To The Non-Afro Latinos Who Think They Can Say the N-Word

To the non-Afro-Latinos who think they can the n-word:

There is no black pass, when there’s no pass from being black.

When you say the word, you devour a piece of me

You saying the n-word is Choosing to be black when convenient, and privilege when inconvenient.

You saying the n-word is invalidating an inward battle Afro-Latinos have to overcome between slave and slave master; where the slave master always wins so their skin is the color of the ground the slave is buried in.

It’s the act of my mother seeing my ancestors reaching out in the shape of kinks and curls, and her seeing it as a curse relaxing and eliminating any trace of it.

It’s the boiling racism of your parents forcing my mom to pick her poison, drunkard of self-hate

It’s my mom stripping herself of her black, hiding it under years of discrimination and shame.

You saying the n-word is privilege in forgetting that was the last word some heard before being assaulted, raped, killed. Robbed of their dignity.

It’s my Mexican family telling me to bleach my skin and not go out of the sun knowing it would turn to the gold their forefathers took from mine.

Its silencing the dictation of my heartbeat by a drum playing mapale.

You saying the n-word is reclaiming a word that was never yours; also known as cultural appropriation.

You saying the n-word is praying to white Jesus because the white man is your savior

It’s part of a culture that erases me from the white boards of history

You saying the n-word Is me letting you say it.


But the n-word carries the blood of my great-grandfather who broke his back as a slave for American glory, my blood

I don’t let you say the n-word because 42 million experiences are filled with being drowned by the voices of racist individuals and walk on their toes because the noose is too high

I don’t let you say it because “you look so pretty with your hair straight” is the reason I got relaxer burns on my scalp imitating the branding of my people serving as tribute to my submission to your privilege

Me not letting you say the n-word is standing up to colorism

Its silencing my aunts dagger shaped tongue about to kill my mom with “negra fea” and replacing it with my Panamanian term of endearment “mi negra

¡Mi negra que tiene tumbao! Azucar!

Azúcar that you buy on cosmetic market.

Its reconnecting with my ancestors without them fleeing due to PTSD and echoes of a market

Me not letting you say that is acknowledging Jesus may have died for our sins but they died for my rights, every day their crucifixion, where man decorates trees with people as ornaments, swinging in the wind.

So, to the non-Afro-Latinos who think they can say the n-word                                        

You painted “negros” as beasts

But continue to play with wounds yet to heal

And I’ll pull it out your throat so all that’s heard is a suffocated “Ni-”


This poem is about: 
My community


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