Jaquira Díaz

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Jaquira Diaz at the 2019 Texas Book Festival

Jaquira Díaz is a Puerto Rican fiction writer, essayist, journalist, cultural critic.


  • I was in a state of rage, also. I was so angry and I couldn't really explain why. I didn't have the language for it. And so I turned to what I knew, I remembered the kind of woman my mother had been — in a lot of ways, I was acting out, I was performing the same thing.
  • I hadn't been there in a very long time, because everyone who's ever lived there who has been lucky enough to get out knows that you don't go back. And I did go back, and I wanted to get a look at our house. I went back to my old elementary school, and I walked around and then, while I was there, a boy — this is very emotional, but a boy on a bike came up to my car and told me to leave. Basically approached me and said I didn't belong there. And I told him I used to live there, I grew up there and that I know my way around. And he was like "No, you have to leave. You don't belong here." But the truth is that I don't. As much as I love El Caserío and as much as it feels like home, it's not my place anymore.
  • The world isn’t kind to black and brown girls, or black and brown women, especially when they come from working-class communities or from poverty. My girls taught me that it’s possible to make our own families, to find our families. They helped me believe in love and friendship and hope. But more than anything, after they had girls of their own, it was their girls who taught me the most important lessons: they helped me see the girl I was…
  • Because of anti-blackness in the United States and Latin America, most of us are either hyper-visible or invisible, or both simultaneously. So many people I’ve had conversations with don’t even know that Latinxs are not a race or that black people exist in Puerto Rico (and throughout all of Latin America) and that we don’t all look exactly the same. As a light-skinned black Boricua, I’m often read as racially ambiguous, and because of colorism, I benefit from my proximity to whiteness. I think it’s our responsibility (those of us who benefit from light-skinned privilege or racial ambiguity or whiteness) to have a reckoning with race, to do the work to actively address institutional racism, as well as racism and colorism in our everyday lives, not just in the public eye. Otherwise, we are complicit.

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