Pardo is the New Black: The Urban Origins of Argentina’s Myth of Black Disappearance

Posted in Articles, Caribbean/Latin America, History, Media Archive, Politics/Public Policy on 2021-08-02 14:33Z by Steven

Pardo is the New Black: The Urban Origins of Argentina’s Myth of Black Disappearance

Global Urban History
2016-12-19

Erika Edwards, Associate Professor of History
University of North Carolina, Charlotte


Bernardino Rivadavia, Argentina’s first president (1826-27) was nicknamed “Doctor Chocolate.” Painting by Mirta Toledo, 2013

It was a typical day, nothing out of the ordinary. I, a young, small-town girl had landed in a foreign country to begin my study abroad. I knew nothing about Argentina and was excited to discover the country. It did not take long for me to realize that my experience would be life changing. Black in a very white country, I stood out like a sore thumb. I was the “other.” At first I was uncomfortable, but then, I realized that my blackness was not the same in Argentina as in the United States. My blackness meant something else. I was exotic, if not exceptional, and surprisingly I was not black! Instead I was morocha (a non-offensive term referring to darker skin). How could that be? I had transformed into a lighter version of myself. As I grew accustomed to being called morocha, I could not help wondering who constituted a morocha. Over time the answer became apparent: anyone who was not white. Other countries had mestizos (Indian and white mixture/descendant), or mulattos (black and white), but Argentina had grouped African and Indian descendants and people with tanned skin tones, often descendants of immigrants from Mediterranean countries, into a single category. Argentines proclaimed there “were no blacks in their country,” but the country certainly had a lot of morochos! Despite the lack of African descendants’ visibility today, in 1778 they had a significant share of the national population. Concentrated in cities, African descendants amounted to 44 percent of the inhabitants of the provincial city of Córdoba, for instance.[1] The decline of this population a national question for Argentina, whose black population dwindled from roughly 30 percent of the total population to 0.37 percent according to the 2010 census…

Read the entire article here.

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‘The Other Windrush’: the hidden history of Afro-Chinese families in 1950s London

Posted in Anthropology, Articles, Asian Diaspora, Caribbean/Latin America, History, Media Archive, United Kingdom on 2021-07-09 02:19Z by Steven

‘The Other Windrush’: the hidden history of Afro-Chinese families in 1950s London

gal-dem
2021-06-30

Tao Leigh Goffe, Assistant Professor of Literary Theory and Cultural History
Cornell University, Ithaca, New York


image credit: Tao Leigh Goffe/Canva

In this extract from ‘The Other Windrush‘, writer Tao Leigh Goffe explores the history of relative Hyacinth Lee, who migrated to the UK from Jamaica.

Family history is colonial history. How, then, to understand the vernacular photographic record and what is missing about the Windrush era, itself already an omission from British history? Since the inception of the technology of photography in the 1840s, the family photo album as an heirloom to be passed down, vertically, has formed the flesh of blood relation. The family album is also a literary surface inscribed with multiple meanings about race, gender, sexuality, class and who does not belong in the family tree. The visuality of collected images forms the fleshy proof of a seemingly biological argument for bourgeois belonging and familial intimacy. Blood is proof of kinship; the family portrait is flesh, and often colonial belonging.

Because family history is inevitably colonial history, I am invested in what and who is left out of the family album and outside of colonial history. Of particular (and selfish) interest to me is the impossibility of subjects of African and Chinese heritage. Photographs of Afro-Chinese families pose a challenge to the British colonial Trinidad experiment that wished to introduce Chinese labour to the Caribbean plantation to replace Africans in the early nineteenth century.

The ‘experiment’ documented in a secret Parliamentary Papers memorandum predicted the races would not mix. African and Asian people did, of course, ‘mix’; and many subsequent channels of migration were formed from Africa meeting Asia (both China and India) in the Caribbean. Where do we see these descendants present in the routes of the Windrush generation?…

Read the entire article here.

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Afro-Asian Connections in Latin America and the Caribbean

Posted in Anthologies, Asian Diaspora, Books, Caribbean/Latin America, Literary/Artistic Criticism, Media Archive on 2021-06-29 23:12Z by Steven

Afro-Asian Connections in Latin America and the Caribbean

Lexington Books (an imprint of Rowman & Littlefield)
November 2018
256 pages
Trim: 6 x 9
Hardback ISBN: 978-1-4985-8708-2
eBook ISBN: 978-1-4985-8709-9
Paperback ISBN: 978-1-4985-8709-9

Edited By:

Luisa Marcela Ossa, Associate Professor of Spanish
LaSalle University, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Debbie Lee-DiStefano
Springfield Lyceum College Preparatory, Springfield, Massachusetts

Afro-Asian Connections in Latin America and the Caribbean explores the connections between people of Asian and African descent in Latin America and the Caribbean. Although their journeys started from different points of origin, spanning two separate oceans, their point of contact in this hemisphere brought them together under a hegemonic system that would treat these seemingly disparate continental ancestries as one. Historically, an overwhelming majority of people of African and Asian descent were brought to the Americas as sources of labor to uphold the plantation, agrarian economies leading to complex relationships and interactions. The contributions to this collection examine various aspects of these connections. The authors bring to the forefront perspectives regarding history, literature, art, and religion and engage how they are manifested in these Afro-Asian relationships and interactions. They investigate what has received little academic engagement outside the acknowledgement that there are groups who are of African and Asian descent. In regard to their relationships with the dominant Europeanized center, references to both groups typically only view them as singular entities. What this interdisciplinary collection presents is a more cohesive approach that strives to place them at the center together and view their relationships in their historical contexts.

Table of Contents

  1. Afro and Chinese Depictions in Peruvian Social Discourse at the Turn of the 20th Century
  2. Locating Chinese Culture and Aesthetics in the Art of Wifredo Lam
  3. Through the Prism of the Harlem Ashram: Afro-Asian-Caribbean Connections in Transnational Circulation
  4. Merging the Transpacific with the Transatlantic: Afro-Asia in Japanese Brazilian Narratives
  5. Parallels and Intersections: Literary Depictions of the Lives of Chinese and Africans in 19th Century and Early 20th Century Cuba
  6. Erased from Collective Memory: Dreadlocks Story Documentary Untangles the Hindu Legacy of Rastafari
  7. Body of Reconciliation: Aida Petrinera Cheng’s Journey in Como un Mensajero Tuyo
  8. “I am Like One of those Women”: Effeminization of Chinese Caribbean men as Feminist Strategy in Three Contemporary Caribbean Novels
  9. La Mulata Achinada: Bodies, Gender, and Authority in Afro-Chinese Religion in Cuba
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Phenotypic Proximity: Colorism and Intraracial Discrimination among Blacks in the United States and Brazil, 1928 to 1988

Posted in Articles, Brazil, Caribbean/Latin America, History, Media Archive on 2021-06-22 22:22Z by Steven

Phenotypic Proximity: Colorism and Intraracial Discrimination among Blacks in the United States and Brazil, 1928 to 1988

Journal of Black Studies
Volume 52, Issue 5 (July 2021)
pages 528-546
DOI: 10.1177/00219347211021088

Teisha Dupree-Wilson, Assistant Professor of History
Coppin State University, Baltimore, Maryland

The level of colorism that developed among blacks in the United States (U.S.) and Brazil, during the 20th century, gave rise to intense altitudes of intraracial discrimination. This distinct form of discrimination was based on proximity to whiteness and white privilege. This essay will illustrate how attitudes toward complexion, within the black community, are a direct consequence and perpetual remnant of the white supremacy and racial hierarchy that developed in colonized societies. Colorism manifested itself in different forms in Brazil and in the U.S. However, the level of black-on-black discrimination that it spawned was grounded in the belief that one’s immediacy to whiteness created a vehicle for upward mobility.

Read or purchase the article here.

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Why This Mexican Village Celebrates Juneteenth

Posted in Articles, Caribbean/Latin America, Media Archive, Mexico, Slavery, Texas, United States on 2021-06-20 18:52Z by Steven

Why This Mexican Village Celebrates Juneteenth

Texas Monthly
2019-06-19

Wes Ferguson


Descendants of the Negro Mascogo people of northern Mexico gather to celebrate Juneteenth in the village of Nacimiento de los Negros. Photograph by Wes Ferguson

Descendants of slaves who escaped across the southern border observe Texas’s emancipation holiday with their own unique traditions.

The morning before Juneteenth, Corina Harrington and her sister Miriam Torralba left San Antonio shortly after sunrise and headed south to Mexico, retracing a portion of the same route their African American ancestors followed in 1850 when they escaped slavery in the United States and fled to freedom south of the border.

The sisters arrived around midday at their father’s house in the ranching village of Nacimiento de los Negros in Coahuila, about three hours south of Eagle Pass. As afternoon drifted toward evening, the blue silhouettes of the Sierra Madres were all but obscured by clouds, as siblings, cousins, extended family members, and childhood friends kept arriving in twos, threes, or fours. They strolled over to the cool and swift Río Sabinas to swim in water as clear as any Hill Country stream. They politely tasted the dried and shredded meat of a mountain lion that one of their cousins shot on their dad’s nearby goat ranch, and they laughed and reminisced and readied for one of the most important days of the year in a village whose name literally means “Birth of the Blacks.”…

Read the entire article here.

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CMRS Book Talk With Dr. Jasmine Mitchell

Posted in Brazil, Caribbean/Latin America, History, Media Archive, Social Science, Videos, Women on 2021-04-08 03:35Z by Steven

CMRS Book Talk With Dr. Jasmine Mitchell

Critical Mixed Race Studies
2021-03-08

We’re happy to announce that our first book talk with Dr. Jasmine Mitchell on Imagining the Mulatta: Blackness in U.S. and Brazilian Media is available for you to view on our website and YouTube.

Also, keep a look out for the details of our upcoming book talks! We’ve lined up a couple of recently released books that you’ll love…

Our next one will be with some of the authors from Multiracial Experiences in Higher Education: Contesting Knowledge, Honoring Voice, and Innovating Practice, edited by Drs. Marc P. Johnston-Guerrero and Charmaine L. Wijeyesinghe.

Afterwards, we’ll talk with Drs. Chinelo L. Njaka and Jennifer Patrice Sims on their book, Mixed-Race in the US and UK: Comparing the Past, Present, and Future.

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The Hidden History of Black Argentina

Posted in Articles, Caribbean/Latin America, History, Media Archive on 2021-02-10 02:05Z by Steven

The Hidden History of Black Argentina

The New York Review
2021-02-08

Uki Goñi


Allsport via Getty Images
Diego Maradona (front, center) with family and friends in Villa Fiorito, Argentina, 1980

A century of European immigration brought with it a comprehensive effort to erase the country’s multiracial past. Only recently has that been reversed.

Erika Denise Edwards, Hiding in Plain Sight: Black Women, the Law, and the Making of a White Argentine Republic (Tuscaloosa: University Alabama Press, 2020).

“This country has no tradition of its own,” Argentina’s master writer, Jorge Luis Borges, told me in an interview in 1975. “There’s no native tradition of any kind since the Indians here were mere barbarians. We have to fall back on the European tradition, why not? It’s a very fine tradition.” The words grate to modern ears, but they seemed true to Borges’s world. His own grandmother, Frances Anne Haslam, had come from Staffordshire, England. And by 1920, when Borges turned twenty-one, over half the population of his native Buenos Aires had been born in Europe, the result of a vast wave of late nineteenth-century and early twentieth-century immigration.

According to this idea of Argentina’s roots, our capital city of Buenos Aires is “the Paris of South America,” and “we are all descendants from Europe,” as then President Mauricio Macri said at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, in 2018. A corollary of this claim is one made by an earlier president, Carlos Menem, to a Dutch audience at Maastricht University in 1993 that, because Argentina had abolished slavery as early as 1813, “we don’t have blacks.” At a later lecture—bizarrely enough, at Howard University in Washington, D.C.—Menem added, “that is a Brazilian problem.”

For me, the myth of a European-only Argentina reached its breaking point last November, with the death of the soccer star Diego Maradona, arguably the greatest player who ever lived. He transcended the world of sports to become a figure of hope and defiance for millions of Argentines…

Read the entire review here.

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A Family History of British Empire

Posted in Articles, Autobiography, Biography, Book/Video Reviews, Caribbean/Latin America, History, Media Archive, United Kingdom on 2021-02-10 01:42Z by Steven

A Family History of British Empire

Black Perspectives
2021-02-05

Mary Hicks, Assistant Professor of Black Studies and History
Amherst College, Amherst, Massachusetts

“Where are you from?”—The deceptively simple question looms over the sprawling narrative of Imperial Intimacies: A Tale of Two Islands, the newest work by Black feminist theorist, literary critic, and historian Hazel Carby. This historical and existential query frames Carby’s gripping exploration of her ambivalent relationship to idealized “Britishness” as the child of a white, working-class Welsh mother and a Black, Jamaican father born in 1940s London. The omnipresent demand by strangers that she produce a satisfying account of her origins exemplifies her experiences as an unlocatable and thus unimaginable subject (98). Her own emotionally charged childhood memories ground Carby’s evocative examination of the intertwined nature of intimacy, race, and labor in the British Empire, stretching from the period following World War II back to the revolutionary wars of the late eighteenth century.

Imperial Intimacies begins with the Gramscian imperative to reconstruct, and at times invent, one’s personal genealogy, not only in fact but in feeling…

Read the entire review here.

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Camila Pitanga on people questioning her blackness: “It’s as violent as if I was barred from a restaurant or a hotel because of my color.”

Posted in Articles, Arts, Brazil, Caribbean/Latin America, Interviews, Media Archive, Women on 2021-02-09 17:38Z by Steven

Camila Pitanga on people questioning her blackness: “It’s as violent as if I was barred from a restaurant or a hotel because of my color.”

Black Brazil Today
2012-02-11

Marques Travae

Having captured the hearts of millions of Brazilians with her portrayals of several memorable characters in Brazil’s ever popular novelas, Camila Pitanga has earned her wings as a top actress and one of the most visible black actresses on the air. Her success is the fruit of hard work, an early start (appearing in the film Quilombo at age 6 in 1984) and having a famous father couldn’t have hurt (father Antônio Pitanga is a long-time actor). Of her role as Rose, an ex-domestic in the novela, Cama de Gato, Pitanga says: “I identify myself with Rose because she is a fighter and I have this reference in my family. My father is a man of humble origins from Bahia, he was a mailman and it was the arts that created his identity. Rose will not become an artist but she has a dignity that I identify with.”…

Read the entire interview here.

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Afro-Argentines: How Black People Were Systematically Whitewashed From Argentine History

Posted in Articles, Caribbean/Latin America, History, Media Archive on 2021-01-05 01:28Z by Steven

Afro-Argentines: How Black People Were Systematically Whitewashed From Argentine History

The Bubble
2018-07-03

Allie Pitchon


Afroargentines playing candombe porteño near of a bonfire of Saint John (San Juan) in 1938. via africanarguments.org

Argentina is perceived by many to be a primarily white, European country, with Buenos Aires often referred to as the “Paris of Latin America” in popular culture. This perception is rooted in a post-colonial process where Argentine leaders and intellectuals in the 19th century, especially during the Generation of 1837 and the Generation of 1880, actively made an effort to systematically erase Black Argentines from the country’s history, popular culture, and society in an effort to position the nation as a global power modeled after the US and Europe.

By the second half of the 1700’s, roughly a third of the population of Buenos Aires was comprised of Afro-Argentines. While some were free, most were enslaved, brought in slave ships during the late 16th century in the hundreds of thousands to work as domestic servants and on plantations in the Rio de la Plata region. During the 18th and 19th centuries, people of African descent spread across Argentina. In some provinces, including Salta, Córdoba, Santiago del Estero, and Catamarca, Black Argentines accounted for roughly half the population. Meanwhile, General San Martín’s army was heavily comprised of Afro-Argentines. In the battle of Chacabuco, for instance, which was key in helping liberate Chile from Spanish rule, half of the soldiers were Afro-Argentines promised freedom from slavery in exchange for military service…

Read the entire article here.

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