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The Black-Brown divide

balaguer-poster-2-0608-lg.jpgYou won’t find too many portraits of Bill Clinton hanging in Cuban American households – adiós, Elián! – but in Puerto Rican homes, he’s as familiar a face as any Catholic saint. RFK is the martyr of choice on Mexican Americans’ walls, while the late white-skinned president Joaquín Balaguer presides over Dominican barbershops across Manhattan’s Washington Heights.< The Latino-American community is diverse and divided, some forty-four million people and twenty different nationalities struggling in their own way with immigration, assimilation, and political destiny. Yet for all the differences, there’s one thing (language aside) that many Latinos have in common: You won’t find too many pictures of dark-skinned leaders in their homes. Growing up in Spanish Harlem in the eighties, I don’t recall too many Latinos of any nationality going crazy over Jesse Jackson’s Rainbow Coalition. I recall a dark-skinned Panamanian church elder cheating on his wife with a white woman; when his dark-skinned Puerto Rican wife found out, she forgave him and dyed her hair blond, all the better to mimic the prize of the white world. Read the rest of this article HERE

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