I am thinking that I am justified in my thinking that some people just don’t get it. I know that I am not an expert nor am I a historian but I do read, which means that I have knowledge in several areas. When I can sit here and write blogs about being Afro Latino I am only a reflection of things that I have read, seen, or experienced. I know that in my style of writing there is quite a bit of emotion as well. That is just me, take it or leave it.
Naturally, I will feel obligated to give my opinion when needed about Afro Latinos and it is not a surprise that I always feel like I am teaching someone something new. So today was no exception by having a disagreement about Afro Latinos on the Being Latino Facebook page.
Being Latino is a blog that celebrates…well being Latino. There is a team of blog writers that post material everyday about various topics. One of today’s topics was about Afrolatinos: “The Untaught Story” (video below). It was a very good post by Eric Cortes which can be found here. Of course, on the Facebook page you can make your comments and click “like” if you did indeed like the post. I was a bit intrigued to see any of the feedback, not because of the nature of the blog content, but just to see what people have to say about the topic itself. So, to save time you can view the discussion here.
There were some thing said by a few people that I found interesting. There was the suggestion that the social issues in Latin America was more of a class issue rather than a race issue. That perhaps articles and documentaries like this were promoting division rather than unity. I have heard arguments like this before, on this blog in fact, that pointing out racism creates more divisions. I personally do not beleive this is the case. The fact is that Latinos as a body of people are not unified at all. The color of skin complicates things even further.
As I argued on that site, I think that suggesting that classism is the real issue instead of racism is misdiagnosing the problem. Sure, in most countries like Colombia and Mexico, most Afro Latinos are poor. That is not because of some caste system that was created by the elite like in India. This simply the fact that people are oppressed because of the color of their skin. Unity does not help this because most privileged Latinos simply do not care enough to unify.
Such thoughts about unity and the “let’s all get along” mentality simply means to me that many people are color blind. While that sounds ideal on surface because no one sees color because we are all human beings, the fact is no ones sees color! I want you to see my color. I want you to see my culture. I want you to acknowledge that there is a blackness within our culture. Once you get people to acknowledge this, then there is a possibility to unify.
Then there was a comment that Afro Latino blood was not all that prevalent within Latin America with the exception of Colombia, Brazil, and “tiny” islands in the carribean. This was something that set something off in my intellect considering that the same person said the Black Mexicans barely exist in Mexico since they are less than 1% of the population.
I am totally not sure about that speculation of the 1% in Mexico but I doubt that is true. There are whole cities like Vera Cruz and Oaxaca that are in Mexico where a large numbers of Black Mexicans. However, are they recognized as citizens? Afro Latinos live in every country within Latin America and the fact that this person cannot recognized that is just lack of education on his part.
Conversations like this is why I press on. There are people that refuse to really see the African side of their heritage. I mentioned that we can all move our hips to salsa with the congas and the zulu beat but there is no way in hell that most privledged Latinos will admit their roots back to Africa. I think it is time for a history lesson…