Navigating Anti-Blackness and Perceptions of Beauty as an Afrolatina

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by Sharlia LeBreton-Gulley“So… You KNOW you’re Latina, right?”That was a legitimate assertion once made to me by a proud Latino brother while I stood behind the counter at the Vitamin Shoppe in Pasadena California bagging his protein, testosterone booster and multivitamins.“Actually, I’m African.”My mom suggested me a few years ago that when prompted, I should respond that I am definitively “African” to inquisitions of my racial, cultural and/or ethnic background. Typically most people don’t even understand the difference between the three “distinctions,” so this wouldn’t be a problem if I began simply responding “African,” when asked my background, right? What I found though, was that most people simply could not accept that by me claiming an African identity , that I could look the way I do. . . .

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