Click here to check Raquel Cepeda's article in this week's Village Voice titled "The N-Word is Flourishing Among Generation Hip-Hop Latinos." It brings up great points about race and class. For example: "The palpable racial tension that's been rearing its head this historic presidential election, the subject of race and who is truly considered black or white in this black-and-white race, is something Latinos need to pay attention to. For many of us, especially those of Caribbean descent who make up a sizable chunk of New York Latinos, race should matter, and so should that one particular word."
Then she has some amazing quotes, such as this gem from Immortal Technique: "The European Spaniards have left a legacy of self-hatred and racism among the Latino population; without acknowledging that, we will not evolve past our own inequity," says Immortal Technique, an Afro-Peruvian hip-hop artist who also uses the n-word. "Racism in America, as horrible and ugly as it may be, still isn't as bad as what it is in Latin America, and the sad part is that we are being racist against ourselves."
I'm extremely pleased by the always necessary reminder that the so-called Latin American racial democracy is just a myth. I also appreciate Cepeda's use of the term "Afro-Latino" to mean not just a child of African American and Latino parents... but a child of Latino parents who are also part of the African diaspora.
And, I can't lie, I was caught off guard (and got very happy) by the shoutout to my book: "With few exceptions within our community—Raquel Rivera's 2003 book New York Ricans From the Hip Hop Zone devoted prime real estate to the discussion of Latino identity in hip-hop—this is a conversation we've failed to have, whatever our personal feelings."
So what do you think? Do you agree that "the profusion of the word into the New York City Latino vocabulary is reaching an almost caricaturist quality"? Is the way Latinos are using the word today different from the way they used it years back? Why use the word at all? Why not use it?