Why is identifying as a Black Latino/Afro Latino important to you
It’s important to me as an educator and a person with my platform, ex international basketball player from Honduras, to provide representation for the youth and other individuals of black and brown communities in my spaces, Honduras, here in Boston community as well as students of the Boston Public Schools. To identify as an African-Latino means that I honor the people that came before me, represent them appropriately in the present so that the future can carry their identity accordingly. If I dismiss that part of me or even keep it silent, I would be doing an injustice to those who came before me. It is important to inform the future generations for them to understand who they are.
What has been the impact, both positive and negative of people not seeing you as a Black Latino/Afro Latino?
It’s been negative because Africans including other minority groups within the culture are being grouped under one umbrella and not recognizing that under that umbrella that there is diversity. For me it has been mostly negative. In the eyes of the public, when they don’t see me as a Black Latino, it is clear that their perception is limited. So I become invisible due to their ignorance around the idea of Latinidad. Not having the term or the category makes me invisible, as well as my family. In Honduras, I hear this idea of “we are all one”. To further marginalize myself and other minority groups, to fit the perception of the associated term “[email protected]” has been a lifetime struggle. Questions like, “So you speak Spanish?” or comments such as, “you don’t look Spanish” have continuously excluded me even in Latinx spaces. I also then become invisible in Honduras. I am then put in the position to define my own identity.
How do you Amplify/show up in a Latinx world that expects us all to look like J.Lo and Marc Anthony?
It is very difficult to amplify in that context because in the space under that umbrella they do not recognize me. I don’t fit that description so I will always be questioned about my Latinidad. Speaking to the Latinx space, if they continue to not acknowledge it, it will be difficult to stay under this umbrella. I want to say that, in the Latinx world, this space was never created but I hope that the future holds a space for African descendant and indigenous people as the groups have big parts in the creation of the culture that we know of today. To continue this conversations for the sake of progression, what Latinx should look like should not just be represented by Jennifer Lopez or Mark Anthony but also Gina Torres and Laz Alonso.
Message for BHM– First, to honor the accomplishment that people of African descent in the context of the United States. Then to honor the accomplishments of Black people globally in the present, and throughout the history of the world. This time is for ALL African people not just African-Americans. This very much includes you if you are an African Descendent living in Europe or in Chile. The idea has been and should not be restricted to any geographical or political lines. No matter where one is on this planet, this is a time for ALL Africans. The African Descendant woman and men in all countries of the world, should be in our conversations throughout this month, around the accomplishments as they are equally important in the progression of Blackness worldwide. BHM should be celebrated everywhere in the context of the United States and by everyone regardless of race, religion and gender.
BIO: Christopher Flores is currently a graduate student at Boston College and a first year Bilingual Educator in Mathematics at the Rafael Hernandez Dual Language School in Roxbury. Born in Boston, MA to Amanda Flores, whom emigrated from Honduras in the late 80s. Strong ties to Honduras, Chris has always traveled back to Honduras where his mother grew up, even spending extended periods of time throughout his childhood.
A John D. O’Bryant graduate in 2008, Chris was awarded a basketball scholarship to attend prep school in Connecticut to begin a basketball career. Marianapolis prep for a year of basketball and studies before receiving a full athletic scholarship to division 1 New Jersey Institute of Technology in 2009. Graduating in 2013, an opportunity for an NBA tryouts, Chris opted out and moved to Germany to begin a professional career in the sport that he loved since 10 years old. Currently a member of the Honduras National team giving along with younger sibling Marco Banegas-Flores.
As Education is the focal point for Chris, a non profit to bring books to the black and brown communities of Honduras was created (books2liberate.org) as well as basketball camps for the youth to grow basketball in Honduras throughout the summers.
Infusing the two passions of basketball and education to liberate and provide opportunities for black and brown communities globally is the goal.