Freshly squeezed lemon juice, tart strawberries, and a healthy dose of rum make up these Strawberry Lemonade Rum Pops! Super refreshing, lightly boozy. One is never enough!

Song that gives me life: The Animals – Don’t let me be Misunderstood

Last time I checked, it was 2017. Seriously, I had to pull up a calendar and make sure it wasn’t 1963.

Humans, it’s been over fifty years since the Civil Rights movement.

Over.FIFTY.

I feel as if I’ve gone back in time. I feel like I’ve traveled to a time where people who claimed to be “Christian” hated people who didn’t know their place.

Last night I watched a video of a mayoral candidate who said – And I’m paraphrasing – That reparations came in the form of Barack Obama and if they didn’t like it, they could go back to Africa. A mayoral candidate. Not some uneducated stereotype. Not some person with a stained shirt and a mullet loitering at a Walmart. This is a candidate who as an elected official, plans to represent a city.

I can’t address these statements without addressing our own history of anti-blackness.

Flow with me, I have a short story.

I have a standing appointment with my hairdresser. I usually go after work and ride a cab home. This particular night, I was driven home by a fellow Dominican. It was a 10-minute ride and our conversation was peppered with pleasantries.

Until it was time to pay and he tried to overcharge me.

I’ve taken the same route for at least 9 years. I say, with authority – This is the fare. If I am charged less, I never ever take the money because I feel it’s unfair. This man who was pleasant not three minutes ago said something to the effect of; “I see living in this neighborhood has made you cheap, like these Africans:”

Oooh, chyle…

We argued back and forth and the argument escalated. I called him a racist Latino hating thief, and before I slammed his car door I heard him spit out ‘Maldita Africana, maldita Haitiana’, like being called African or Haitian would somehow offend me.

It took a few minutes to calm down and make sense of that encounter. This man hurling what he thought to be insults was at least three shades darker than I was. In fact, he resembled my half-Haitian grandfather. His anti-blackness, the way he used it as a weapon against a fellow Latina angered me.

Dominicans partake in a caste system of anti-blackness. There are many Dominicans who if they carry as much as a drop of Haitian blood, they vehemently deny it. This stems from an era when our country was under a dictatorship rule which was very much anti-Haitian. A lot of this present-day anti-Haitian sentiment stems from an era fueled with disinformation and ignorance. That same anti-black sentiment was on display when that cab driver hurled insults aimed to degrade my status as a Latina, as a Dominican. This encounter was at least four years ago and I go back to it whenever I see Latinos acting a fool.

I am a proud Afro-Latina. I am raising proud Afro-Latino children. I can’t deny my blackness and neither can they. We wear it in the color of our skin and the coarseness in our hair. My features are a mishmash of my ancestry. I am a mixture of slavery and monarchy. I am a descendant of slaves and kings. It’s rare when someone can identify me as Dominican, even when I speak Spanish.

When I’m confronted with anti-blackness in all its forms, especially from fellow Latinos – I call that shit out. Because the truth is, out in the world we’re considered black, no matter what the shade. Practicing anti-blackness, at least for me is a disservice to those

who fought

who were hosed

who were spat on

who bled

who died for me, yes me – To have rights in this country.

Until we face and eradicate our own system of anti-blackness, people like this mayoral candidate will always have a platform.

I leave you with these Strawberry Lemonade Rum Pops.

Make them.

Share them.

If this post resonated with you, share it.

If you feel triggered I urge you to stop before you attempt to insult me or issue threats.

Think.

Unpack and evaluate your anti-blackness. We have all participated in this at one time or another. And guess what, if we are aiming for true sustainable change – Anti-blackness serves no purpose in what is supposed to be a post-racial world.

 

 

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