This is an email from Keepin' It 💯, a newsletter by ZORA.
As celebrations for Hispanic Heritage month commence this week, ZORA contributing writer Adriana Maestas calls on us to interrogate umbrella terms like Latinx and Hispanic. She points out that some critics of Latinidad, employed as a catch-all cultural identifier for a diverse set of people, say it is anti-Black and anti-Indigenous. In rethinking language, Maestas says we should take a good hard look at who benefits from the Latinidad construct — and who is excluded.
“In the end, Spanish is still a colonizer’s language, and lighter-skinned Latinxs tend to be the ones who benefit the most from Latinidad. In centering a common Spanish or Iberian heritage, the Latinx and Hispanic labels signal proximity to whiteness built on a white supremacist foundation that is reinforced by the media and by those who are invested in marketing products and ideas to people who may fall under these labels.”
Even as we constructively critique language, Maestas tells us we can “still honor solidarity work that has occurred between groups in the U.S. and throughout the Americas.”
Christina M. Tapper, ZORA deputy editor
Looking to learn more about Afro-Latinx culture and history?
Check out these reads from Afro-Latina authors, recommended by Jolie A. Doggett:
Halsey Street by Naima Coster
This debut novel tells the story of a Dominican girl discovering the effects of gentrification on her Brooklyn neighborhood.
The Poet X by Elizabeth Acevedo
Written in verse, this novela tells the story of a 15-year-old Afro-Dominican girl growing up in the Bronx who uses slam poetry to escape her strict household and discover who she is.
Let Us Be Enough by Ariana Brown
In her book collection of poems, this AfroMexicana writer provides words of affirmation to Black women, Latinas and Mexican Americans needing to feel seen.
Letters to My Mother by Teresa Cárdenes
After losing her mother and being sent to live with relatives who ridiculed her appearance, writer Teresa Cárdenes pens letters to her ‘Mami’ in an effort to find beauty in her life.
Zero to 💯
Who kept it 100 this week? Let’s take a look.
Maya Moore announces she married the man she helped free: 💯/💯
One of the most decorated basketball players of all time paused her career to help overturn the wrongful conviction of Jonathan Irons, who was sentenced to 50 years in prison for a home burglary and shooting. And now, they’re Mr. and Mrs.!
Naomi Osaka’s response to the question about the message behind her masks: 💯/💯
When the U.S. Open champ was asked about her decision to wear masks honoring victims of police brutality, she responded, “Well, what was the message that you got?… I feel like the point is to make people start talking.” Exactly.
The bravery of the ICE “Uterus Collector” whistleblower: 💯/💯
Dawn Wooten, a Black woman and a former nurse at an ICE detention center, alleges that hysterectomies are being performed on detainees without their consent. That’s 100% courageous.
Breonna Taylor’s family receives settlement in wrongful death suit: 70/💯
In a historic settlement, the city of Louisville, Kentucky agreed to pay $12 million to Taylor’s family in addition to implementing necessary reforms to their police force. It’s not the arrests we were hoping for but… it’s a start.
Mara Brock Akil inks a Netflix deal: 💯/💯
Sis got an overall deal and secured the bag. Plus Girlfriends and The Game are streaming on the platform right now. We are winning.
✨ The Best of Us ✨
ICYMI, here are some of our favorite ZORA stories
🗣️ The Last Word 🗣️
“Whatever we are to become, I’m glad that we can laugh through the uncomfortable moments.”
― Elizabeth Acevedo, With the Fire on High
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