In a recent article for Latino Rebels, I explored a controversial issue that started with LA rapper Tyga’s music video titled, ‘Ay Caramba’. The video, which has since been taken down by the rapper, portrayed many stereotypes about the Mexican American community. However, the conversation quickly devolved. Racism and xenophobia from small factions of the Latino and Black communities, respectively, exposed a major issue that warrants discussion.
Implicit biases, prejudice, bigotry, and outright racism are some of the biggest issues hindering meaningful coalition building in the U.S. While extremist ideas continue to experience explosive growth among white young men it has also been growing in non-white circles nearly as fast. It’s a problem many have attempted to address for decades and still do today.
It’s worth noting that the vast majority of Black people and Latinos do not harbor these views and abhor them for what they are. But we live in a society that too often allows the actions of the few to determine how entire races, ethnicities, and other communities are treated. When it comes to white people, the general consensus seems to be that if U.S. society creates a level playing field for non-white groups, it must mean white people are losing something.
That’s not a generalization either.
While the majority of white people continue to vote for the party that wants to gradually strip away our rights and our voting power, it behooves us to build coalitions and fight for proper representation operating the levers of power. Yes, there are plenty of white people out there on the side of equality and social equity for all. They are a key voting bloc for non-white groups but they must also be coached as many don’t realize when they’re being problematic.
Looking at you, liberals.
Look, white supremacy is a hell of a drug. White people are like the fictional crack babies of the 1980s. They’re practically born testing positive for racism. The U.S. has been under the “white is right” spell for centuries. Because of that, it’s become so pervasive and normalized that even non-white people sometimes don’t see it right away. Others, intentionally adopt racist ideologies and language and weaponize them in the same way white nationalists do.
Despite that, many multiracial coalitions have been built over decades. Some online movements declare that there is no such coalition between Black people and Latinos. The reality is they are everywhere. It’s not just those two groups either. These collaborations involve the participation of many ethnic groups. They even include a relatively small number of poor white people.
In the wake of the Tyga controversy, we, unfortunately, witnessed anti-Blackness by some Latinos and xenophobia by some Black people. In the grand scheme of things, their numbers are almost negligible. Their rhetoric is not. Regardless of how small the numbers of racists and bigots are among racial and ethnic groups, not addressing it is how it festers and grows.
What these segments of whichever ethnic group (pick one) are trying to do is drive a wedge into and break the coalitions. What they don’t realize is that while they’re doing the work of white supremacy, the movements are far too expansive. We can ill afford to allow these groups, who have been infiltrated by white supremacists, to break us apart.
If anything, the actions by both sides of the Tyga incident have further solidified these coalitions between Black and Latino communities. I mean, did you see how big the joint conference between the National Association of Hispanic Journalists (NAHJ) and the National Association of Black Journalists (NAHJ) in Las Vegas was? It was amazing, to say the least.
Unity is how we beat racist power structures. And we’re winning. Don’t take the foot off the gas pedal yet. We have a long way to go.