Black? ... Latino? ... Blatino?

As of late I have been intrigued by an issue and although have my own thoughts about it, I was curious what others think.

For those who don't know, my biological dad is Dominican and my mom is Black (Geechee to be exact). I didn't grow up with my biological dad but with my step dad and mom. And I grew up under the Black influence. I have almost always lived in a mixed neighborhood (white/black) but my immediate family, church, and overall life experience was that of a Black male. When my dad tried to get me to learn Spanish, I really didn't see a need as I wouldn't be able to speak it with anyone. Yes, I grew up in Indianapolis, Latino population - 2% at that time. Of course it is different here where there are many Latinos.

Since moving here I have been trying to learn about the other side of me and the culture. It has been a wonderful experience and even therapeutic as in it I am learning to forgive my biological dad for some issues including abandonment.

What I am at war with internally is that I have noticed that when I tell Latinos, and especially Dominicans that I am half, they immediately say, "Oh, you're Latino' or "Oh, you're Dominican". I relate so much more with my Black roots that I feel a sense of abandonment to say that I am anything contrary. I also don't want to seem like some Blacks that think because they are mixed, that they are better than the rest. And God knows that I hate answering people with the, "I'm half Dominican and black" response when people ask. It makes me feel pretentious. But, at the same time, I also feel that if I don't acknowledge being Latino, am I abandoning my other heritage, however unfamiliar I am with it?


Promiscuous X August 21, 2007 9:58 PM  

Half Dominican & Black and sexy ass hell lol. Hey TY. Its me X. Just reading your blog.It was a lil too much for me. My brain couldn't process the signal to respond in a formal manor lol sorry. Just be you man. Either way your still "Ty" no matter what you choose. Black/White/Latino/Dominican. All that opens you up to many things. You represent you. You are your own culture.

fuzzy August 23, 2007 12:22 PM  

Well, its all up to you and what you feel man! If you feel more connected to your dominican side plead latino, and if you feel more connected to your black side, plead negro... lol Or just maybe when people ask you just say you're mixed. if they ask further questions then answer them.

Me personally, I am mixed but i usually dont tell people I am. I look black and have been raised amungst the black folk. I identify with blacks. But there is about 35-40% of me that isn't black, but american indian. I can prove it, I have paperwork (for all of those who claim to be native american!) LoL. While I would rather be more native than black, it just didn't happen like that... OH WELL

Anonymous August 23, 2007 12:45 PM  

The good thing is that Dominicans have African roots as well. They have Black blood in them whether or not some of them want to admit it. Even though you have Black American roots, you still have Black roots in your Dominican ancestry. I must say that I have known more Dominicans who are in touch with their Afocentricity then any other people who speak Spanish.

I enjoyed reading. Be good.

Rodney August 25, 2007 5:11 PM  

anonymous summed it up best. We is all akifran. I embrace my dark people everywhere because the only difference between those in the carib/latin america and those here is that they got dropped off first... HELLO!

ShawnQt August 27, 2007 9:47 AM  

Fuzz and I have had a long conversation about this. I think it is good that you are "creating your own identity"... what is crazy about that is, other people still have to accept this identity you have created to really "seem" valid in the eyes of others.

I would think that embracing the culture would be one of the stepping stones and it is ok to be both races, and not feel like ur neglecting one for the other.

fuzzy August 27, 2007 9:49 AM  

@ anonymous: Good Point!

yet another black guy September 08, 2007 11:27 AM  

your roots don't necessarily define you as much as your mentality does. if you're comfortable saying black, i don't think there's anything wrong with that. same goes for saying dominican.

at least you're willing to explore all the parts that make up the whole. lord knows, way too many of us ignore the different facets of ourselves to fit into someone else's definition.