Hi! I'm Solange Castellar, and I'm a second year Women's and Gender Studies Master's Student at the CUNY Graduate Center. My research is rooted in U.S. Latino Studies, but my primary focus is representational media images of U.S. Latinos/as/xs, and creating critical media literacy for U.S. Latino/a/x students. My interest in this research is partly from my own experiences of growing up with little to no Latinos that I really connected with in the media. Now with the abundant narratives that are being told through television, film, and the internet, I wonder if students today feel the same or different to how I once did. The aim of my studies is to examine how representational images are indicative of a certain culture, to study the semiotics behind this media, and to examine if there are any ways that Latinos/as/xs can re-imagine media that they as audience members are expected to accept. For a longer bio on me and my work, please head to this page!
In the following pages, you'll find my final project for #BlackGirlMagic: @The Intersections of Literacies, Pedagogies, & Black Feminisms. This project is titled, "Latinas and Blackness: A Media Literacy Project," with the subtitle, "How We Connect and/or Disconnect From Afro-Latinas as Being 'Our Own.'"
The objective of the following pages is to deconstruct how Afro-Latinas and Non-Black Latinas are crafting new spaces for themselves in the media. One of the persistent issues in Latino culture is anti-Blackness, and for the most part, there is an exclusion of Black bodies in the media that represent Latino culture. This is a theme that I've seen increasingly being discussed online, mainly through social media. What I've noticed is how Non-Black Latinas celebrate Afro-Latinas, only when it's convenient for them, meaning NB-Latinas appreciate Black bodies when those bodies address themselves as Latin. For this project, I will specifically be looking at more recent examples of Afro-Latinas being praised in the media, or being shut out of NB-Latina spaces that are meant to be all-inclusive communities.
What you'll find on the next set of pages is a media literacy piece. What exactly do I mean by that? Well, for starters, we'll be looking at pictures, videos, and social media that is being fed to audiences, and really getting into what the meaning is behind them. Upon research for this topic, I will uplift the voices that are addressing the inclusion and exclusion of Blackness in Latinidad. Aside from reading a piece of media, or examining the construction of a celebrity, I will also conduct a textual analysis, where I connect the media materials to writers I read over the course of this semester.
Conducting this step by step analysis is a way of introducing critical media literacy to the public. Do not feel uneasy if you don't get what I'm saying right away! We all read texts a different way, and if you believe that there's something I can improve on in this process, let me know in the contact section of my bio page!
I highly recommend reading all the pages in the following order. This will create a cohesive flow throughout the project:
- Start with the look of the recent hashtag, #FiercelyLatina and how Non-Black Latinas have shown a lack of Blackness in this community, and are not addressing this issue properly.
- Next, read up about everyone's favorite Bronx girl, Cardi B, and how her Afro-Latina presence not only connects with young Black girls, but how she's also shamed and questioned about her Blackness by the Latino community.
- Last, we're going to put it all together, where we think about how Latinas can change these conversations, and create spaces that are not exclusionary of U.S. Afro-Latinas. This will be specifically addressing how we can work together and celebrate Afro-Latinas while creating a real, cohesive Latina community.