To Soho Karen From A Fellow Puerto Rican: Just Because You're A POC Doesn't Mean You Can't Be Racist

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To Soho Karen From A Fellow Puerto Rican: Just Because You're A POC Doesn't Mean You Can't Be Racist
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Dear Soho Karen (real name: Miya Ponsetto), 

As a fellow Puerto Rican woman, your actions have embarrassed the Puerto Rican community. 

Claiming your Puerto Rican identity and your identity as a woman of color — as you did in your interview with Gayle King — does not exempt you from perpetuating anti-Blackness.

In fact, Puerto Rico has a history of anti-Blackness that it's currently confronting, so if you’re going to claim this identity, it is your responsibility to actively combat the very thing bringing down our community. 

Being a woman of color does not mean you cannot perpetuate anti-Black racism. Just because we experience racism in proximity to whiteness, does not mean we cannot perpetuate anti-Blackness.

RELATED: Sorry, Soho Karen: Being Young And Unaware Isn't An Excuse For Racism

Different racial groups experience racism differently but white Latinx people do not experience anti-Blackness — that's the difference between you and the boy you assaulted. 

History shows: 

1. Latinx is an ethnicity, not a race, which means you can be a white Latina, Black Latina, Asian-American Latina etc... 

2. Latin America historically suffers from a pigmentocracy, the idea that lighter skinned Latinx folks are more valuable. 

3. Being a white Latina means you benefit from this history and that you can also perpetuate anti-Blackness simulatneously.

It’s always important to look at every situation through an intersectional lens, which means that you must take into account the identities that every person in the situation holds: Who historically has privilege? Who historically has experienced oppression?

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Based on that, you’ll see that you, a white Latina, have perpetuated anti-black racism.

As a white, mixed-race Puerto Rican woman myself, I’ve been lovingly called out by people around me who have told me that I can’t compare my lived experience as a woman of color (especially since I’m light-skinned) to that of a Black person because they are two very different experiences. I’ve taken this feedback and really applied it to my life, because it’s true.

RELATED: How My Trip Back Home To Puerto Rico Empowered Me To Embrace Being Latina

Now here I am, telling you as a fellow Latina that antiblackness and the racism POC experience are not 1:1 experiences (they are not the same). Anti-Black racism is the root of all racism and it is important that we recognize that so we can achieve liberation for all POC. 

Clinging to the little piece of marginalization you have, takes up space in the racial justice movement. 

You are being called on to re-evaluate your actions, and I agree. 

You apologized for the way you handled the situation, but it's important to also apologize to the family for racially-profiling their Black 14-year-old boy.

It's time to re-examine what may have caused your mind to automatically think that this young Black kid had your phone, instead of accusing the other people going in and out of the hotel. It's time to accept accountability and be conscious of your white privilege. 

Knowing the history of race relations not only in the U.S., but in the world will prevent you from making the same mistake again.

Here are some resources to help:

Who Do We Think We Are

Racism Is Also a Latino Issue: Puerto Rican Protesters Speak Out

Afro-Latino Experts Talk About Racism Within Our Community

RELATED: How I Dealt With Racism As A Latina In An Interracial Relationship

Angelique Beluso is a sex educator and writer who covers feminism, pop culture and relationship topics.