Daniel José Older explores Latin America’s history of anti-Blackness, particularly as it pertains to the Dominican Republic.
While we can find some historical exceptions to anti-Blackness in Latin America/ “the Americas” (Mexico surprisingly had the first Black president in North America, and was also a safe haven for American run-away slaves), for the most part Latin America has been pretty complicit in treating our black brothers and sisters pretty terribly. We can look at las Castas painting for examples of how Black people are depicted, the darker the skin the less human the depictions are. Segregation has been prevalent in places like Guatemala, where there were some run-away slave populations that were relegated to the less served coast lines, and then of course there is Brasil— which has an outsider’s perception of being fully racially inclusive but whose class structure tells a different tale.
Sadly, we can’t be surprised by this silence. Antiblackness has run deep in the Latino community as long as there’s been a Latino community. Much like the wider American mythology of a glorious melting pot, we love waxing faux-etic about the multilayered fabric of our identity: We are a tapestry; we are a taco, a mofongo, a paella — so many flavors!In truth, we are a shattered family, a house deeply divided by white supremacy and colorism. It’s as true in Latin America — yes, even Cuba — as it is in the United States.
As Latino’s we cannot sit idly by and watch acts against Black men and women in silence. It is our job to:
1. Speak out against American sanctioned violence toward Black men and women. 2. Speak out about state violence by places like the Dominican Republic 3. Unite as a people and stop this “I am from so and so country and calling myself Latino is being a sell out”.
You see the latter point is something i have come tosee a lot on social media and to be honest I am fucking baffled. There is a reason I never found myself as a MEChA member at CAL and it was really these politics that kept me away. If we do not see each other as brothers and sisters of a lineage of Spanish and Portuguese bastardization, where their fair white skinned policies did everything possible to keep the “castes” divided then we are doomed to fail as a people. It is time to speak out for each other, no matter where we come from or what color our skins are.\
(edited to add, this post is mostly to urge all of you to read the article. the rest are just my own thoughts on Latinx anti-Blackness.)
“My Latin pride will be rooted in the unequivocal truth that Black Lives Matter, or it will be bullshit.” -Daniel Jose Older