Spanish, or any other Latin-derived language, it is because it was beaten into us by those who have raped and colonized us!
As stated in Point 5 of the 14-Point Working Platform of the African Socialist People’s Party, all black people are African and are a part of a single national identity.
This also means that no matter our skin complexion, we are members of the African nation. Meaning, that it is just as silly for lighter-skinned Africans from the Dominican Republic to identify as ‘Latino’ as it is for darker-skinned Africans from Ayiti to identify as the same.
No such thing as ‘Mestizo,’ either.
Africans are not the only people whose identities have been stolen from us. This same phenomenon happens with the indigenous people of the places now known as ‘the Americas.’ Indigenous people should have no interest in identifying as ‘Hispanic,’ ‘Latino’ or ‘Mestizo’—a term used to describe indigenous people who are “mixed” with Spanish.
Spanish is not the native tongue of people from Mexico, Cuba, Dominican Republic, Puerto Rico or any other place where so-called ‘Hispanic’ and/or ‘Latino’ people exist. Furthermore, people who are indigenous to those countries are obviously not from Spain!
It’s as much of a contradiction for indigenous people to identify as ‘part white’ as much as it is for African people to identify as ‘part white.’ If there is any white in us, it is due to the rape our ancestors have endured and nothing about that should be claimed!
African Identity is Key
African people must conclude that our liberation is directly tied to the creation of a united and socialist Africa, as explained in Point 5 of the 14-Point Platform. For us to effective in our fight for national liberation, we must reject all false identities and nationalities forced on us by those who colonize us.
There will be no ‘African-American,’ ‘Afro-British,’ ‘Afro-Hispanic’ or ‘Afro-Latino’ revolutions that will put an end to the oppression we face as Africans all over the world.
Join the fight for African liberation by joining the African People’s Socialist Party at APSPUhuru.org!