“I see a lot of little, short, dark people. I was like ‘I don’t know where these people are from.’ I don’t know what village they came from…how they got here? Tan feos (they’re ugly).”

That was former Los Angeles City Council President Nury Martinez disparaging the immigrants from Oaxaca, the descendants from the Olmec peoples who were the first civilization to inhabit the Western Hemisphere.

The now infamous meeting went on to attack Los Angeles District Attorney George Gascon: “He’s with the Blacks,” or more loosely termed, a “nig*er lover.”

Latino immigrants — particularly those from recent immigrant families — often hold negative views of African-Americans, which they most likely brought with them from their more-segregated Latin American countries. A Duke University study looked at the delicate issue and found that sharing neighborhoods with African-Americans (i.e. South Los Angeles) has only reinforced Latino’s negative views and augments their feelings that they have “more in common with Whites” — although the study found that Whites do not feel the same connection with Latinos.

The aforementioned dislike of “ugly dark people” may stem from the circumstance when Latinos enter the U.S., their racial baggage often comes with them. Hence the Olmec. The oldest civilization known in the Americas was of Black Africoid origin and flourished in Southern Mexico from around 1600 BCE to roughly 400 BCE. This civilization existed long before the arrival of the so-called “red” Indians (e.g. Inca, Maya, Aztec).

Nearly 60 million Latinos reside in the United States, most of whom can trace their heritages back to Latin America and the Caribbean. A 2016 Pew Research Center survey reported that nearly one-fourth of all U.S. Latinos identify as Afro-Latino or Afro-Caribbean or of African descent with roots in Latin America.

At the time of the Europeans arrival in Central and South America in the 15th Century, descendants of the Black Olmecs abounded throughout the region…especially in Mexico.

“The almost extinction of the original Negroes during the time of the Spanish Conquest and the memories of them in the most ancient traditions induce us to believe that the Negroes were the first inhabitants of Mexico,” stated the famous historian and ethnologist Niccolas Leon in “Historica General De Mexico” from 1919. 

In his day he helped to organize the Oaxaca Museum to better record the history of the indigenous people. Leon’s research would reveal that the Maya (southeast Mexico) are descendants of the Olmec.

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