So because of colonization, Latin America wants us all to be white, and the U.S., in their effort to include but also differentiate us in their media, have pigeon-holed the entire community into being the same shade of mestizo brown. But the reality is much more beautiful and complex.
By making their stage names sound more “American” (aka what white people perceive as being from the US), Latinx actors often avoid getting pigeonholed as the stereotypical criminals, janitors, maids, etc., even if the practice contributes to our erasure.
It’s Women’s History Month and we’re lifting up Latina actresses from before the 1940s, the trailblazers and icons who opened the door for Latinxs to represent our culture on the silver screen. You may be surprised to know that there was a solid squad of (light-skinned) Latinas who made their mark on Hollywood as early as the 1910s — at a time when Hollywood was segregated and blackface was the latest entertainment “craze.” Yet, these Latinas helped found Tinseltown and deserve to be remembered.