Editor's Note: The George Zimmerman case has sparked a dialogue in Latino media about racial identity -- and racial attitudes -- among Latinos. But asking if Latinos can be racist is like asking, 'Is the Pope Catholic?' according to an op-ed by Rafael Prieto Zartha in Spanish-language daily La Opinión.  An abbreviated version of the commentary appears below. Read the full op-ed in Spanish.

Translated by Elena Shore, New America Media.


The latest edition of Univision’s Al Punto TV program with Jorge Ramos asked a question that has such an obvious answer, it's like asking: Is the Pope Catholic?

Are Latinos racist? Of course we are.

There are jokes against blacks, against Chinese (encompassing all Asians), against gringos (to make fun of whites). Don't even get me started on jokes about different nationalities.

There are jokes against the Galicians, to make fun of the Spanish.

In Argentina, they make fun of Bolivian, Peruvian and Uruguayan immigrants who've settled there.

In the Andes, racism manifests itself against those of indigenous origin. (The trouble is that the insult is often made by indigenous people themselves who don’t seem to have looked in the mirror.)

In Colombia, where I was born, the way to insult someone is to call him an “indio” (Indian).

In Venezuela, where there was Portuguese, Italian and Spanish immigration, some express prejudice against those of African descent.

In the Caribbean, Dominican dictator Rafael Leónidas Trujillo ordered a massacre of Haitians, claiming that his compatriots should be able to pronounce the Spanish word “perejil” (parsley).

Today on the Internet you can find Dominicans making jokes about Haitians, Puerto Ricans making fun of Dominicans, and Cubans making jokes about Puerto Ricans. The repertoire of well-known comedian Álvarez Guedes includes jokes about black people.

In Costa Rica, they make fun of Nicaraguans.

And verbal confrontations between Mexicans and Central Americans during soccer matches are so vulgar they would make you blush.