Friday, September 30, 2005

In the Metro (a smaller commuter newspaper) of 7/20/05 there was a letter to the editor on the Boston Red Sox baseball team, David Ortiz. Someone called Payola Reyes, expressed concern over Red Sox slugger, David Ortiz, being called "a Black Man". Reyes says that David Ortiz is "not black but his skin is just dark" and "he is Latino." Well, there is no denying that he is Latino, but denying that he is black is a joke. Ortiz’s features look very African, even more than some African Americans.

I’m sure that David Ortiz could easily trace his heritage to some village in West Africa, just like most Black Americans. The heritage of most Black South Americans and Caribbean people is West and East Africa…their ancestors were stolen from Africa and forced to work as slaves (similar to Black Americans). In the USA, anyone with any known African ancestry is deemed an African American. That’s just the way it is. So many white or white looking people have gone through great lengths to hide or even forget their black heritage. Maybe if it weren’t for the horrible legacy of slavery and its aftermath, Reyes wouldn’t feel so bad about Ortiz being called a Black Man. Then again, a lot of Black people of Latino/Hispanic origin don't want to be called black. It's such that on forms there is a category called Black Of Hispanic Origin.

Reyes is concerned that blacks are stereotyped as being the same. I don’t know how that can be changed, because unfortunately human nature judges by appearance first. And in America it’s worse as people judge people first by the color of their skin, then whatever next.

Like Ortiz, I have foreign heritage, and I proudly call myself a black woman. I don’t need people making excuses for why I shouldn’t called, ‘black’.

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