Comparative Racial Politics in Latin America (First Edition)

Posted in Anthologies, Books, Brazil, Caribbean/Latin America, History, Law, Media Archive, Politics/Public Policy, Social Science, Women on 2018-10-17 18:00Z by Steven

Comparative Racial Politics in Latin America (First Edition)

358 pages
31 B/W Illus.
Paperback: 9781138485303
Hardback: 9781138727021
eBook (VitalSource): 9781315191065

Edited by:

Kwame Dixon, Associate Professor of Political Science
Howard University, Washington, D.C.

Ollie A. Johnson III, Associate Professor of African American Studies
Wayne State University, Detroit, Michigan

Comparative Racial Politics in Latin America: 1st Edition (Paperback) book cover

Latin America has a rich and complex social history marked by slavery, colonialism, dictatorships, rebellions, social movements and revolutions. Comparative Racial Politics in Latin America explores the dynamic interplay between racial politics and hegemonic power in the region. It investigates the fluid intersection of social power and racial politics and their impact on the region’s histories, politics, identities and cultures.

Organized thematically with in-depth country case studies and a historical overview of Afro-Latin politics, the volume provides a range of perspectives on Black politics and cutting-edge analyses of Afro-descendant peoples in the region. Regional coverage includes Argentina, Brazil, Colombia, Cuba, the Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Haiti and more. Topics discussed include Afro-Civil Society; antidiscrimination criminal law; legal sanctions; racial identity; racial inequality and labor markets; recent Black electoral participation; Black feminism thought and praxis; comparative Afro-women social movements; the intersection of gender, race and class, immigration and migration; and citizenship and the struggle for human rights. Recognized experts in different disciplinary fields address the depth and complexity of these issues.

Comparative Racial Politics in Latin America contributes to and builds on the study of Black politics in Latin America.

Table of Contents

  • Introduction: Comparative Racial Politics in Latin America – Black Politics Matter [Kwame Dixon and Ollie A. Johnson III]
  • Part 1: History
    • 1. Beyond Representation: Rethinking Rights, Alliances and Migrations: Three Historical Themes in Afro-Latin American Political Engagement [Darién J. Davis]
    • 2. Recognition, Reparations, and Political Autonomy of Black and Native Communities in the Americas [Bernd Reiter]
    • 3. Pan-Africanism and Latin America [Elisa Larkin Nascimento]
  • Part 2: The Caribbean
    • 4. Black Activism and the State in Cuba [Danielle Pilar Clealand]
    • 5. Correcting Intellectual Malpractice: Haiti and Latin America [Jean-Germain Gros]
    • 6. Black Feminist Formations in the Dominican Republic since La Sentencia [April J. Mayes]
  • Part 3: South America
    • 7. Afro-Ecuadorian Politics [Carlos de la Torre and Jhon Antón Sánchez]
    • 8. In The Branch of Paradise: Geographies of Privilege and Black Social Suffering in Cali, Colombia [Jaime Amparo Alves and Aurora Vergara-Figueroa]
    • 9. The Impossible Black Argentine Political Subject [Judith M. Anderson]
    • 10. Current Representations of “Black” Citizens: Contentious Visibility within the Multicultural Nation [Laura de la Rosa Solano]
  • Part 4: Comparative Perspectives
    • 11. The Contours and Contexts of Afro-Latin American Women’s Activism [Kia Lilly Caldwell]
    • 12. Race and the Law in Latin America [Tanya Katerí Hernández]
    • 13. The Labyrinth of Ethnic-Racial Inequality: a Picture of Latin America according to the recent Census Rounds [Marcelo Paixão and Irene Rossetto]
    • 14. The Millennium/Sustainable Development Goals and Afro-descendants in the Americas: An (Un)intended Trap [Paula Lezama]
  • Conclusion [Kwame Dixon and Ollie A. Johnson III]
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I’m White And Latina, Is That A Problem For You?

Posted in Articles, Autobiography, Latino Studies, Media Archive, United States on 2018-01-28 03:13Z by Steven

I’m White And Latina, Is That A Problem For You?


Tess Garcia

Tess Garcia

My mom is white. My dad is white. I am white, and I am Latina…I think.

Argentina is largely populated by the descendants of white colonists, who came surging in during the late 19th century. According to a 2009 study, the country’s population is approximately 78.5 percent European. That explains how my dad, who was born in the Argentine city of Tunuyán, melds perfectly into the largely Caucasian community he’s spent most of his life in, the one where he raised my siblings and I.

Add a red-haired American mother to the equation, and you’ve got some very, very white kids…

Read the entire article here.

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A Strange Emblem for a (Not So) White Nation: La Morocha Argentina in the Latin American Racial Context, c. 1900–2015

Posted in Articles, Caribbean/Latin America, History, Media Archive, Women on 2016-06-07 01:00Z by Steven

A Strange Emblem for a (Not So) White Nation: La Morocha Argentina in the Latin American Racial Context, c. 1900–2015

Journal of Social History
DOI: 10.1093/jsh/shw018
First published online: 2016-06-01

Ezequiel Adamovsky

This article explores the origins of La morocha argentina as an unofficial national emblem, the personification of the quintessential Argentinean woman, from its emergence in the early twentieth century to the present. A typical character of vernacular popular culture, the Argentinean “morocha” is compared to the “morenas” featured in other Latin American countries, to find similarities and differences. The racial uncertainty of the “morochas”—who, unlike the “morenas,” were not always marked as being of dark complexion—helped undermine the official discourses of the Argentinean nation, which described it as racially white and ethnically European. The ambivalence of the “morocha argentina” was crucial in contexts in which open challenges of that myth were still unfeasible. Thus, despite claims of racial exceptionalism, the making and trajectory of this emblem proves that Argentina’s racial regime is a variant of the Latin American “color-continuum” racial formations. By analyzing the Argentinean case in comparative perspective, this article also seeks to contribute to a better understanding of nonbinary racial models and, more generally, of ethnicity “beyond groupism”—to put it in Roger Brubaker’s terms. In other words, it aims to reconsider ethnicity as a process, the outcome of group-making projects, rather than (only) as the expression of preexisting ethnic entities.

Read or purchase the article here.

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Argentina Rediscovers Its African Roots

Posted in Anthropology, Caribbean/Latin America, History, Media Archive, Religion, Slavery on 2014-09-15 01:47Z by Steven

Argentina Rediscovers Its African Roots

The New York Times

Michael T. Luongo

The chapel in the small lakeside resort community of Chascomús is at best underwhelming. Its whitewashed brick exterior is partly obstructed by a tangle of vines and bushes, and its dim, one-room interior is no more majestic than its facade. Wooden pews and an uneven dirt floor are scarcely illuminated by sunlight from a single window. The gray, cracked, dusty walls are adorned with crosses, photos, icons — things people leave to mark their pilgrimage. A low front altar is layered with thick candle wax, flowers and a pantheon of black saints, Madonnas and African deities like the sea goddess Yemanja of the Yoruba religion.

Despite its unkempt state, this chapel, the Capilla de los Negros, attracts a little over 11,000 tourists each year who come to see a church named for the freed slaves who built it in 1861.

The chapel is “where we can locate ourselves and point out the truth that we are here,” said Soledad Luis, an Afro-Argentine from the tourism office who led me through the space. She knows it well. It sits on a plot her great-grandfather helped secure, and her family still gathers there weekly for a meal.

Capilla de los Negros feels off the beaten path, but it is part of a list of slave sites in Argentina created in 2009 by Unesco. Its inclusion signals the growing consciousness of African heritage in Argentina, seemingly the most Europeanized country in South America.

Argentina at one time had a robust African presence because of the slaves who were brought there, but its black population was decimated by myriad factors including heavy casualties on the front lines in the War of the Triple Alliance against Paraguay in the 1860s; a yellow fever epidemic that rich, white Argentines largely escaped; and interracial offspring who, after successive generations, shed their African culture along with their features. And European immigration swelled the white population — 2.27 million Italians came between 1861 and 1914.

The demographic shift has been sharp. In 1800, on the eve of revolution with Spain, blacks made up more than a third of the country, 69,000 of a total population of 187,000, according to George Reid Andrews’s 2004 book “Afro-Latin America.” In 2010, 150,000 identified themselves as Afro-Argentine, or a mere 0.365 percent of a population of 41 million people, according to the census, the first in the country’s history that counted race.

But the culture the slaves brought with them remained. And in recent years, Argentina has gone from underselling its African roots to rediscovering them, as academics, archaeologists, immigrants and a nascent civil rights movement have challenged the idea that African and Argentine are mutually exclusive terms…

Read the entire article here.

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African ancestry of the population of Buenos Aires

Posted in Anthropology, Articles, Caribbean/Latin America, Media Archive on 2013-06-21 03:29Z by Steven

African ancestry of the population of Buenos Aires

American Journal of Physical Anthropology
Volume 128, Issue 1
pages 164–170, September 2005
DOI: 10.1002/ajpa.20083

Laura Fejerman
Institute of Biological Anthropology
University of Oxford

Francisco R. Carnese
Sección Antropología Biológica
Instituto de Ciencias Antropológicas
Facultad de Filosofía y Letras
Universidad de Buenos Aires

Alicia S. Goicoechea
Sección Antropología Biológica
Instituto de Ciencias Antropológicas
Facultad de Filosofía y Letras
Universidad de Buenos Aires

Sergio A. Avena
Sección Antropología Biológica
Instituto de Ciencias Antropológicas
Facultad de Filosofía y Letras
Universidad de Buenos Aires

Cristina B. Dejean
Sección Antropología Biológica
Instituto de Ciencias Antropológicas
Facultad de Filosofía y Letras
Universidad de Buenos Aires

Ryk H. Ward (1943-2003)
Institute of Biological Anthropology
University of Oxford

The population of Argentina today does not have a “visible” black African component. However, censuses conducted during most of the 19th century registered up to 30% of individuals of African origin living in Buenos Aires city. What has happened to this African influence? Have all individuals of African origin died, as lay people believe? Or is it possible that admixture with the European immigrants made the African influence “invisible?” We investigated the African contribution to the genetic pool of the population of Buenos Aires, Argentina, typing 12 unlinked autosomal DNA markers in a sample of 90 individuals. The results of this analysis suggest that 2.2% (SEM = 0.9%) of the genetic ancestry of the Buenos Aires population is derived from Africa. Our analysis of individual admixture shows that those alleles that have a high frequency in populations of African origin tend to concentrate among 8 individuals in our sample. Therefore, although the admixture estimate is relatively low, the actual proportion of individuals with at least some African influence is approximately 10%. The evidence we are presenting of African ancestry is consistent with the known historical events that led to the drastic reduction of the Afro-Argentine population during the second half of the 19th century. However, as our results suggest, this reduction did not mean a total disappearance of African genes from the genetic pool of the Buenos Aires population.

Read or purchase the article here.

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In Buenos Aires, Researchers Exhume Long-Unclaimed African Roots

Posted in Anthropology, Articles, Caribbean/Latin America, History, Media Archive, Social Science on 2013-06-17 01:21Z by Steven

In Buenos Aires, Researchers Exhume Long-Unclaimed African Roots

The Washington Post

Monte Reel

BUENOS AIRES — Their disappearance is one of Argentina’s most enduring mysteries. In 1810, black residents accounted for about 30 percent of the population of Buenos Aires. By 1887, however, their numbers had plummeted to 1.8 percent.

So where did they go? The answer, it turns out, is nowhere.

Popular myth has offered two historical hypotheses: a yellow fever epidemic in 1871 that devastated black urban neighborhoods, and a brutal war with Paraguay in the 1860s that put many black Argentines on the front lines.

But two new studies are challenging those old notions, using distinct methods: a door-to-door census to determine how many Argentines consider themselves black, and an analysis of DNA samples to detect traces of African ancestry in those who consider themselves white.

The results are only partially compiled, but they suggest that many of the black Argentines did not vanish; they just faded into the mixed-race populace and became lost to demography. According to some researchers, as many as 10 percent of Buenos Aires residents are partly descended from black Argentines but have no idea.

“People for years have accepted the idea that there are no black people in Argentina,” said Miriam Gomes, a professor of literature at the University of Buenos Aires who is part black and considers herself Afro-Argentine. “Even the schoolbooks here accepted this as a fact. But where did that leave me?”…

…”Argentina was interested in presenting itself as a white country,” said George Reid Andrews, a history professor at the University of Pittsburgh who has specialized in black history in Latin America. “Its ideologues and writers put a great emphasis on the yellow fever epidemic and the war, and it was feasible to pretend that the black population had simply disappeared as immigration exploded.” …

… But personal definitions do not count when analyzing DNA, which is what a group of scientists from the University of Buenos Aires and Oxford University in England did earlier this year. After collecting blood samples at a local hospital, they searched for genetic markers that indicate African ancestry. The results, to be published this year in the American Journal of Physical Anthropology, suggested that 10 percent of those who identified themselves as white were, in part, descendants of black Argentines.

“A lot of people were very surprised by this,” said Francisco R. Carnese, a geneticist at the University of Buenos Aires and co-author of the study. “When you walk around Buenos Aires, you don’t see signs of African ancestry. But you see it in the genes.” ..

Read the entire article here.

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Blackout: How Argentina ‘Eliminated’ Africans From Its History And Conscience

Posted in Articles, Caribbean/Latin America, History, Media Archive, Slavery, Social Science on 2013-06-17 00:27Z by Steven

Blackout: How Argentina ‘Eliminated’ Africans From Its History And Conscience

International Business Times
New York, New York

Palash Ghosh, Senior Writer, World

Tens of millions of black Africans were forcibly removed from their homelands from the 16th century to the 19th century to toil on the plantations and farms of the New World. This so-called “Middle Passage” accounted for one of the greatest forced migrations of people in human history, as well as one of the greatest tragedies the world has ever witnessed.

Millions of these helpless Africans washed ashore in Brazil—indeed, in the present-day, roughly one-half of the Brazilian population trace their lineage directly to Africa. African culture has imbued Brazil permanently and profoundly, in terms of music, dance, food and in many other tangible ways.

But what about Brazil’s neighbor, Argentina? Hundreds of thousands of Africans were brought there as well—yet, the black presence in Argentina has virtually vanished from the country’s records and consciousness…

…But blacks did not really vanish from Argentina – despite attempts by the government to eliminate them (partially by encouraging large-scale immigration in the late 19th and 20th century from Europe and the Near East). Rather, they remain a hidden and forgotten part of Argentine society.

Hishaam Aidi, a lecturer at Columbia University’s School of International and Public Affairs, wrote on Planete Afrique that in the 1950s, when the black American entertainer Josephine Baker arrived in Argentina, she asked the mixed-race minister of public health, Ramón Carilio: “Where are the Negroes?” In response, Carilio joked: “There are only two—you and I.”

As in virtually all Latin American societies where blacks mixed with whites and with local Indians, the question of race is extremely complex and contentious.

“People of mixed ancestry are often not considered ‘black’ in Argentina, historically, because having black ancestry was not considered proper,” said Alejandro Frigerio, an anthropologist at the Universidad Catolica de Buenos Aires, according to Planete Afrique.

“Today the term ‘negro’ is used loosely on anyone with slightly darker skin, but they can be descendants of indigenous Indians [or] Middle Eastern immigrants.”

AfricaVive, a black empowerment group founded in Buenos Aires in the late 1990s, claimed that there are 1 million Argentines of black African descent in the country (out of a total population of about 41 million). A report in the Washington Post even suggested that 10 percent of Buenos Aires’ population may have African blood (even if they are classified as “whites” by the census).

“People for years have accepted the idea that there are no black people in Argentina,” Miriam Gomes, a professor of literature at the University of Buenos Aires, who is part black herself, told the Post.

“Even the schoolbooks here accepted this as a fact. But where did that leave me?”

She also explained that almost no one in Argentina with black blood in their veins will admit to it.

“Without a doubt, racial prejudice is great in this society, and people want to believe that they are white,” she said. “Here, if someone has one drop of white blood, they call themselves white.“…

Read the entire article here.

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New Latin American pope Jorge Mario Bergoglio not a person of color?

Posted in Anthropology, Articles, Caribbean/Latin America, Latino Studies, Media Archive, Religion on 2013-03-21 19:47Z by Steven

New Latin American pope Jorge Mario Bergoglio not a person of color?

New York Amsterdam News
New York, New York

Courtenay Brown, Special to the AmNews

The installation of Jorge Mario Bergoglio as Pope Francis I on March 13 caused a stir of questions regarding his race. Yes, he was the first pope from Latin America, but should he be considered the first pope of color?

By definition, a “person of color” is an all-encompassing, typically American term that categorizes non-whites, which include Asians, Indians, Native Americans, Blacks and Latinos.

This classification may work in the U.S., but it does not function so well in Latin America. According to a study by the Yale-New Haven Teachers Institute, 31.4 percent of immigrants to Argentina came from Spain, while 44.9 percent came from Italy from 1857 to 1940. This helps quantify just how many immigrants came from these specific countries as opposed to other places in Europe.

Pope Francis’ own parents were immigrants to Argentina. Since the children of two Italian citizens are legally regarded as Italian no matter where they are born, according to Italian legal tradition, Pope Francis is technically regarded as Italian.

According to Argentina native Martin Pereyra, a law student at the University of Buenos Aires, many Argentines would not identify as people of color because of the great deal of European influence in the country. The country is often even nicknamed the “Paris of South America.”

“I don’t think we have just one ‘color,’” Pereyra said. “But at the same time, we are considered Latinos.”…

…So while prescribing to a single “race” is far from a universal concept for the Latino community, Raúl Hinojosa-Ojeda, professor in the Chávez Department of Chicano/a Studies at the University of Central Los Angeles (UCLA), believes that Bergoglio should be considered Latino and thus a person of color—despite the pope’s Italian roots. According to Hinojosa-Ojeda, using lineage to determine who is Latino would “eliminate a large part of Latin America and a lot of Latinos,” he told LA Weekly last week.

“More important is the experience, not the genetic background,” he continued…

Read the entire article here.

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Argentina: Land of the Vanishing Blacks

Posted in Anthropology, Articles, Caribbean/Latin America, Media Archive, Social Science on 2012-09-22 19:55Z by Steven

Argentina: Land of the Vanishing Blacks

Ebony Magazine
October 1973
pages 74-85

Era Bell Thompson

Once outnumbering whites five to one, blacks were absorbed and inundated by massive immigration

“If you are looking for black people, why,” they asked helpfully, “did you come to Argentina? Why don’t you go to Brazil?”

Well, I had been to Brazil (Ebony July, September 1965), the “most mulatto” nation in South America, hopefully in the process of becoming white through amalgamation. Now I was in Argentina where massive European immigration was the catalyst that converted an erstwhile mixed-blood people into the whitest nation on the continent.

I had read that there were no more blacks in that Spanish-speaking country. But I had also heard rumors of a small black colony in Buenos Aires, the capital. So what happened to Argentina’s involuntary immigrants, those African slaves and their mulatto descendants who once outnumbered whites five to one, and who were for 250 years “an important element” in the total populations which is now 97 percent white? Had they been entirely absorbed by, or simply inundated in successive waves of the new Argentines?

What I found was not a viable, but a vanishing black people: relatively few in numbers, relatively free of racial discrimination and relatively content. Summarized one gentleman, “If there were more of us, perhaps it would be different.”

The white Argentine, who is overwhelmingly of Italian and Spanish descent, doubts there ever were many blacks in their section of the old Rio de la Plata viceroyalty and are unaware of those still within their midst. The ranks of the few slaves channeled into the port of Buenos Aires, they believe, were decimated largely by disease and war. The survivors who did not emigrate to neighboring countries were absorbed by the mestizos.

The question of what happened to Argentine blacks is not a new one. Ysabel P. Rennie, author of the book. The Argentine Republic, calls it “one of the most intriguing riddles of Argentine history.” In his book, Argentina, a City and a Nation, James R. Scobie says “the disappearance of the Negro from the Argentine scene has puzzled demographers far more than the vanishing Indian.”

When Josephine Baker visited the country during Juan Peron’s first term as president, the entertainer asked Dr. Ramon Carrillo, mulatto minister of public health, “Where are the Negroes?”

“There are only two,” he laughingly replied. “You and I.”

My first impressions of Buenos Aires were: the man was right. In Buenos Aires, the city, and Buenos Aires province, where the preponderance of the entire population is found. Afro-Argentines, especially the fair-skinned ones, and not easily distinguishable from Latin-type whites. And then there is a matter of definitions. The terms Negro and mulatto are still used, but with slightly different connotations. Negro (small ‘n’) is the Spanish word for black. It took me some time to get used to hearing négro sprinkled throughout conversations that had nothing to do with race. Mulatto (or moreno) is an African-Spanish mixture, as differentiated from mestizo, which technically means only Spanish-Indian, but more often than Argentines care to admit, includes an admixture of black blood. Zambo (not Sambo) means African-Indian, but the term—if not the practice which produced it—has been discontinued, as have the names of two social classes: the gaucho, now cowboy, and cabecitas négras, or little black heads, as people fresh in from the provinces were once called. A Creole is an Argentine-born white.

When I posed Josephine Baker’s question, the average creole could recall only a doorman here or a porter there. Brown people who were not mestizos were Brazilian tourists. A secretary in a government office said she was 16 before she saw a black man. Fortunately, I did not have to wait that long…

Read the entire article here.

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Posted in Anthropology, Articles, Caribbean/Latin America, Census/Demographics, History, Media Archive, Slavery, Social Science on 2012-09-22 17:19Z by Steven


The Argentina Independent

Laura Balfour

As a descendant of two slaves, Maria Lamadrid has a hard time biting her tongue when airport officials think her Argentine passport is not real because ‘there are no blacks in Argentina’.
And that was in 2002.
The 25th of March marks the landmark 200th anniversary of the 1807 Abolition of the Slave Trade Act. Though the trade continued after this date, it marked the beginning of the end of the transatlantic trafficking of Africans.
Ms Lamadrid is fighting to alter the common belief that all blacks who live in Argentina are foreigners. In 1997 she founded Africa Vive, a non-governmental organisation that defends the rights of African descendants. Today, she claims, there are 2m Afroargentines in Argentina.
Ms Lamadrid and Miriam Gomez, a history professor at the University of Buenos Aires, have dedicated themselves wholly to the NGO’s cause because “there is so much to do and very few people to do it.”…

…Africa Vive has requested that a separate category for African descendants be reintroduced in the 2010 census. Ms Lamadrid said the most frustrating thing is that there used to be one: 1887 was the final year that Afroargentines were recognised in the census; the results showed that 2% of the residents of Buenos Aires were of African descent at that time. She added that indigenous people, who have also suffered discrimination, have their own category because they have more support…

Read the entire article here.

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