Letters to the Editor: Latinx communities fighting racism don’t need Martinez, Cedillo and De León to tell us they don’t
In his letter to the editor, “Latinx is not a race: It is a community of people”, John B. Laubenberg (June 29, 2019) argues that racism can exist in any race, not just Latinx people, and that Latinx communities (which is not the same as Latinx people) should not allow themselves to be ignored by state representatives in the name of the community.
I disagree strongly with Mr. Laubenberg.
When I ask my Latinx friends about their experiences with racism, they share experiences that are not racial in nature. Instead, they describe experiences that, in my experience, have been racially-charged but not in a violent way. When friends call me racist, it is usually because there is something they don’t like about my choice of clothes or my use of certain adjectives.
Let’s be specific: This is how I am not a racialist. So when I say that “Latinx is not a race: It is a community of people,” it means that I am not saying, “Latinx people are not the same as other racial groups (because some are more similar to each other than other racial groups).” If I want to be critical of a particular community, I don’t need a “race” label applied to that community or to the members of that community.
It is quite possible to be critical of racism across racial and ethnic lines. For example, I have used a racialist label to describe a particular community, which happens to be predominantly black, and I have criticized some of the behaviors of people within that community. I have used this word to describe black people throughout history, both at the community level and at the individual level, within the Black community.
These words are not, as Mr. Laubenberg argues them to be, racialist. They’re not, because when I use them, they serve the purpose of trying to understand and to better understand my Black neighbors and friends. They’re not intended to label them as being part of a race, which is the way white people do it (and is the way Latino people do it, to a lesser extent).
In fact, we may have more racialist ideas than