Chronicles of a Negrita


Hanging almost 3,500 feet above a tropical rainforest, I felt the entirety of my life come crashing down on me in giant waves


Sometimes I get tired of talking about being Black. Hell, sometimes I get tired of being Black.


We like to think of ourselves as harmless – leaving soft footprints in the sand that after a few hours wash away as if they never were there at all. We think of ourselves a culture that treads lightly over the filth and mud of "lesser" humans, animals and savages that live in the woods.


I feel overwhelmingly and uncomfortably black. Not like, “oh, it’s pitch black in here” or, “wow her hair is black”. No. I am talking about black as Grace Jones next to a white background, black as Billie Holiday singing “Strange Fruit” to a crowd of white men, Black as Barack Obama in the White House B-L-A-C-K Black.


“If you are born in America, and do not speak Spanish, you are not Latin American,” proclaimed my professor. She had no contempt in her voice, neither malice nor ill will. 


The week before I sat quietly listening to the telenoticias with my host family, as pictures of an escaped murderer who was finally caught by the police blazed across the screen.