Tag Archives: race

Afro-Latino or African American & Latino

Good Morning World Wide Web,

The other day I was speaking to a young man. He actually reminded me of my son. He was raised by an African-American mother, and his father who was not a part of his life is Latino. He doesn’t speak Spanish or understand Latin culture much at all and it made me wonder about there being a distinction.  If you’re African-American and Latino mixture, does that just make you Afro-Latino? Are you African-American & Latino?  Comparably, I have a friend who is Latina, that would racially be considered white after she selected her ethnicity of Latina, then her race next.  Her husband is also Latino. If he selected race he could consider himself black by his skin tone and obvious mixed hair texture. Although multiracial and similar to how a child of black and white American heritage would just be considered black or African-American, the off-springs of the couple that are both Latino could be considered “black” and could pass for “black or African-American” The difference is the child of the Latino couple would more than likely speak Spanish, celebrate and understand the Heritage and be able to speak to what would make him or her Afro-Latino. What about the mixed African-American and Latino, raised by the African-American mother without having been introduced to Latin culture? Is he Afro-Latino also? It makes me wonder what truly classifies a person. Is it skin color or culture? Is it skin color & culture? Does it have to be both? What does that do for the person from a two parent household of Latino parents but doesn’t speak Spanish? Could he/she still pass somewhere else outside of their Latin heritage not having a connection to it, with the same measure that someone else could be accepted into the same culture without having a direct connection to it?

My questions just started to stack up once I noticed this. This is the main reason I started this project. As an African-American woman with children from a Latino father, I wanted them to celebrate me as well as their father. Somehow if I just throw them into the box of “Afro-Latino” there are several open-ended questions of racial classifications that would leave my children’s identity up to another person’s experience and perception.  This is also why I chose “other” so many times and then decided to start a conversation for the infinite questions there are about “other.” Who checks this race box and why? If you’d like to chime in with an answer or opinion type away.  You can also email me at info@wecheckother.com.  I always love to hear for you.



An African American in the Global Community

Good Afternoon World Wide Web,

I’m interested in sharing a story.  I want everyday people to view this blog and think, “I get it.”  With that being said I’m going to tell you about my morning so far and bring a little of my life experiences and questions into the blog.  I went to a forum this morning where there was representation from countries around the world.  From a color perspective, the majority of those represented were in the beige and white family.  They could easily check “white” as their race, assimilate into society and if they lack an accent would enjoy white privilege without a problem.  Everyone went around the room introducing themselves and stating their countries of origin.  When it was my turn, I stated my name, occupation, and why I had an interest in being there.  There were a few items that I noticed but the most important was, there weren’t any African-Americans present.  I’m not saying that there should or shouldn’t be.  I’m stating what I saw.  There were several white American born people in the room.  Actually, the person moderating the event appeared to be white American and he even had white American constituency present.  I thought, WoW!  In a growing economy, where the world is becoming increasingly diverse and expanding across borders, there aren’t any stakeholders from the community present besides ME!

I have to admit when I say my first and last name, there’s somewhat of a pass because of the Latin origin.  There were several representatives from various parts of Latin America present.  The un-chartered waters that I meet when I walk into a room and can speak another language is interesting to explain.  I’m a sell out to my community at times, and I’m Latina to others….It’s the life and times of the mixed experience.  How can you explain in a parochial society that you have an interest in both places? How do you help people who have no real reason or interest understand that you are a stakeholder in both places?  We’re still getting there.  I imagine that after the world has given “everyone else” no choice but to accept that, “the world’s transactions and interactions are now GLOBAL” people will be more accepting.  The truth is, by that time the rules to engage will have already been created by the stakeholders with a seat at the table and everyone else will be following them.

I can’t make you understand how it feels when I go somewhere and there’s a surprised look or receptions when I say, “I’m African-American” but speak another language yet when I see someone who is an immigrant speaking proper English as their second language, it’s accepted makes me feel.  It reminds me of the dual consciousness that still plagues the community.  The homeless diaspora; where Africa is far away and America is beyond reach.  To explain that I  have an interest in the international conversation just furthers spaces me away from the collective “Black or African-American” community.  There’s a tendency for white people and even some immigrants to believe that if there is a native of Africa in the room that means “Black American” representation.  Although the country of origin is the same, there’s a disconnect in many cases.  There is language. cultural barriers and so much more.  Moreover, immigrants from Africa tend to speak multiple languages.  They even get a pass because on a larger scale, more people expect that they will at least be bilingual.  I’m sure that this isn’t the reality everywhere.  I believe that more culturally diverse places around the world have people who are active and participating on a global scale in business and conversations.  I’m bringing attention to a confederate south and other less progressive leadership pools where those changes haven’t begun to take place.

What do you think?  How does your city look?  Chime in below.  Progress happens in the details.

Until the next,


Let’s Talk Race! Conversations Post Ferguson


Good Morning World Wide Web,

There are several conversation going on.  The conversation in this YouTube video ended well, but can Talib really walk into a room of reporters or scholars and give his insight?  Will they listen to him?  If you go to any news outlet now and type Ferguson MO into the search bar, there will be some results.  What took place with the shooting death of unarmed black teen Mike Brown has sparked conversations across race, cultures and the color lines.  It’s good to see the dialogue.  Some of them have great points.  Others not so much.

I think we can all agree that a real conversation is overdue. Personally, I attempted to find some key stakeholders and bring people together almost naïvely hoping that through a series of talking we could get started.   I don’t expect that a simple conversation or a series will change anything immediately.  The one thing I know is that a conversation will be a step in the right direction.  Real conversations.

In my neck of the woods we’re calling on the collegiate community; the scholars.  I’m not opposed to the participation of people who’ve chosen to mount up their debt and excel at standardized testing for cramming 12 weeks of material about an array of subject, but I think conversations need dichotomy.  Instead what you find are important narratives become more political in nature where there’s a top down approach.  Listen, I get it!  Your student loan bill, title and socioeconomic status places you higher on the food chain, but where you go home and the person who has a tomorrow interest in what happens today aren’t equal.  Ideally Ferguson should be discussing Ferguson and inviting who they’d like to the table.   Instead societal norms and “buzz words” have created efficiency in not having conversations but hosting trends.  I’m literally getting in line for a title myself.  I respect the process.  We have a great country and some of our greatest leaders have advanced education.  I don’t want to sound as though I’m discounting education.   I’ve decided to go back so that I can make a difference.   I can’t rap,sing, play football, basketball or any of those other groovy sports to get a platform quicker.   I’m about 18k in now and counting.  I’m assuming my voice will cost me another 10k just to get in the ring.   Reality is not a 3 month class.  It’s real, and until there are real stakeholders at the table, it is my opinion that nothing will ever truly be resolved.  A combination of knowledge and experience are the perfect bowl of punch.


Why Should I Care About Ferguson Missouri?

Greetings WWW,

There might be someone who asks, “What is Ferguson Missouri? ” “What is there to care about?”  Well…. 1st off Ferguson Missouri is a place in the mid western region of the US.   What took place is the reason so many major news outlets in the US are now shining a light on a problem deeply engraved in American culture.

On August 9, 2014 an 18-year-old black male named Michael “Mike” Brown and his 22-year-old friend Dorian Johnson visited Ferguson Market and Liquor shortly after noon.  The exact details around what happened inside of the store are unclear but there is an ongoing narrative and investigation.  A Ferguson police officer responded to a call made by a customer alleging there had been a robbery.  Responding to the robbery was a “white male” police officer who shot the young black male “Mike” Brown multiple times and he was “unarmed.”  There have been a total of 3 autopsies and a myriad of investigations surrounding this particular incident.   So many things took place after this incident that I would need multiple blog posts to go into detail.  ( Please see info on Mike Brown or Ferguson MO via search engine of your choice)

If you are a regular visitor to this site, you know that the atmosphere is very open.  There’s a glossary literally giving real definitions of race and even discussion surrounding the terms and why they are important.   What I’ve come to notice is that people really aren’t interested in the biological factors and definitions.   If solving our issues were as easy as teaching someone terms we would no longer have a problem.  People want to know about the everyday interactions  with family, relationships, friends, co-workers and etc.  But why should people who aren’t racially “black or African-American” care about this incident?  Why would people who are racially “black or African-American” care?   Part of the reason there’s a misunderstanding about “why” is that “mainstream media” does an absolutely poor job of covering the depth and complexities of racism.  There’s race, ethnicity, culture, colorism and an eternity of other variables.   Most of the time the only incidents that you hear about is when someone who is famous is “intentionally racist.”  The fact that there is structural and institutional racism that is the very thread of America is often ignored.   There is a systematic approach to covering what “seems” to be important rather than what we should actually be paying attention to.   I’ll bet that no one has turned on the news and heard terms like, “structural racism or institutional racism.”  Often you’re only going to hear individual occurences of “racial profiling or voter suppression and other personal prejudices.  There’s this term “minority” that everyone who is “non-white” has heard to describe themselves.  It seems to just toss all the crabs into a bucket except for the “blue” ones.

This individual occurrence, although it’s one of many very unique incidents that happen everyday, allows the world to actually take a look at structural and institutional racism.  Individual groups with specific collective interests can then decide how Court rulings will affect them.   We need that collectivism.  Because this incident has garnered international attention, it’s hard to ignore that there will be lingering conversations and opportunities to focus on the root causes of racism.  It effects everyone differently but there are effects.  For the people who check “other” as their race, it could be a very unique affect, but it’s almost guaranteed to reach you on a personal level because more than likely you could be “non-white” exclusively.

As this project grows and more collaborations are made I hope to shed a unique light so that we can see where and how the faces of particular demographics are represented.

Please take a look and listen to the narrative from a reliable source that is representative of your values.   I’m certain you’ll find that the narrative if reliable will illustrate that structural and institutional racism is far-reaching.






The North Carolina History Project

The Civil Rights Movement was an effort, among many things, to overturn segregation, commonly known as Jim Crow legislation.  Throughout the Jim Crow South (1890-1960), state laws required blacks and whites to use separate facilities, attend different schools, sit in different places in theaters and buses, and even to be buried in different areas in cemeteries—to draw only four illustrations from various cases.  As early as the 1930s, African Americans protested these laws.  In Greensboro, black ministers boycotted the War Memorial Auditorium’s opening, and young people there started a theater boycott.  Lumberton youth marched to protest a lack of educational opportunities.  Meanwhile during the twentieth century, municipality leaders, including Charlotteans, used local ordinances to create residential segregation.

The Civil Rights Movement, as it commonly known, began in the 1950s.  In 1954, the U.S. Supreme Court issued its Brown decision, and schools were ordered to desegregate.  For some time North Carolina avoided compliance, with various creative ideas such as the Pearsall Plan.  Meanwhile in the 1950s, North Carolina blacks started what would become known as sit –ins.  In 1957 seven blacks, for example, demanded service in the white section of a Durham ice cream parlor.

In 1960, a series of events occurred in North Carolina and began the Civil Rights Movement in earnest.  The Greensboro Sit-In occurred in North Carolina, and this demonstration gained national attention and set an example for others to follow throughout the Jim Crow South.  Four N.C. A & T State University students walked to the downtown Woolworth’s store in Greensboro, sat in the white section of the store’s restaurant, and demanded service.   In time, more and more students started protesting in Greensboro and protests spread to Raleigh.  In the capital city, Shaw University and St. Augustine’s College students carried out sit-ins at various stores.  At other time, college students picketed stores.  Picketers, in one instance, were arrested at Cameron Village.  Although storeowners initially resisted accommodating the blacks, they eventually complied for legal and economic purposes.

Several organizations helped organize and energize the Civil Rights Movement.  The Congress of Racial Equality (CORE) sponsored the Freedom Rides in 1961; black and white bus riders boarded Greyhounds and Trailways buses and challenged segregation on the buses and in the bus stations.  In North Carolina, the riders experienced no violent resistance.  The following year, the organization led a successful campaign against Howard Johnson’s restaurants.  During the mid-1960s and under the leadership of Floyd B. McKissick, a Durham attorney, CORE embraced black nationalism. The Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC), like CORE, evolved into a more confrontational group.  Ella Baker of Raleigh trained students to live in the rural South and to participate in task forces assigned to educate rural blacks and register them to vote.  In the mid-1960s, student enthusiasm waned for the nonviolent approach, but under the leadership of Stokely Carmichael, student interest revived as the organization promoted black nationalism and black power.  The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), a legal arm of the Civil Rights Movement, worked to ensure that the law was applied in a nondiscriminatory manner.  Reginald Hawkins was a prominent leader.  Kelly Alexander reorganized the Charlotte NAACP chapter and emerged as one of the Tar Heel State’s leading civil rights leaders during the 1950s and 1960s. Ministers led the Southern Leadership Conference (SCLC), an influential organization that consistently employed nonviolent means.  A well-known North Carolina SCLC leader was Golden Aros Franks; he led various protests in eastern North Carolina towns.

Although Kenneth R. Williams served on the Winston Salem Board of Aldermen during the late 1940s, North Carolina blacks, as a voting bloc, lost political power during the late 1890s and lacked political power, until the passage of national legislation such as the Voting Rights Act.   After blacks regained their suffrage rights, more and more blacks could run for political office and were elected to public office.  Others were appointed to public office.  Henry E. Frye, for example, was appointed to the North Carolina Supreme Court and became the first African American to serve in that capacity.

“The Race Representative”

Greetings World Wide Web!

The blog part of this project had grown cobwebs.  I’m wiping them away and picking my pen up again.  It’s not without some hesitation.  If you are a dreamer and doer, I think you can attest to the fact that when you give birth to an idea so many things, people and circumstances present themselves to, I assume make sure that you’re serious about the journey.  Today I want to talk about a detriment to the world of peace; the pest to the conversation of diversity and inclusion.  The race representative!  We’ve all met them.  The person who takes it upon themselves to speak for their entire racial, cultural or ethnic classification.  They act as though they are the gatekeepers of what is, what’s accepted and even if you are accepted by their entire classification.  The racial representative is a self-proclaimed job!  You’re not voted in, you just appoint yourself.  When the race representative speaks, they assume the place for all of us, we, them, they, nosotros, vosotros……you catch my drift.  What’s worse is that the majority of the people with this position that I’ve met are extremists.  Their individual representation leaves no room for individualism.  I’d almost given up my dreams over “race representatives”  When I began my journey of discovery; actually trying to experience people of different races & cultures, I was met by many representatives.  I was even confronted by race representatives of my race.  I’ve been told that, “I’m not “black enough” or I was lost or somehow confused about the entire world now because I don’t see things as they do.   Some of the race representatives were amazingly open and welcoming and others were guards with a keep out sign.  I guess you can say I was naïve about what it actually takes to mingle between races and cultures.  My being in an interracial, multicultural relationship carry the worse scars of all, but they made me want to stand up and find solutions.  Had I let some unfavorable experiences be even how I receive or understand an entire classification of people, I probably wouldn’t have acted.   After regaining my courage, and having some rock star experiences with other people of the same racial and ethnic classifications, I realized that I had only met someone who felt in their heart that truly their thoughts, experiences and opinions represented the collective.  This is so far from the truth in EVERY race, culture and ethnic people.  Recognizing that in many countries, especially ones like the US, where there is just a melting pot of people, and so much depends on what group you belong to foster this type of behavior.  You truly HAVE TO pick a side.  As the world is becoming increasingly more and more diverse, in growing numbers you’re finding people wanting to express their individuality.  People want a voice, and they don’t want to be forced or told what to think by the main stream.  What do you do when you have a child that is now both of their very different parents?  History in many countries have made people pick sides, like the One Drop Rule in the US and so many others around the world that are similar.   In my case, I checked the box “Other” on everything that I could find for my children.  I wanted to express and go deeper into who they are.   My journey has introduced me to countless, very diverse people who select the same classification for many reasons.  I listen attentively as they tell me stories about “race representatives” who particularly unfavorable ones, have discouraged them to discover diverse worlds and people.  To the colorful seeker and diverse person, I say, you now have a name for this person.  The next time you meet a “race representative” just smile and know that this too shall pass, and rocking awesome people await!


Others’Mother aka MarjorieIam