At the beginning of the semester we were all engaged in a game of describing what it means to be Latin@. We came up with several qualifications, one of which being Spanish-speaking. Since Arlenis is fluent in Spanish and Sessilee is not one might question whether or not Sessilee is Laina, whereas Arlenis's latinidad is obvious the moment she begins to speak. Latin America, just like the U.S. has become typified and so have the people who reside in these places. When people think of the U.S. an all-American image comes to mind that does not include and represent the wide range of cultures and ethnicities that exist here. The same goes for Latin America; earlier in the course we discussed the preferred images of Latin Americans in the media, which are typically light-skinned with European features. All this does is render everyone who isn't white unimportant and invisible, and leaves the rest of the world to believe that Black Americas don't exist, Black Latin@s don't exist, Black Europeans don't exist, so on and so forth.
Another aspect of Afro-latinidad that I find interesting is the fine line between nationality and culture and race. In a place like the U.S. where race matters Afro-Latin@s are criticized for not looking Latin@. It seems though that Latin@ is a culture comprised of different races. To say someone doesn't look Latin@ is like saying someone doesn't look American, which sounds pretty ridiculous. Check out an article by another Afro-Latin@ on this topic.