By Special Correspondent Nadra Kareem
Ever have a conversation that seems normal enough and then takes a weird turn? This happened to me not long ago during a discussion about when L.A. Dodger Manny Ramirez would return to baseball.
All of a sudden the person I was speaking to asked, “What is he—black or Latino?”
To me, the answer was obvious. I mean, Manny Ramirez is caramel colored with coarse dreadlocks. He’s clearly black but his Spanish surname made the person I was talking to question this.
In fact, Ramirez was born in the Dominican Republic, the nation where the largest number of black Hispanics in America originate. Cuba, Puerto Rico and Panama round out the top places from where Afro-Latinos in the U.S. hail, according to Census data.
Although there are an estimated 1.7 million black Hispanics in this country, some people seem to have a hard time recognizing the existence of such individuals. Within days of being asked about Manny Ramirez’s ethnicity, I encountered people questioning actress Zoe Saldana’s. Like Ramirez, Saldana is also a black Dominican. Continue reading