Mexico Finally Recognized Its Black Citizens, But That’s Just The Beginning

Posted in Anthropology, Articles, Caribbean/Latin America, Census/Demographics, History, Media Archive, Mexico on 2016-02-04 02:03Z by Steven

Mexico Finally Recognized Its Black Citizens, But That’s Just The Beginning

The Huffington Post
2016-01-27

Krithika Varagur
Associate Editor, What’s Working

In Mexico, like everywhere, identity is complex.

Last month, for the first time ever, the Mexican government recognized its 1.38 million citizens of African descent in a national survey. The survey served as a preliminary count before the 2020 national census, where “black” will debut as an official category.

A major force behind the government’s recognition was México Negro, an activist group founded in 1997 by Sergio Peñaloza Pérez, a school teacher of African descent. México Negro works for, among other initiatives, the constitutional recognition of Afro-Mexicans and to increase the visibility of Afro-Mexican culture.

The Huffington Post recently caught up with Peñaloza to discuss his organization, why recognition matters and what’s next for black Mexicans…

Why Has It Taken So Long?

Until last month, Mexico was one of only two Latin-American countries (the other is Chile) to not officially count its black population. As a result, the move to recognize Afro-Mexicans has been met with some pushback from Mexicans who believe that mestizo identity (the mix between indigenous people and Europeans) is more important than specific ethnicities.

Mexico’s post-revolutionary government made a conscious effort to create a national mixed-race identity that melded Hispanic, indigenous and African ethnicities. Article 2 of Mexico’s 1917 Constitution recognized its “multicultural composition,” and today, over 60% of Mexicans identify as mestizos. So in modern Mexico, “blackness” is still a tenuous identity, and many use labels like “criollo” (creole) or “moreno” rather than the ones black Mexicans tend to prefer. Peñaloza, for instance, describes himself as “afrodescendiente (of African descent), negro (black), or afromexicano (Afro-Mexican).”…

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Mexico ‘discovers’ 1.4 million black Mexicans—they just had to ask

Posted in Articles, Caribbean/Latin America, Census/Demographics, History, Media Archive, Mexico on 2015-12-19 03:40Z by Steven

Mexico ‘discovers’ 1.4 million black Mexicans—they just had to ask

Fusion
2015-12-15

Rafa Fernandez De Castro

For the first time in its history, Mexico’s census bureau has recognized the country’s black population in a national survey that found there are approximately 1.4 million citizens (1.2% of the population) who self-identify as “Afro-Mexican” or “Afro-descendant.”

The survey found that more women identify as black than men, by about 705,000 to 677,000. It also found that most Afro-Mexicans live in the states of Guerrero, Oaxaca and Veracruz, which is not entirely unsurprising given Mexico’s history.

Miguel Cervera, director general of sociodemographic statistics for the country’s census bureau (known as INEGI), told Fusion the 2015 survey is a preliminary effort to register demographic changes in preparation for the 2020 national census. He says Afro-Mexicans have always been included in past surveys, but were never given the option to identify themselves as such…

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Mariage et métissage dans les sociétés coloniales: Amériques, Afrique et Iles de l’Océan Indien (XVIe–XXe–siècles) (Marriage and misgeneration [miscegenation?] in colonial societies: Americas, Africa and islands of the Indian ocean (XVIth–XXth centuries))

Posted in Africa, Anthologies, Books, Brazil, Canada, Caribbean/Latin America, Health/Medicine/Genetics, Media Archive, Mexico, Oceania, United States on 2015-12-13 02:31Z by Steven

Mariage et métissage dans les sociétés coloniales: Amériques, Afrique et Iles de l’Océan Indien (XVIe–XXe–siècles) (Marriage and misgeneration [miscegenation?] in colonial societies: Americas, Africa and islands of the Indian ocean (XVIth–XXth centuries))

Peter Lang
2015
357 pages
Softcover ISBN: 978-3-0343-1605-7

Edited by:

Guy Brunet, Vice President
Société de Démographie Historique, Paris, France
also: Professor of History, University Lyon

La conquête de vastes empires coloniaux par les puissances européennes, suivie par des mouvements migratoires d’ampleur variable selon les territoires et les époques, a donné naissance à de nouvelles sociétés. Les principaux groupes humains, indigènes, sous différentes appellations, colons d’origine européenne et leurs descendants, et parfois esclaves arrachés au continent africain, se sont mélangés parfois rapidement et avec une forte intensité, parfois plus tardivement ou marginalement. Les unions, officialisées par des mariages ou restées consensuelles, provoqué l’apparition de nouvelles générations métisses et ainsi qu’un phénomène de créolisation. L’effectif de chacun de ces groupes humains, et l’existence éventuelle de barrières entre eux, ont produit des degrés de métissage très divers que les administrateurs des sociétés coloniales ont tenté de classifier. Les seize textes réunis dans cet ouvrage abordent la manière dont les populations se sont mélangées, ainsi que la position des métis dans les nouvelles sociétés. Ces questions sont abordées dans une perspective de long terme, du XVIe au XXe siècle, et à propos de nombreux territoires, du Canada à la Bolivie, des Antilles à Madagascar, de l’Algérie à l’Angola.

The conquest of large colonial empires by European powers, followed by migratory flows, more or less important depending on places and periods, gave birth to new societies. The most important human groups, indigenous, European born settlers and their descendants, and sometimes slaves snatched from the African continent, mixed, more or less early, more or less intensely. Unions, legally registered or not, and misgeneration [miscegenation?] lead to the appearance of mixed-blood generations and to a process of creolisation. The numerical strength of these human groups, and the existence of barriers between them, produced various degrees of misgeneration that the authorities of the colonial societies tried to identify and to classify. The sixteen texts gathered in this book study the way that these populations got mixed, and the place of mixed-blood people in the new societies. These issues are tackled in a long-term perspective, about various territories, from Canada to Bolivia, from the French West Indies to Madagascar, from Algeria to Angola.

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1.38 Million Afro-Descendants Are Identified on the Mexican Census for the First Time

Posted in Anthropology, Articles, Caribbean/Latin America, Census/Demographics, Media Archive, Mexico on 2015-12-13 01:52Z by Steven

1.38 Million Afro-Descendants Are Identified on the Mexican Census for the First Time

Remezcla
2015-12-10

Yara Simón

Since the 1910 Mexican Revolution, Mexico’s national identity has been defined by mestizaje – a term that recognizes mixed racial ancestry of the New World after colonization. But although Mexico’s African presence was considerable from the start of colonization, this “third root” is often excluded from classic views of mestizaje, which focus on indigenous and European ancestries.

For over 15 years, Afro-Mexicans have been been trying to remedy this by pushing for formal recognition in Mexico’s national constitution. Currently, Mexico and Chile are the only countries in Latin America that don’t legally recognize their Afro-descendants as distinct ethnic groups, which activists believe contributes to fight anti-Black racism.

And this year, a group of activists claimed a victory on the path to this recognition. Afro-Mexican advocacy organization Mexico Negro successfully fought for Afro-Mexicans to be included on the national census. According to Quartz, this year was the first time that people of African descent were able to accurately identify themselves on the census, revealing that 1.2 percent of Mexicans – 1.38 million people – are of African descent…

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Leaving to learn

Posted in Articles, Biography, Campus Life, Caribbean/Latin America, History, Media Archive, Mexico, Passing, Slavery, United States on 2015-12-03 02:37Z by Steven

Leaving to learn

Columbia Daily Spectator
2015-12-02

Claire Liebmann


Courtesy of Karl Jacoby

Several years ago while browsing newspaper clippings online, Karl Jacoby, a history professor at Columbia, came across the story of William Ellis—a Texan slave who built a million dollar fortune while posing as a Mexican millionaire in New York, essentially hacking the system of American expansionism and oppression.

Tracking Ellis as he took on different names and personas was difficult: Ellis deliberately introduced falsehoods into the historical record to ensure that his racial passing was accepted by the broader society, but Jacoby stuck with it. Years later, this chance encounter with Ellis’ story would come to drive his personal historical research. Undertaking a yearlong leave of absence, he pursued his interest in reclaiming untold narratives, working on his book The Strange Career of William Ellis: The Texas Slave Who Became a Mexican Millionaire.

Jacoby’s academic career is driven by his interest in complicating comfortable historical narratives. This process of reinvention and rediscovery depends on another kind of separation from the establishment: Jacoby’s reliance on his leave of absence as a means of promoting academic innovation…

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National Affairs: Who Would Be King

Posted in Arts, Biography, Caribbean/Latin America, Media Archive, Mexico, Passing, Slavery, United States on 2015-12-02 22:39Z by Steven

National Affairs: Who Would Be King

Time
1923-10-08

Word came to the U. S. that William Henry Ellis, who preferred to style himself Guillermo Enrique Eliseo, died in Mexico City. Mr. Ellis was one of the most remarkable men who ever acted as agent for the State Department. He was known chiefly for the famous incident in which he delivered a commercial Treaty from this country to King Menelik of Abyssinia. But his unusual history began much earlier.

He was born in Victoria, Tex., in 1864 and claimed to be of Cuban parentage, on account of which he used the Spanish form of…

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The Strange Career of William Ellis: The Texas Slave Who Became a Mexican Millionaire

Posted in Biography, Books, Caribbean/Latin America, Forthcoming Media, History, Mexico, Monographs, Passing, Slavery, United States on 2015-12-02 22:29Z by Steven

The Strange Career of William Ellis: The Texas Slave Who Became a Mexican Millionaire

W. W. Norton & Company
June 2016
368 pages
6.1 × 9.3 in
Hardcover ISBN: 978-0-393-23925-6

Karl Jacoby, Professor of History
Columbia University, New York, New York

A prize-winning historian tells a new story of the black experience in America through the life of a mysterious entrepreneur.

A black child born in the twilight of slavery, William Henry Ellis inhabited a world of fraught, ambiguous racial categories on the anarchic border between the United States and Mexico. He adopted the name Guillermo Enrique Eliseo and passed as a Mexican: traveling as Hispanic in first-class train berths, staying in the finest hotels, and eating in leading restaurants. A shrewd businessman, he became fabulously wealthy and found himself involved in scandalous trials, unexpected disappearances, and diplomatic controversies. Constantly switching identities, Eliseo was a genius at identifying and exploiting the porousness of the color line and the border line.

Through Ellis’s picaresque biography, Karl Jacoby presents an intriguing narrative set in a secret and ever-changing world. The Strange Career of William Ellis reinterprets the borderlands, showing how U.S. and Mexican histories intertwined during Reconstruction, and he offers new insight into the arbitrary and evolving definitions of race in America.

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Afro-Mexicans Are Pushing For Legal Recognition in Mexico’s National Constitution

Posted in Anthropology, Articles, Caribbean/Latin America, Census/Demographics, Law, Media Archive, Mexico on 2015-11-12 02:39Z by Steven

Afro-Mexicans Are Pushing For Legal Recognition in Mexico’s National Constitution

Remezcla
2015-11-09

Walter Thompson-Hernández
Los Angeles, California

The myth of the Latin American racial democracy, scholars believe, began in Brazil following the abolishment of slavery in 1888, when government officials declared that high rates of racial mixing had officially absolved the nation of its racial problems. This thinking eventually transcended Brazil and spread to a host of other Latin America countries, including Mexico.

But Mexico had its own nuanced understanding of the Latin American racial democracy – one called mestizaje, that was created by government officials, intellectuals, and artists following the 1910 Mexican Revolution: the erroneous belief that Mexico’s ethnic and racial mixture was solely composed of indigenous and European ancestry. This was also a time period when Mexico’s citizenry began to believe that “Mexicanness” and blackness were mutually exclusive and could not co-exist. Mestizaje, however, did not only exclude blackness from its national patrimony, but also left out a host of other racial identities from Mexico’s conversation about race…

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Black Mexico: The African Roots in Mexico

Posted in Caribbean/Latin America, History, Live Events, Media Archive, Mexico, United States on 2015-10-27 20:17Z by Steven

Black Mexico: The African Roots in Mexico

Western Connecticut State University
Student Center Theater
181 White Street
Danbury, Connecticut
Wednesday, 2015-10-28, 10:50 EDT (Local Time)

Gloria Arjona, Lecturer in Spanish
California Institute of Technology, Pasadena

In Celebration of Hispanic Heritage Month

Dr. Gloria Arjona, a lecturer at CalTech Pasadena and University of Southern California, will present a live music and multimedia lecture about “Black Mexico: The African Roots in Mexico” at 10:50 a.m. in the Student Center Theater on the WCSU Midtown campus, 181 White St. in Danbury. This Hispanic Heritage Month event will be free and the public is invited.

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Blackness and Mestizaje in Mexico and Central America

Posted in Anthologies, Books, Caribbean/Latin America, History, Media Archive, Mexico, Social Science on 2015-10-27 17:58Z by Steven

Blackness and Mestizaje in Mexico and Central America

Africa World Press
2013
176 pages
ISBN: 978-1592219339

Edited by:

Elisabeth Cunin, Sociologist
Institut de Recherche pour le Développement, France

Odile Hoffmann, Geographer
Institut de Recherche pour le Développement, France

American configurations, because of their originality, force us to adopt plural visions, toward the margins, with particular emphasis on situations of mixtures and ambiguous categories (Afro-indigenous, creoles, mestizos), multiple belongings (national and transnational), or seemingly contradictory practices (black culture without black people, mobilization without ethnic claims).

Beyond the ideal of a homogenized citizenship produced by mestizaje, there are complex social dynamics based on difference and indifference, stigmatization and fascination, homogenization and othering. We believe that mestizaje is not only a “myth” and multiculturalism a “challenge” to it. The essays in this book investigate the different processes of racialization, ethnicization, and negotiation of the belongings that characterize mestizaje as multiculturalism.

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