What is whiteness? What is blackness?
The concept of race and identity only dates back to 1492. Before the barbaric European invasions of the Americas and slavery, the ancestors, whether Native Americans or Africans, did not refer to themselves depending on their skin color. They would rather mention their nations/ethnic group/lineages. They were Yoruba, Igbo, Cushite or Moors (among many many other ethnic names). Yet, they did not refer to themselves as “black”. The concept of color as the basis of identity follows the beginning of the Transatlantic Slave Trade. At the time, once the barbaric slavemasters settled in West Africa, the captives became “black” and the oppressed ones would refer to the Europeans as “white”. In the years preceding racial segregation, out of disdain and lack of interest for the respect of their true lineages, white Americans left the black Americans in confusion on purpose. Though black Americans have given us amazing authors, historians, writers or politicians, their concept of race is limited, just like that of the Northern European colonizers, also known as white Americans. With them, all concepts of lineages, ethnic groups have been erased as color only had to remain the sole basis. Therefore, a North African, either white or black, is considered “white” on the Census. In North America, the concept of race is weak. And when blended into the feeling of inferiority of some Blacks who are dying upon the rejection they face from the White Wasps, it has become weaker.
A Black American individual considers a black person based on their color only. Indeed, for them, if the person appears to be black or brown they will consider them “black”. When in reality, especially in spaces which have been invaded, the color of an individual does not reflect the genetic codes. First of all, there is a pure blackness in the United States with millions of Afro-Americans with little to no admixture who still carry the phenotypes of their Bantu and West African ancestors. Yet, in an improbable scheme, the same Black Americans claim to want to gatekeep their race/ethnic group but also extend blackness to an improbable end. There, mixed people are denied the title of “mixed” and are rather called “light skin”. If they claim “light skin”, then the Blacks refute them the right to be “other”, hence “mixed” which they are, as they claim that “Black comes in all shades”. As a consequence, a biracial man who marries a white woman and conceives a family with her, will be called a black man and the children called “white passing” or “mixed race”, when the latter are closer to whiteness than blackness. Just because the man “looks” brown or black in color, his white side will be ignored by the White community whose members want to remain pure and by the Black community who refuse to let mixed people go. Therefore, many artists such as Halsey, Mariah Carey or Eartha Kitt have been wrongly called respectively biracial or black, when they are actually quadroons (Carey, Halsey, born to a mixed black father and a white mother) and mixed race (Eartha Kitt, Tina Knowles, Beyoncé Knowles). By calling mixed race individuals fully black, one actually excludes, especially within the colonial spectrum of the media, the non-mixed black Negroid individuals who remain in the dark, especially when they are black women.
FABRICATED CARIBBEAN WHITENESS
As a consequence, the codes for the validation of blackness have been dictated by the Black Americans due to the economic power they have inherited from, as living in the most powerful country on earth, the United States. Though the American concept of race is improbable and makes no sense at all, it is still validated as long as it protects the “pure” white leaders from race mixing. In that sense, the black Americans have no desire for understanding the concept of race mixing and slavery within the Caribbean community. To them, if not visibly “black”, a person is not “black”. This lack of understanding also involves a dynamic of power. The Northern bodies, whether black or white, have no interest for the Southerners in the Americas. The latter do not deserve to be given the privilege to be racially understood.
Boricuas, Cubans, Dominicans or Colombians, Venezuelians and some Central Americans are submitted to the constant inquiry from the Northern Blacks: “Are they black?”.
When Cardi B became successful, her identity and race were questioned. Though she displays Negroid features and has kinky African hair, looking no other different than a mixed race black American or mixed race African woman, she was denied any connection to blackness due to the skin tone of her parents. It is true, none of them are Negroid at all. However, the black Americans block any access to blackness to the Caribbeans when the same issues of multiracialism has happened in their South, in spaces such as Louisiana for instance. If many consider Tina Knowles to be a “real black woman” or Nicki Minaj, of Afro-Asian descent, as being a “real black woman”, Cardi B has been denied such entry. Louisiana Creoles, though dark skin Negroid and mixed race, have been, for many, racially mixed for centuries giving birth to different phenotypes.
Therefore, the conception of race in the Caribbean and the Caribbean coast is similar to that of Louisiana. When individuals have been forcibly mixed for over four hundred years, new races and phenotypes have been created as some Caribbeans mostly descend from Europeans and Africans (Danileigh), from Native and Africans (Cardi B), from mixed people with other mixed people or white/Middle Eastern individuals (Veronica Vega) or from purely white people who wanted to preserve their heritage (Gisele Bundchen, Kat Von D, Thalia, Shakira, Sofia Vergara, Gloria Estefan, Ricky Martin etc)
There is no difference for Cardi B who is the descendant of Native Taino and African unions which have occured for several generations. Just like Princess Nokia, a Boricua, descends from Native Tainos and Africans, though she looks more Taino and European her Yoruba heritage is still living inside of her. Spanish speaking Caribbeans can be also brown however, such brown skin not always comes from the West Africans but from the Natives. There are, therefore, millions of Indigenous Arawaks who wrongly believe they are Afro-Indigenous.
Thus, as the case of Cardi B appeared to be unclassifiable to the eyes of the Black Americans, many of them would rather call her a “white Latina” or a “spicy white woman”. Colorists Danileigh and Evelyn Lozada were also called the same as well as Taino/European Jennifer Lopez. Whiteness is therefore the category into which unclassifiable women and men fall into. Fat Joe, Big Pun or Cuban Link could also be the victims of such confusion when they always claimed their Africanness which is apparent.
Caribbean whiteness has been fabricated. The majority of the white Caribbeans are not truly white but multiracial white people with distant or close African ancestry. The ignorance of a Veronica Vega who thinks her African heritage equates that of Amara La Negra explains our point. Though Vega should be referred to as a “multiracial white woman” or “a mixed white woman”, the latter has used the excuse of common African ancestry in the Caribbean and the influence in the culture as the equivalent of a black experience. Amara, though also mixed, is mostly African and does not have to rely on a certain distant ancestor from Africa, when Vega uses such “common” argument to shut down the conversation. Most white Caribbeans, descend from mixed people, depending on their highest racial per centage, who intermarried to protect their privileges. In that case, many Veronica Vegas exist and are either the descendants of mixed people who either married white or other mixed white people over the years. In that sense, it is very common to realise that the skin tone is not always an indicator of the ancestry. A so-called white Caribbean, whose whiteness was fabricated to support the interests of the Criollos, can carry up to 40 per cent of African blood, though not looking West African. At the same time, a Boricua with brown skin, such as Evelyn Lozada, can only carry 25 per cent of African blood when looking “black”. The brownness, coming, also from the Arawaks and Tainos.
Other individuals such as Danileigh, though ignorant and a colorist, are mostly white Caribbeans whose ancestors were mostly mixed with Africans. Danileigh is not black at all, as her parents are mostly Iberian, her father looking like a quadroon. To her defense, the choreographer claimed that she could not be white, as of Dominican heritage. In their ignorance and confusion, many consider nationality to be an explanation for race. White Dominicans of purely European descent do exist. And not all Dominicans descend from Africans, as some are sons and daughters of Arabs, Ashkenazi Jews, Asians from Japan or China, or from Ireland. The race mixing depends on each family and each history of migration.
COLONIAL EUROPEAN WHITENESS
As seen previously, whiteness in the Caribbean has been fabricated and is multiracial. However, the real whiteness coming from those who refused to mix so as to remain pure, is present in South America mostly. Countries such as Argentina, Chile, Uruguay, Paraguay and even Brazil count communities of White colonial agents and white immigrants of Spanish, Italian, Irish, Portuguese, French, German, Swizz or Eastern European descent. They are Europeans who took over and supported systems to enable their own powers. Other Caribbean countries (kind of geographically) such as Colombia, Venezuela find European descendants as well of Italian groups also.
There, the so-called White Caribbeans would never be considered “white” for mixed race. The white South Americans often do not mix, especially when coming from wealthy backgrounds and are sometimes very attached to their Euro heritages.
Who is the White individual? The White European women who call themselves Chileans at the center of the gallery are pure and true Euro South Americans. That category could never consider Veronica Vega and Danileigh as being white like them.
They do not look like Jennifer Lopez, Angie Martinez, Cardi B, Danileigh or Natty Natasha at all. And certainly not like Amara la Negra. There, their feeling of superiority surpasses other groups. Their European lifestyle make them believe they are better than the others. However, though they dominate their spaces, the same racism between the Criollos and the Europeans who remained in the Old Continent exists. The whitest Uruguayan of purest Italian descent will be despised by the Spanish administrations whose members will call him/her “Sudaka”, a derogatory term for South Americans newcomers. White Argentinians though Europeans, also deal with the same problematic.
In reality, their whiteness give them, in their minds, a feeling of detaining culture, knowledge over the Caribbeans, Mexicans and Central Americans. These white individuals mostly detain the most important fields of power and are also quiet and are also the ones who control the main “Hispanic media markets” including Univision. Worst, nations such as Argentina or Chile have hidden Nazi criminals for years whose descendants still carry the Nazi agenda and despise the Native and African bodies.
Yet, just because these white South Americans are far away from the black American reality, they have stayed away from the discussion linked to whiteness.
Therefore, the basis of whiteness only depends on the feelings of North Americans and not on solid, valid, tough historical and scientific points.
Examples of white South Americans/Caribbeans: Christina Aguilera, Lauren Jauregui, Camila Cabello, Gloria Estefan, Shakira, Sofia Vergara, Salma Hayek, Thalia, Paulina Rubio, Bella Thorne, Cameron Diaz, Guillermo Del Toro, Pitbull, Claudia Leite, Ivete Sangalo, Daniela Mercury, Gisele Bundchen, Kat Von D, Majandra Delfino, Anya Taylor-Joy, Andy Garcia, Raquel Welsh, Dilma Roussef, Oscar de la Renta, Lionel Messi, Fidel Castro, Ernesto “Che” Guevara, Ricardo Rossello, Maria Montez, Juanes, Maria Montez …
Examples of African/Native South Americans/Caribbeans: Cardi B and Hennessy Carolina, Cyn Santana, Evelyn Lozada, Erica Mena, Amara la Negra, Joseline Hernandez, Don Omar, Ivy Queen, Romeo Santos, N.O.R.E, Big Pun, Princess Nokia, Fat Joe, Cuban Link, Julissa Bermudez, Lala Vasquez, Indya Moore, Nitty Scott, Tego Calderon, Ibeyi sisters, Hugo Chavez, Cristian Zapata, Rosario Dawson, Gina Torres, Christina Millian
Examples of Native Caribbean/South American and European: Angie Martinez, Jennifer Lopez, Diego Maradona, Dany Pino, Benicio del Toro, Eva Longoria
Examples of African/Euro South Americans/Caribbeans: Danileigh, Anitta, Natty Natasha, Veronica Vega,
Examples of African Spanish speaking Caribbean descendants: Dayme Arocena (Cuba), Celia Cruz, Caterine Ibarguen, Raul Cuero, Luis Gilberto Murillo, Pelé, Bienkos Bioho, Lola Falana, Sara Gomez, Skai Jackson
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