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Growing up in a Peruvian and Colombian household, I was used to being around family members who had indigenous features like myself. With tan skin, thick black hair and dark features, I never felt a need to look differently, and have always been comfortable in my own skin. In retrospect, I realized she was projecting her own complexes onto me in order to make herself feel superior.

Colorism is the preferential treatment of those who are lighter skinned than those who are darker within a group of people. Lopez adds that the concept of what category you fall under depends on the percentage of black blood an individual has. As Lopez mentioned, race is a social construct invented by Europeans intended to divide people and holds no scientific merit. Through the illusion of race, Europeans were able to manipulate blacks and other natives into believing that whites were superior in order to justify their conquests. Whether we want to admit it or not, colorism affects ALL Latinos.

Zelina Bennett, a Latina of Honduran descent told Hiplatina that her mother grew up in a household where she was told that having a lighter skin tone was favored over being dark. Darleny Suriel , a Dominican woman who also identifies as Afro-Latina, experienced a similar form of colorism in her household.

Suriel says this came to light when she was being compared to her closest cousin who she describes as having the complexion of Snow White, and the naturally golden hair of Cinderella. While some first experience colorism at home, others experience it through different social settings.

Actress and comedian Laneya Wiles , a half Puerto Rican and Black Latina, explains that she first experienced colorism through the entertainment industry as . She also noticed similar atmospheres when she went to English-speaking auditions. And as one would imagine, if you are of a darker complexion and you grow up being told that being lighter skin is better, you may start to develop some resentment. Suriel recalls hearing comments made in her household about darker skin being unattractive.

Her father had even convinced himself that he was repulsive because of his skin tone. In fact, research has found that some Latinos are beginning to identify as white when they fill out census forms. The theory behind this is that because there has been an increase in intermarriages and a decline in immigration from Latin American countries, that some Hispanic Americans are losing touch with their roots, reducing the likelihood they call themselves Hispanic or Latino. White privilege is a societal set of unearned benefits given to those who are white, but people of color have to work harder to achieve ie.

In fact, a study conducted by the National Institute of Statistics and Geography looked at Mexico to see if skin color still mattered and influenced the level of education and employment opportunities available to their citizens. Bennett explained that Honduras is experiencing the same problem. Meanwhile these towns have black Latino natives who are perfectly capable of doing the work, but because of their skin color, investors prefer to hire Spaniards instead.

Lopez says in order for Latinos to break through this problem, we have to learn our history. She also encourages white Latinos to contribute on their part to end colorism. She elaborates that the purpose of the classes are also to educate Latino students and others about the history of Latinos in Latin America, the Caribbean, and the United States, to thoroughly understand why colorism continues to exist.

This can also give more insight as to why many Latinos are still at a disadvantage through education, income, and housing. Not to mention, by educating ourselves, we can pass that knowledge on to our families and future generations. Suriel says she does her part by standing up to those who make racist comments and educating them about the racial history of the Dominican Republic and Latin America. Wiles has a similar method and makes sure to correct people when they make racist remarks.

Hispanic Women. Giselle Castro is a NYC-based freelance lifestyle reporter. Editor Picks. Real wages for full-time faculty decreased for the first time since the Great Recession Diversity News 1 month ago Comments Off on Real wages for full-time faculty decreased for the first time since the Great Recession.

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Why Understanding Colorism Within the Latino Community Is So important