The Fallacy of a Raceless Latinidad: Action Guidelines for Centering Blackness in Latinx Psychology

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Hector Y. Adames
The Chicago School of Professional Psychology
and Private Practice, Chicago, Illinois

Nayeli Y. Chavez-Dueñas
The Chicago School of Professional Psychology

Maryam M. Jernigan
Agnes Scott College

As Díaz… explains, Latinidad is an all-inclusive cultural identity term that describes people with roots in Latin America which is full of beautiful and “colorful cars, colorful houses, flowers everywhere… even the people are like a rainbow–every shade ever made.

The psychological literature on AfroLatinidad is sparse. The absence of Blackness in Latinx Psychology is due in part to Mestizaje Racial Ideologies (MRIs), or the belief that all people of Latinx descent are racially mixed and therefore skin-color and phenotypical differences
do not matter. This colonial and anti-Blackness ideology has been so deeply rooted in the Latinx ethos that its implications and manifestations are seldomly interrogated. In turn, we default to a praxis that often studies, describes, and conceptualizes Latinidad through racially homogenous and color-blind paradigms. Put succinctly, we produce and reproduce scientific knowledge that fails to capture the unique racialized experiences of Black Latinxs. To this end, the goal of this paper is to provide action guidelines that will help acknowledge and integrate Blackness into the field of Latinx Psychology and disrupt the pervasive raceless narrative of MRIs. To achieve this goal, a brief history of Blackness and antiBlackness in Latin America are outlined, followed by a discussion on the invisibility of Blackness in Latinx Psychology. Drawing on theory of intersectionality, the Centering Racial and Ethnic Identity for Latinxs (C-REIL) framework, which underscores the role of race, ethnicity, racism and ethnocentrism in the study of Latinxs, is introduced as a prelude
to five guidelines that include: (a) anchoring AfroLatinidad in historical knowledge, (b) dismantling anti-Blackness, (c) acknowledging and including the role of Blackness in Latinx Psychology research and practice, (d) valuing Blackness as a political stance, and (e) practicing Latinx Psychology without the White gaze.

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