Alaí Reyes-Santos: “What It Means To Be a Black Latina in Higher Education”



by Alaí Reyes-Santos, Associate Professor, UO Department of Ethnic Studies
posted in Hip Latina,

“I have been asserting my blackness since I can remember.

“Growing up in the mountains of Puerto Rico, my curls —‘pelo malo,’as friends called it—betrayed my family’s attempts to claim whiteness by invoking our Spanish great grandfather. Why would my grandmother, who loved me deeply, say that my hair ‘does not come from our side of the family’?

“As we experience university responses to the Black Lives Matter Movement, Black Latinxs relive the everyday violence I faced during my childhood. Black Latinas are made invisible by intellectual and pedagogical initiatives. Data rarely documents Afro-Latino experiences in education, housing and employment, though they are similar to African American ones; AfroLatinx activists and Afro-Latinx Studies scholars seek that recognition.”

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