Afro-Latinos exist in large numbers in Latin American countries beyond the Caribbean, yet they remain disenfranchised. Colombia is home to 15 million Afro-Latinos yet its most popular stars are fair-skinned (Shakira and Juanes). The aspiration to appear more European is even prevalent in the world's largest beauty pageant--Miss Universe. Even though 18 Latin American countries participated only one contestant appeared to have African ancestry (Miss Dominican Republic).
Many Latinos are still under the Spanish Conquistador's spell--white is better. Our grandparents and even some of our parents encourage us to marry to mejorar la raza (improve the race). Meaning you should marry a white woman to make sure your child is at least has a 50 percent chance to be fair-skinned. Latino men are subconsciously trained to date and marry lighter-skinned women. We hear it in our homes as children and see it on Spanish-language media. For example, telenovelas (Spanish-language soap operas) always have European-looking Latino actors in lead roles while Afro-Latinos are lucky if they grab a role as a maid.
Sosa isn't much different from Juan Doe in Mexico who buys Crema de Belleza-Manning to lighten his skin to attract light-skinned women. In an interview with Univision's Primer Impacto Sosa said, "I want to clarify on your show that I am not a racist person." In between laughs and smirks, Sosa tells the reporter he's going to start to market the skin-lightening cream. When asked if he's rubbed the cream all over his body, Sosa chuckles once again and said, "No, because I only put it on my face not on my whole body. If I did that then I would have a problem. I would have to call 911."
Yet, Sosa's situation isn't a laughing matter.
Jesus Trivino Alarcon is the Senior Online Editor of SITV.COM , the online component to the Latino cable network Si TV.