In certain circles in Los Angeles, you can get tarred and feathered for merely whispering about stereotypes. So imagine my shock (and truth be told, curious delight, because after all this is why I expatriated, to revel in what I like to call the jolt of being not-home) when I spotted a little brand called Negrita in the aisles of my local Coto. I just had to buy a Negrita anything so I could stare into its awesomeness: the charcoal skin smeared with thin, white dust, and those fantastically engorged ruby red lips.
The Negrita brand. It's just the Argentines’ way of worshipping the exotic, no? When I asked my Spanish teacher why her fellow countrymen had such a penchant for black caricatures, she replied nonplussed, "because we don't see a lot of them walking around." Duh!
So imagine my giddiness--the kind that sneaks up on you when you know you're about to do something naughty--when not too long after this sighting, I happened upon a bakery in Palermo full of negrito fudge balls. There they were on display, a whole tray of googly eyes. How could I refuse such cuteness? Trust me, dear readers, they were muy deliciosos and with nary a touch of dulce de leche, making them a dessert anomaly here.
My flippancy aside, the reason negrito fudge balls can exist here, whereas in the US such a bakery would be deemed the scene of a hate crime, is that for the most part black latinos just aren't present. Thus, we're left with an age-old sugary koan ... if there's an offensive tasty snack in a bakery but no black people to object to it, does it make it racist?