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Latinos are mutts

Photo by Hulton Archive / Getty Images

If New York City’s stop-and-frisk program wasn’t controversial before, a new YouTube video will make sure of it.

From The Nation:

“Exclusive audio obtained by The Nation of a stop-and-frisk carried out by the New York Police Department freshly reveals the discriminatory and unprofessional way in which this controversial policy is being implemented on the city’s streets.

On June 3, 2011, three plainclothes New York City Police officers stopped a Harlem teenager named Alvin and two of the officers questioned and frisked him while the third remained in their unmarked car. Alvin secretly captured the interaction on his cell phone, and the resulting audio is one of the only known recordings of stop-and-frisk in action.

In the course of the two-minute recording, the officers give no legally valid reason for the stop, use racially charged language and threaten Alvin with violence. Early in the stop, one of the officers asks, ‘You want me to smack you?’ When Alvin asks why he is being threatened with arrest, the other officer responds, ‘For being a fucking mutt.’ Later in the stop, while holding Alvin’s arm behind his back, the first officer says, ‘Dude, I’m gonna break your fuckin’ arm, then I’m gonna punch you in the fuckin’ face.’ “

Ah, the ol’ “bastard race” insult. And how fortuitous that it should come up in the same week that Colón landed in the New World (October 12).

The “mutt” label has been at the heart of anti-Latino racism for centuries, and it all can be traced back to the founder of the Latino people. When Colón came to the Americas bearing the Spanish flag, he brought the Spanish language (Castilian), the Spanish religion (Catholicism), Spanish disease (smallpox) and, worst of all for the natives, Spanish men. The conquistadors put the natives to work as slaves, most of whom would die of smallpox, and they took many of the native women as their mistresses, whether the women were willing or not — all sanctioned by their Christian God, by the way (Deuteronomy 21:11-14).

Having decimated the native population, the Spanish and the Portuguese were first to ship African slaves to the New World. In Cuba, Puerto Rico, Hispaniola (Haiti and the Dominican Republic) and Central America, they put the Africans to work in the fields growing cacao, sugarcane, coffee and tobacco, and in the mines digging up gold and silver. They took some of the African women as mistresses, of course, and soon the New World saw the creation of a marginalized caste of people whom the Spaniards called criollos, men and women born and raised in the Americas who had a mixture of native, African and European blood.

These people were the forerunners of what would become the modern-day Latino.

So when a police officer in Harlem calls a Latino boy a “mutt” while frisking him, not only is it offensive, it’s also true.

Latinos are a bastard race — not purely European, not purely native, not purely African. No one would claim us so we claimed ourselves. We are a raceless people. Our heritage is wide and rich, drawing on influences from opposite ends of the globe.

I’m Latino, a “mutt” if there ever was one. But see how I still keep my head held high and my tail wagging.

[Video from The Nation.]

About Hector Luis Alamo, Jr.

Hector Luis Alamo, Jr., is the associate editor at Being Latino and a native son of Chicago's Humboldt Park neighborhood. He received a B.A. in history at the University of Illinois at Chicago, where his concentration was on ethnic relations in the United States. While at UIC, he worked first as a staff writer for the Chicago Flame and later became the newspaper's Opinions editor. He contributes to various Chicago-area publications, most notably, the RedEye and Gozamos. He's also a cultural critic for 'LLERO magazine. He has maintained a personal blog since 2007, YoungObservers.blogspot.com, where he discusses topics ranging from political history and philosophy to culture and music.

Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are solely those of the author and should not be understood to be shared by Being Latino, Inc.

Comments

  1. *Waits for Mario Ramirez to say it’s Alvin’s fault for being at that place and that moment in time*

  2. Charlie says:

    I think you meant to say Castilian, not Catalan.

  3. I’m going to write the truth one a millionth time. Africans are latino/hispanic/spanish. Africans are not included in our racial make up. !!
    Indo-hispanics – the name our incomparable great man Augusto Cesar Sandino called us- are mestizo. A mestizo is half native american and half spaniard.
    We indo-hispanics are largely Mestizo.
    The euro-american has invented their own erronous classifications of my people, indo-hispanics.

    I read books all the time. All the books communicate to me indo-hispanics are mestizo. My DNA test told me my people indo-hispanics are overrall largely mestizo. Truth spoken. Thank You.

  4. Africans are NOT indo-hispanic/latino/spanish.

  5. Daniel Ruiz says:

    @ Jairo Ortega: Do research on Latin America before speaking on it. There are 40-70 million Latinos of African descent in Spanish speaking nations and 100-110 million in Brazil and Haiti. The actual figure is impossible to know as the legacy of the Castas system leads many who are black to call themselves “indio” or your beloved mestizo. Further, there are 12-15 million Latinos of Middle Eastern descent (Selma Hayek, Shakira, Carlos Slim of note) and 4-5 million of Asian descent (Franklin Chang Diaz and Bruce Chen of note). Not to mention the millions of Latinos of European who are not Spaniard at all. Saying all white Latinos are Spaniards is like saying all white Americans are British. Just think about it logically, you really think it was only Spaniards that went to an entirely new section of the world? Dude read a book.

    Saying Latinos are only mestizo is ridiculous.

  6. Disgusting and reprehensible

  7. Genetic admixture estimations of US Latino/as in three groupings:

    Dominican group 1: Caucasian 50%, African 43%, Native American 6%
    Dominican group 2: Caucasian 47%, African 43%, Native American (1) 4%, Native American (2) 6%
    Dominican group 3: Caucasian 42%, African 43%, Native American (1) 2%, Native American (2) 6%, Native American (3) 7%

    Mexican group 1: Caucasian 47%, African 4%, Native American 48%
    Mexican group 2: Caucasian 45%, African 4%, Native American (1) 46%, Native American (2) 4%
    Mexican group 3: Caucasian 38%, African 4%, Native American (1) 43%, Native American (2) 6%, Native American (3) 9%

    Puerto Rican group 1: Caucasian 62%, African 25%, Native American 13%
    Puerto Rican group 2: Caucasian 56%, African 24%, Native American (1) 2%, Native American (2) 17%
    Puerto Rican group 3: Caucasian 18%, African 22%, Native American (1) 3%, Native American (2) 8%, Native American (3) 49%

    Cuban group 1: Caucasian 73%, African 21%, Native American 6%
    Cuban group 2: Caucasian 70%, African 21%, Native American (1) 4%, Native American (2) 5%
    Cuban group 3: Caucasian 60%, African 20%, Native American (1) 3%, Native American (2) 4%, Native American (3) 13%

    Central Am group 1: Caucasian 37%, African 18%, Native American 45%
    Central Am group 2: Caucasian 31%, African 17%, Native American (1) 26%, Native American (2) 26%
    Central Am group 3: Caucasian 26%, African 17%, Native American (1) 17%, Native American (2) 33%, Native American (3) 7%

    South Am group 1: Caucasian 50%, African 11%, Native American 40%
    South Am group 2: Caucasian 42%, African 10%, Native American (1) 16%, Native American (2) 32%
    South Am group 3: Caucasian 36%, African 10%, Native American (1) 6%, Native American (2) 39%, Native American (3) 8%

    “Population Structure of Hispanics in the United States: The Multi-Ethnic Study of Atherosclerosis”

  8. Yes, a disgusting and reprehensible article. A lot of NYC cops are Evil jerks towards Latinos, that cannot be dismissed, but this article quickly goes from one denoting injustice by the NYPD jerks to a City College of New York style freshman newspaper gripe fest on white Iberian men and contributions to Western civilization. Not all Criollos were of mixed blood and Colon did not bring Catalan but Castillian to the new world. Not all Spanish sur named people who have roots in the new world are of mixed race. Stop ghettoizing us because although we might have some things in common, we are all not the same. And you might have this complex about things Iberian but if it wasn’t for those Gallegos, there would be nothing here. If you can’t stand the Iberian founding of our Latino enterprise then I suggest you all change your Spanish last names and stop speaking the language (those of you that still do)…

  9. There was nothing “Latino” about the native inhabitants that where living here when Colon arrived nor the African slaves that came later. That’s just some politically correct label that was incorrectly given to inhabitants of the new world regardless of race. If anything the true “Latinos” are those Spanish Europeans who arrived here and who did have centuries of Latin, Roman, Berber, Gothic, Phoenician, Greek, Moorish, Carthaginian, Visgothic, Basque, Celtic blood running through their veins. They are both of Latin(o) and Hispanic blood. If you want to belong to that group, we’ll take you as brothers or cousins in the spirit of Hispanidad even if you might have native or African blood, but DNA wise you are not really a Latin.

  10. Its best to stay away from the police if you can. They are not your friends like our moms and teachers used to tell us in the 1970s! Theirs is a brotherhood that looks to everyone as guilty. Even if you are the innocent one, even if you are the one that reports a crime, there is overwhelming historical evidence that if they want, the police will find a way of entrapping you and making you the quilts one. I have seen this so many times!

  11. In Toronto they called me a “mongrel” because of my european background. They could not understand someone related to spanish, portuguese and italians.

  12. canadians are stupi thier related to us hispanics btw hispanics come from decends of africans erupians asians germans italians and potoguese

  13. Can I stop laughing now?

  14. So mixed race=ghetto Mario? You do know that Spain was conquered by the Arabs for 700 years. This means even if you are “pure” Spanish you have Arabic blood. This notion of purity is false even here in the U.S. The U.S. tried to discourage race mixing but nobody really is 100% anything today. A good read is Living in Spanglish by Ed Morales. He compares the U.S. to Latin America with respect to attitudes towards mixed race.

  15. stop being sensitive ppl

  16. Who uses the word “mutt” anymore? I’m speculating that the cop that called that kid a “mutt” was an Italian-Irish mixed cop with personal issues and an inferiority complex and he was projecting. NYC is full of these Johnny-come-lately ethnics whose grandparents came from the “old country” and now they want to be more Americans than the Americans who ancestors came here on the Mayflower, so they pick on Hispanics.

  17. Finally, just a few corrections regarding the article, as Mario pointed out, not all Hispanics are mixed and the Spaniards brought Castilian, not Catalan to the new world.

  18. Yes, Spain was occupied by Moors for 700 years – so what? Berbers, a Caucasian people from North Africa. And not all Spain was occupied in the North. By Ghetto I mean that BL pigeonholes people into this one leftist mindset.

  19. We are all mixed in one way or another — It’s called the Human Race! — Being Latino has to stop this Left leaning PC bullcrap! I am Caucasian (German,Irish,Polish,Belguim,and French) my wife is Puerto Rican (Taino Indian,Spainish, and African). So what are my children? Only Human

  20. Indeed Mario, not all of Espana was conquered by the Moors. Just the southern portion the Moors called Al-Andalus or Andalusia.

  21. Letty says:

    Disgusting! Really Seriously! You are not a serious writer and an Amatuer! This is insulting I didnt even read the article because of the title. Grow up and stop usinf these kind of tactics in order to draw attention to a story.

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