How Do You Define Brownness?

Oswald J. Leon

I never really identified with any color. As a teen, I saw myself as a chameleon navigating spaces at will without much hassle.  My yellow undertone made my skin color difficult to pin down.  It can change drastically in a few hours, depending on the time of day and weather.

Some Latinos, despite skin color, are identifying as brown. This brings up some interesting questions about brown’s connection to race and culture. Latinos are one the most diverse people in the world – we are a myriad of races. So, labeling, or perhaps generalizing, Latinos as simply brown doesn’t really work from a racial standpoint. Brown is define, from my understanding, as anyone not black, white, or Asian. It’s an exclusive color we’ve claimed for ourselves but is ultimately handicapped by our various shades; in addition to Latinos being Black, White, Asian, etc. So the question of culture comes into…

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