Identity is layered. With the evolution of terminologies and expansion of definitions, it’s complex and far from static.
For our community, it’s no different as we’ve seen terms like Hispanic, Latino and now Latinx originate within the last 50 years. The latter, Latinx, became Merriam-Webster-official at the top of September, which signified a moment of inclusion for some, and a move to further complicate the Spanish language for others. Even with “inclusive” terms like Latino/a/x, some remain left out, making room for Asian Latinx and Afro-Latinx, among other identities.
I recently opened up about my view on the term Afro-Latina and why I feel negra is more fitting in an op-ed for Remezcla, detailing how I first discovered the word and how I felt it embodied my identity fully to its current trendiness and the shift I’ve seen in who gets centered, as well as some attempts to separate Blackness from it. The article led to nearly a week of social media shares, comments and direct messages from those wanting to unpack the identity. While many understood my perspective, others remain aligned with Afro-Latina or said they preferred adding Afro to their nationality. Some ditched all those terms, connecting with Afro-descendant, while others are open to using all of the above.
But despite the term selected, pride in Blackness was a constant. The conversations parallel existing data. One in four U.S. Latinxs self-identify as Afro-Latinx, Afro-Caribbean or of African descent with roots in Latin America, according to the Pew Research Center. Here’s what five Black women via Latin America want you to know about how they choose to identify.