Struggles With Identifying as an Afro-Mexican As someone who identifies as an Afro-Mexican, I’ve experienced firsthand micro-aggressions from people within and outside my communities. I’ve received comments such as, “You’re pretty for a Black girl” and “Do you like being Black or Mexican more?” I didn’t know that comments such as these could be identified as micro-aggressions until I learned about it through my own research. Learning more about the people within the Afro-Mexican community enables individuals to understand what comments are offensive and ultimately how to make Afro-Mexicans feel at ease in today's modern society. Despite the struggles that I’ve experienced as a biracial woman, it’s important to note the individuals who’ve made me feel accepted regardless of my identity. Knowing that there are individuals who genuinely want to know more about my culture and what it’s like having two different cultural identities has positively impacted my life. It has also given me confidence to grow as the woman I am today. There is more below the surface regarding the Afro-Mexican identity, and based off my own experience I have some to share.
My identity hasn’t been one that I’ve always been confident in identifying with until acouple of years ago. In the younger years of my life I felt forced by the outside world to pick one race as if I wasn’t able to choose both. Living in a world that favors the idea of monoracial identity, makes it difficult for those who are biracial to feel like they can find their place in the world. Sometimes it isn’t as easy as “fitting in,” instead it can feel like biracial people are adapting and/or camouflaging into their environments. There were times when I’d look at myself in the mirror wishing that I was just one race instead of two. Although erasing one part of me means that I wouldn’t have been able to share the uniqueness of who I am. The more that we are able to share our personal stories and inform the world about the identity of being Afro-Mexican can assist in closing the gap between different communities; ultimately to unite everyone together regardless of their identity. All Afro-Mexicans deserve to belong in both of their communities without feeling like they have to give up part of their identity to “fit in.”
Learning About the Afro-Mexican Identity The term "Afro-Mexican" refers to individuals of Mexican nationality who have African heritage. The majority of Afro-Mexicans are the offspring of interracial unions and self-identify as Black Mexicans using a variety of terms. This encompasses those with African roots but raised with Mexican heritage or those who have Mexican roots but have been raised with African heritage. Some of the common terms used by Afro-Mexicans to identify themselves include afromestizos (mixed-race), moreno (dark), and/or costeño (inhabitants of coastal regions). Afro-Mexican populations are more concentrated in the southern states of Guerrero and Oaxaca, and the Port of Veracruz. Unfortunately, statistics indicate that some of the states where Afro-Mexicans live are among the poorest in the country. Some of the most well-known Afro-Mexicans and/or Afro-Latinx people in current modern-day society are Elizabeth Acevedo, Mariah Carey, Maxwell, Miguel, and Cardi B.
“There is no one to be Black, nor is there one way to identify as Latino." - McKenzie Jean-Philippe.
Learning to Accept Both Identities There isn’t a “right” or “singular” way that someone can be Black or Mexican. We may ask people who identify as Afro-Mexican if they are more of one side than the other, although what people don’t realize is that we are asking them to forget about a whole other part of themselves that exists. Despite the hidden identity of Afro-Mexicans, there should no reason for people to single them out or try to be just one race. Afro-Mexicans have characteristics that distinguish them from Blacks and Mexicans, making it difficult for them to find their place within their own community. As an Afro-Mexican, I’ve gone through moments that have made me question my ethnicity since others at times don’t understand how to accept both parts of my identity. Up until recently, I’ve decided that just since someone else doesn’t understand my own identity doesn’t mean that I don’t have to either. Learning to accept both my African and Mexican roots means that I’m not only able to stand up for who I am but also to advocate for others within my Afro-Mexican community.
Cited Sources Jean-Philippe, M. (2022, August 16). 16 Trailblazing Afro-Latinos to Know. Oprah Daily. https://www.oprahdaily.com/entertainment/g36942648/famous-afro-latinos/ Cocking, L. (2017, July 19). The Untold History of Afro-Mexicans, Mexico’s Forgotten Ethnic Group. Culture Trip. https://theculturetrip.com/north-america/mexico/articles/the-untold-history-of-afro-mexicans-mexicos-forgotten-ethnic-group/