Why Understanding Colorism Within the Latino Community Is So important

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Growing up in a Peruvian and Colombian household, I was used to being around family members who had indigenous features like myself. With tan skin, thick black hair and dark features, I never felt a need to look differently, and have always been comfortable in my own skin. It wasn’t until I was exposed to other Latinos in everyday life that I learned that some had complexes about their skin color. I remember having a friend, who was a fair skinned or “white-presenting” Latina who would make remarks about my tan complexion from time to time. Normally I’d shrug off her comments because they didn’t have any effect on me. However, I remember one summer we were at a party taking photos, and upon looking at them she half jokingly and insultingly said, “Look at you in this pic, looking like an Aztec Indian.” I was insulted by her ignorant statement, but I couldn’t understand why it was a big deal that I was naturally tan. In retrospect, I realized she was projecting her own complexes onto me in order to make herself feel superior.

Read more by Giselle Castro at HipLatina