When it Comes to Latinidad, Who Is Included and Who Isn’t?

When it Comes to Latinidad, Who Is Included and Who Isn’t?


Janel Martinez

At the top of November 2018, an Instagram meme created by writer Alan Pelaez Lopez went viral. The Afro-Indigenous (Zapotec) activist placed the term Latinidad on a car making a sharp right turn at an exit. At the top of the image, the road sign that points ahead lists, “admitting racism & anti-Blackness exists & a commitment to build solidarity with Black and Indigenous people.” The arrow pointing right notes, “mestiza supremacy & your insistence that your great-great-great-great grandmother was Black.” The car, which moved in the latter direction, symbolizes the ideologies of Latinidad.

A few days later, Pelaez posted on their Instagram account that “Latinidad is canceled.”

With each repost or share, Latinxs, a large percentage identifying as Afro-Latinx and/or Indigenous, championed Pelaez Lopez’s meme and called for cancellation. Others, many who would be racialized as white or mixed-raced (mulatto or mestizo) Latinxs, contested the message.

Though positioned as an all-inclusive cultural identity, Latinidad has historically proven to be a term beneficial to a select few. Gauging one’s proximity to whiteness – gender, sexual preference and able-bodied privileges included – Latinidad incites the question, who is included and, ultimately, excluded from its definition?…

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