On a previous blog, I meditated on my experiences and feelings about being a Black Latina in the United States. I thought I had said everything that needed to be said; nevertheless, another event made me stop in my tracks.
I have moved quite a few times since my return from China a few months ago, which has prompted me to change my driver’s license in a couple of occasions. The second change happened when I returned to North Carolina. The officer asked, “Race?” I responded, “Black” without hesitation, feeling pleased I didn’t need a lawyer to justify my skin color this time.
My new driver’s license arrived in the mail just in time for the primary elections so I went online in order to find out where my voting post was. There it was in black and white. My name. My address. My race: Black/African American -Non Hispanic/Non Latino. How could this be? I remembered the DMV officer hadn’t asked me anymore questions with regard to my origin. She merely assumed being Black excludes any other category. A simple check mark and my heart was black and blue. They have taken away part of my heritage… again.
What they don’t realize is that that simple checkmark also took numbers from the elections. All the campaigns my Latino friends put in place to raise the statistics on Latino voting went to the drain. We Latinos vote! However, how many of us have been left out of the news because we don’t look like the idea America has of what a Latino should look like? They are still saying that not enough Latinos vote because of the ignorance of the authorities and the system in general. Eleven years have passed since I first initiated the process of becoming an American citizen and they still don’t recognize me as a Black Hispanic Latina.
Latinos go to the polls. I know because I am one of them.