for instance, you mentioned white mexicans. while in latin america race depends more on skin color and less on ancestry, in anglo america it’s determined mainly by where someone is from and their ancestry. someone born in mexico will never be white in the US, regardless of how light their complexion is. even if they dont speak like a foreigner, they will only pass for white until it’s revealed that theyre from latin america. thoughts?
We definitely agree on the idea that race as a concept is different in Latin America than it is in the US. For one, inequality in Latin America is often talked about in terms of class (often ignoring the fact that those who are poorest are the darkest and most indigenous) while in the US inequality is talked about in terms of race (ignoring how class further oppresses black people and other POCs)
However, we will respectfully disagree on your last statement. You CAN be considered white EVEN when your Latin American heritage has been disclosed.
We will use Alexis Bledel as a prime example.
Alexis Bledel identifies as Latina. Her father is Argentinian and her mother was raised in Mexico City. She has done countless articles talking about her “Latin American background.” And she is ALWAYS featured during Latin@ Heritage Month in “[insert number] of [white] celebrities you didn’t know were Latin@” articles.
BUT she is NOT racialized in the same manner that say Jessica Alba is. In fact, in almost all her roles she plays a white woman, DESPITE being completely fluent in Spanish, DESPITE being open about her Latinidad. She is treated as the white person that she is.
Now we know now you’re probably saying her name helps her out. And it’s true. Carlos Irwin Estevez (although technically he’s not Latino, he’s Spanish) changed his name to Charlie Sheen to help him pass as the white man he is. But we have another example of white Latin@s being racialized as white in Frankie Muniz.
Another celebrity heavily featured in the ubiquitous Latin@ Heritage [inser number] white Latin@ celebrities we rather feature instead of brown/black celebrities fluff pieces, Frankie Muniz is Puerto Rican. Yet despite his obviously Latin@ last name, he also has not been racialized as non-white. Instead, he consistently plays non-Latin@ white roles.
And last but not least we have Christina Aguilera
She is proudly Latina, much like Alexis Bledel. She even has a VERY Latina sounding name. She’s recorded albums in Spanish. BUT even during her Dirrrty phase, she was not hypersexualized in the same manner that other WOC artists are. Instead, her expression of sexuality and its reception were more reminiscent of how Madonna’s overt sexuality was performed and received. In contrast, artists like Nicki Minaj and Rihanna (two black female artists of Caribbean descent) are criticized for their expressions of sexuality and often villainized and their respective crafts dismissed because of how they choose to express their bodies and sexuality.
so tl;dr, No. Sorry, we refuse to accept the lie that White Latin@s are always racialized as ‘other’ in the US upon realization of their Latin American heritage. This is patently not true. Yes, some light-skinned Latin@ have conditional white passing privilege. But to say that no matter how light and bright they get they will never pass as white, I’m sorry but the evidence shows otherwise.
White Latin@s are white. This will never cancel out their Latinidad. But Latinidad can also never cancel their white privilege, so long as white supremacy is rule of the land.