Sorry Latinos, but we're DEFINITELY still racist

As a dark-skinned Latina, I've faced my fair share of racism. From the kids in elementary school who told me that I was brown because my "mom didn't bathe me" to that one time I was denied service at a club (in Santo Domingo, DR of all places) because I was too "prieta" (bouncers word) to be in that specific establishment. At this point, I've sort of resigned myself to the fact that some people are just majorly ignorant a-holes.

But for someone in a very powerful and visible position to be so comfortable with their racist attitudes that they openly and enthusiatically "share" them via social media MUST mean that they felt that their opinion was widely shared, right? Well, Heidi Wys Toro, adviser (and Chief of Staff) to Jenniffer González, Puerto Rico's Speaker of the House felt it was A-Ok to tweet the following messages at President Barack Obama out to the entire interwebs...


Oh, and that was just the beginning, because after being called out for her less-than-subliminal racism, she quickly fell back on the age-old, "But some of my fave people/friends/family are dark-skinned," trope. The most hilarious part? She used the term "prieta"--considered by a LOT of Puerto Ricans to be a derogatory term--to describe her own beloved dark-skinned nieces.

Read more ¿Qué más? Being Latina has nothing to do with race

English translation: Journalists who want to make an "issue" out of my comment about Obama. I am not racist. My favorite nieces are dark-skinned! I'm Anti-Obama. I'm against him.

English translation: My favorite nieces are darkies (the LITERAL translation of "prieta")! I oppose Obama with all my heart and passion, like a decendant of the Germans.

WHAT? Is she actually making a reference to her Nazi heritage?!?! People like this idiot make me ashamed to be Puerto Rican. The fact is, anytime you have to qualify something you've said with: "I'm not racist but..." Guess what? You ARE racist. How about proving that you're not racist, by--oh, I don't know--not saying racist shit?

The worst part is that her boss, Gonzalez, didn't think her tweet was offensive enough to warrant an apology even though she was clearly inferring that President Obama and First Lady Michelle are "monkeys" (note the oh-so-subtle "double banana" reference) OR the fact that Wys Toro is an INSANE birther. How many times do we have to go over the whole President Obama wasn't born in Kenya thing?!

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Look, I don't really care how you feel about President Obama, but love him or hate him, no one has a right to be racist or make disparaging remarks about his wife or family just because they are African American. Period. The fact that I'm even writing this post is making my blood boil!

At the very least, I'm not the only Boricua who is totally offended by the actions (or inaction) of the Speaker of the House and her chief of staff.

"The Speaker of the House must take action against her assistant," said Sonia Pacheco, a candidate for Puerto Rico's House of Representatives, according to El Nuevo Dia "This is not the first time that people linked to Jenniffer González have made racist comments on social networks."

New York Representative Melissa Mark Viverito took it one step further, releasing the following statement:

Heidi Wys' comments against the President are vile and disgusting, and represent the height of ignorance I am sickened by the continued racist attacks from prominent political figures in Puerto Rico. 

Thank GOD! It makes me so sad that there are people, in GOVERNMENT none the less, who still harbor this ridiculously racist hate in their hearts. ESPECIALLY Puerto Ricans--I mean, I'm Boricua on both sides of my family, have spent a TON of time on the island and in NYC, lived in El Barrio and NEVER met another Puerto Rican of "pure" Spanish descent. What does that mean? IT MEANS ALL OF US HAVE AFRICAN BLOOD. So let's stop hating on people because of their race, after all, we're really just hating ourselves.

What do you think? Should Heidi Wys Toro and/or Jenniffer González be fired?

Image via Barack Obama/flickr

Topics: hispanic news  president barack obama  racism  array


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on Aug 1, 2012 at 6:13 PM
Having lived in Ponce and Bayamon this racism does not surprise me at all since I have encountered it my whole life, even from "family". Latinos of African descent outnumber African Africans 5 to 1, YET YOU NEVER see them in ANY prominent political role or starring on any of the racist networks Univision or Telemundo. The only way they break through the media barrier is through sports or music. It's not just the governments or media , even our cultural "leaders" and "heroes" accept it. They all had no issue condemning Arizona from mistreating Mexican Mestizos but where they were they when Mexico was denying the existence of literally millions of Latinos of African descent who arrived in Mexico with the Spaniards? Where are they when Honduras is currently engaged in trying to eliminate the Garifuna people (Black Hondurans)? Nowhere. Because even our precious celebrities still embrace the Castas system. Tego Calderon was right, its time for Latinos of African descent to rise up and stop accepting this nonsense. Time to expose Latin America for the racist cesspool it is under the surface. Face it Latin America is worse than the American South during segregation because instead of an enforced law, Jim Crow, they have a cultural belief in racial superiority and enforce it socially. Latino Unity is a joke.
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on Aug 2, 2012 at 4:15 PM

Um, actually not all of us @Goldie Treasure--clearly not the writer, who is ALSO Latina. So don't try to put us all in one category or you're as bad as Heidi Wys.

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on Aug 3, 2012 at 8:53 PM

No todos Los Latinos somos racistas pero es lamentable que algunos Latinos en possciones de poder lo Sean porque cuando se expresan pareciera que estan hablando en el nombre de todos nosotros aunque no sea asi. Lo del  sundae with double banana no es solo racista, es rudo,grocero e ingnorante. Totalmente ,inmaduro , la clase  de cosas que si la decimos enfrente de nuestras madres Ella's dirian : "yo no te conozco" La verdad se merece una cachetada

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on Aug 4, 2012 at 12:33 PM

I wonder if this one was one of those that requested an pology from the show when Amaury Nolasco made that comment that supposedly made Puertorricans feel so offended.  I was not offended by him, but  I am truly offended by her.  With somebody like that showing our flag, I am ashamed to be from Puerto Rico.  This is completely embarrasing, racist and she should be fired over it.  

I am tired of seeing how many politicians think they can talk wichever whay they want about our president because he is black.  I have never seen such blatant disrespect to any president before. Even to George W.  Bush, who was really happy showing how ignorant he was.  The right now in politics in this country is going to go down in the books as the most embarrasing times.  I think the President deserves more respect that what he is being given.  I would apologize for that moron if I could.

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on Aug 4, 2012 at 2:49 PM
no soy racista pero me dan asco las personas que lo son. soy latina con mucho orgullo y mas verguenza me da cuando un latino hace o dice estupideces por lo cual piensan que somos iguales.
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on Aug 4, 2012 at 8:02 PM

I read this post yesterday and I couldn't stop thinking about it, so here I am again. I abhor racism and I find that people who are racist have issue - really dangerous issues.  And while I commend you for having written about the subject I find your all encompassing title "Sorry Latinos, but we're definitely still racist" an unfair assessment. The best way to deal with racism is head on but not against each other  and to be honest if we look for it we'll find racism ever present in ALL societies.  I don't find it only or solely exists in one culture, and it's been around since the beginning of time.  I remember being told I was to dark to be dating her son by my dear mother in law.  And I was verbally assaulted by a young black man while on a campaign for jobs for being too white.  I'm Latina and i know we come in all shades and backgrounds.  Racism is ignorance.  

My gauge for people, bottom line is -we all seek a better life white, black, brown or yellow.  And we know inequality is alive and well in the USA but let's not fight against one another.  I find it even furthur hurtful to see posts like that of "goldie treasure" just looking to pounce on subjects such as this one.  Rather let's find solutions and speak up against racism even if it means having to wag your finger at you dear mother in law, and letting those your working for speak up for you and putting that young man in his place.

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on Aug 6, 2012 at 9:54 PM

yo soy conservativa y orgullosa de ser hispana todos opinan como se les da la gana its a free country! 


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