BLACK VOICES

Afro-Latino Man Proudly Claims His Black Heritage In This Incredible Spoken-Word Poem

"Born American, raised Dominican, found black..."

The intersectionality between being black and Latino often goes overlooked. Poet Gabriel Ramirez acknowledged this when he recited his poem titled, "On Realized I Am Black" at the 2015 National Poetry Slam in August.

“Born American, raised Dominican, found black,” the New York-based poet said about his background in his poem. 

Ramirez talked about those who took him declaring his black heritage as laughable, even going so far as to call him greedy for speaking Spanish and wanting to claim black heritage. He says he even faced criticism from his family.

“My grandfather would tell me, ‘Stop looking like a n****r.’ I’d tell him, ‘I’m celebrating the way God made me.’”

Hispanic racial identity in America can be hard to define, especially for those who identify as Afro-Latino. Two-thirds of Hispanics in the nation believe their ethnicity and race are one in the same, according to Pew Research Center. While this is the case, there are still plenty of Hispanics that identify as Afro-Latino that the U.S. Census may have undercounted.

Ramirez remains clear -- he is proud of his Afro-Latino identity. 

"My grandfather died as the moon. I am not him," he said. "I am black and full of stars... I am Africa."

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