Wednesday, June 27, 2007

a rising voice: afro-latin americans

The Miami Herald recently published a five-part series on the situation of Afro-Latinos in various countries (including Nicaragua, Honduras, and Colombia as well as the more typical Brazil, Dominican Republic and Cuba). The series is really good. I was half-tempted to just cut- and- paste the entire thing into here. The pieces paint a much more complex picture than I would have expected in this type of story. In the past, many such articles would stop short at pointing out Africanisms in the local culture and repeating myths of racial democracy. More recently I've seen (and linked to) stories which acknowledge something of the racism in Latin America in a general and abstract way. But the series A Rising Voice: Afro-Latin Americans manages to cover a lot of ground with a surprising amount of richness and depth. I definitely recommend.


Talibah said...

my favorite subject in the whole wide world besides Islam. gracia

Talibah said...

What do you think about people saying that they are "Taino"? Particularly los dominicanos. It seems to me that African-Americans technically have a more recent relationship with indigenous peoples, but as a general rule we just say that we are black (and maybe a little "cherokee" of course :-). Los dominicanos dicen "somos mestizos" even if they appear to be very black. African-Americans are mixed too i suppose, but i guess the one drop rule deems it irrelevant. I view saying Indio, Taino, or mestizo as a way of diminishing one's blackness. But who am I to impose my one drop rule concept of race on to another group of people?

Abdul-Halim V. said...

I want to think well of people so I assume that somewhere out there there are people of African descent who have done some geneological research or otherwise have good reason to think that they have indigenous ancestry who are expressing a reasonable amount of appreciation and interest in that part of their family tree or background.

But, yeah, in practice it is almost automatic to wonder if African-descended folks go on and on about being indigenous are downplaying being black.

But actually something else might be going on. Online I recently came across a piece of something from Malcolm X where he talks about travelling as "Malik Shabazz" and more generally about how Africans in the US were treated better than African-Americans and it had to do with having land and having a history.

So maybe if more Black folks knew their pre-slavery tribes they would actually prefer to remember those instead of being "a little cherokee"?