Census: Afro-Latinos Urged To Respond

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[2010 Census]

In an effort to achieve an accurate count of Afro-Latinos in the United States Census, the nonprofit Afrolatino Forum has produced a series of public service announcements that call on Latinos of African descent to identify as both Hispanic and Black on the 2010 form.

By proclaiming “Check Both!/¡Chequea las dos!” the bilingual spots highlight the importance for Latinos of African descent to self-identify as such on the Census.

The count has far-reaching implications, determining how $400 billion in federal funds are distributed to local governments each year. Over 10 years, a community could lose a projected $1.2 million of federal funding for housing, health and education programs for every 100 persons that are not counted, according to the NAACP.

Studies have established that despite a higher educational level, Black Latinos are more likely to live below the poverty level than other Latinos and have the highest unemployment rate.

The videos – “Yo Soy,” “Y tu abuela?” and “Afro-Latin@ facts” –  depict the true range of diversity within the U.S. Latino community. And they are designed to appeal to an array of viewers who might think of themselves as Afro-Latinos for different reasons. Some may choose to “Check Both” to honor their heritage. Others may “Check Both” because of how they look, or because of how others see them. Still others may want to identify with the culture they have grown up with.

In “Yo Soy,” four Afro-Latinos deliver a self-affirming message about their backgrounds and why they plan to “Check Both” on the Census. While acknowledging their particularities, ultimately, they  choose to recognize the most salient aspects of their identity by checking both Black and Latino on the 2010 form.

“¿“Y tu abuela?” dramatizes an encounter between a Spanish-speaking youth whose grandmother rejects his friends because she assumes --incorrectly-- that they are African Americans. The PSA highlights the ethnocentrism that exists among Latinos and the fact that Afro-Latinos are frequently taken for African Americans and, along with other Blacks, share the ramifications of racism.

“Afro-Latino facts” sheds light on how Afro-Latinos have been undercounted in previous census drives. Such an undercount not only denies the African aspect of Latino identity. It deprives organizations of resources they need to improve the lives of this community.

To view the PSA’s, click here:





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