I recently read Tanya Kateri Hernandezʼs article “Black-on-Mexican Violence in Staten Island, NY: The Untold Tale of Turf Defense”. A guest commentary in the National Institute for Latino Policy e-newsletter, Hernandez discusses the rise of racial violence in Staten Island involving African Americans committing violent assaults against Mexicans. Hernandez provides a great commentary on the racial context in which the violence is occurring, arguing that “institutional racism and segregated racialized spaces” is at the root of the problem.
Learning about the violence in NY along with other incidents throughout the country over the past few years, I am quite disturbed by the fact that some African Americans have chosen to misdirect our anger and frustration about a myriad of social and economic issues on Latino immigrants. With our history of slavery, lynching, marginalization, discrimination and exploitation, why would we engage in such violent acts? Why torment, blame and demonize Latino immigrants?
I am convinced that African Americans must address our own xenophobia andprejudices against other racial/ethnic groups. It is time for us to have a serious dialogue about the bigotry within our own community as well as confront and challenge the attitudes and beliefs that, in many instances, manifest in violent ways. Black-on-Mexican, black-on-black, and black-on-anybody-else violence needs to stop. Only black folks can make that happen!
Comment by Michael aweda
Michael aweda August 27, 2010 at 3:12 am
This is ashame to say but it’s true. This is exactly what the
media and others in this country want to see, there are so many other things to get mad about like the treatment of our first black president, the education of our children, the unemployment rate for African Americans and so on and so on. Latinos and mexicans Americans all I can say is look at what’s going on in Arizona. The hate in this country is being fueled by the media hypocrite machine look at what’s being reported it’s not news it’s hate and things that prey on peoples fears. Don’t get me started……
Comment by Charles
Charles October 14, 2010 at 3:53 pm
Although some commentators have attributed the Latino hostility to African Americans to the stress of competition in the job market, a 2006 sociological study of racial group competition suggests otherwise. In a study of 477 Latinos from the 2001 Los Angeles County Social Survey, professors Lawrence Bobo, then of Harvard, and Vincent Hutchings of the University of Michigan found that underlying prejudices and existing animosities contribute to the perception that African Americans pose an economic threat — not the other way around.
It is certainly true that the acrimony between African Americans and Latinos cannot be resolved until both sides address their own unconscious biases about one another. But it would be a mistake to ignore the Latino side of the equation as some observers have done — particularly now, when the recent violence in Los Angeles has involved Latinos targeting peaceful African American citizens.
This conflict cannot be sloughed off as simply another generation of ethnic group competition in the United States (like the familiar rivalries between Irish, Italians and Jews in the early part of the last century). Rather, as the violence grows, the “diasporic” origins of the anti-black sentiment — the entrenched anti-black prejudice among Latinos that exists not just in the United States but across the Americas — will need to be directly confronted.
Comment by Ramona Houston
Ramona Houston October 25, 2010 at 11:49 pm
Anti-black sentiment is a reality in the Latino community as anti-Latino sentiment is a reality in the African American community. Prejudice does exist among Latinos and it is expressed in a myriad of ways, including violently. This does not excuse the violence of African Americans against Latinos. In order for the cycle of violence to end in both of our communities, African Americans and Latino Americans need to confront and address our bigoted attitudes and beliefs.