In the United States, while Latinos and blacks are always lumped together under the “minority” or “people of color” labels, for all other intentions, both camps are seen as separate and distinct.
That’s not always the case.
Afro-Latinos is a strong category within the U.S. Latino family of sub-groups. So, it’s very fitting that attention be focused on this segment of the Latino population as the United Nation’s declared International Year for People of African Descent winds down.
Throughout the year, symposiums, lectures, films and books dedicated to Afro Latinos have been held to heighten awareness of a population that for all practical purposes is invisible, yet in plain sight.
Afro Latinos, visible every day, are assumed, by an ignorant public, to be only black rather than black Latino. Somehow, a couple of important facts have been forgotten: First, intermarriage is alive and well between Latinos and blacks and especially well between Afro Latinos and blacks.
A 2011 analysis done on US Census data by the New York Times shows that black Hispanics have the highest rates of intermarriage. Their chosen spouses are predominantly from the black community.
The second fact most often forgotten is that the United States is not the only country with a history of the African slave trade.
In fact, Latin America has the largest population of African descended people outside of Africa.