Twenty-year-old Deandre Harris doesn’t know if he’d be alive today if his friends hadn’t saved him from a group of white supremacists who attacked him in Charlottesville, Virginia over the weekend. According to The Root, the incident took place just a short distance from the Charlottesville Police Department, though no police interfered. Deandre has eight staples in his head, a broken wrist, and a chipped tooth. As people use social media try to ID the men who attacked Deandre, it’s come to light that one of them is allegedly Michael A. Ramos, who identifies as Puerto Rican.
Latino Rebels reports that before he deactivated his Facebook page, he bragged about the attack. In an almost hour-long Facebook live recorded before he took down his account, Ramos began by speaking about the need of the “Unite the Right” rallies – which attracted white supremacists aiming to “take back America.” He then said he couldn’t possibly be racist, because he’s Puerto Rican.
“I need to say some shit about the UTR, and I need to say some shit about racism, ’cause I’m not fucking racist, I’m Spanish,” he says. “I’m Puerto Rican. Yeah, there are some Puerto Rican racist people out there, but I’m not one of them. And I need people to know that shit.”
This statement – full of incongruities – is just the beginning of a much longer rant, where he defends the KKK, neo-Nazis, and white supremacists. And though the words that came out of his mouth are deplorable, it’s the fact that Ramos – a white passing man – believes being a Latino absolves him of racism that struck a nerve with us.
Anti-blackness is incredibly rampant in the Latino community, especially among nonblack Latinos. As with other minority groups that have come before us, white supremacy seduces with its promise of prosperity and happiness — the door to the American dream — while our own internalized cultural histories often erase the contributions of Afro-descendants to the past and present of Latinidad.
We have a long way to go to break down hundreds of years of white supremacy, but there are some immediate steps we can take to decolonize our minds, our families, and our people. Here’s a good place to start:
H/T Latino Rebels