In the fight for ther recognition of Black rights and the issue regarding the effects of colonialism, Black people often tend to focus on issues directly related to them. This reaction is more than needed, especially when most of us have been oppressed by both Black and White people throughout our lives. Due to the fact that we were conceived in opposition between Black and White, between conquerors and conquered, our vision has been impacted as well and it has become extremely difficult to see beyond. In our new found spaces we have created content, throughout our various platforms, to share our experiences, we oppose more than we should gather to understand our pain or anomalies even more.
The enslaved Africans kidnapped more than four hundred years ago have left a tremendous impact in Latin America, from Mexico, the Caribbean to Argentina. The culture is, in essence, Afro-Indigenous, with some White European exception in some South American countries too. The problems related to identity in that space have been intertwined, opposed, fought against or simply ignored. As most of us wake up from a horrible spiritual nightmare where most of our ancestors were silenced, tortured or simply erased, we get together to put the pieces of the puzzle together in order to reconnect with who we really were in the beginning.
In that issue, a younger generation of Blacks, whether Latinos, Arabs or living in various Western European countries are fighting against the oppression, the racism and the brutality imposed by our various dominators over the past centuries. In that spectrum, on the historical point of view, it is important to highlight how White Caribbeans have been also erased from the racial issues by the Black groups they descend from.
Actually, the Spaniard and Portuguese colonizers did commit a great genocide against the Natives but also against the Blacks by raping the latter and by whitewashing their descendants, who are now quadroons and octoroons, while even whiter than that. Just like in the Middle East, the White Latins always had the power to rape and mix with the indigenous Blacks from the region to dilute them even more and fabricate a new whiteness to attach these mixed descendants to their causes and identity.
Such practices were also applied during the Apartheid. In the early days of Dutch colonialism, the European conquerors encouraged their men to abuse and have sex with Khoi women. Judging by their light skin, light brown skin and different features, the conquerors wrongly believed that the children would be white in a matter of a generation. If the skin could be as white as their European fathers, the features were still Khoi and Negroid. Horrified, they ceased to reproduce and feared these mixed descendants would turn against them. The same Anglo-Saxons applied the same policies in Australia where they attempted to whitewash the Indigenous BLACK peoples from the region they later sent to live in camps. The rape in the Caribbean was also carried by the same agenda and motivation. Though the Anglo-Saxons despised their colonized entities, the Latins did so, but had no problem mixing with them so as to confuse them even more.
The same scheme was applied to WHITE CARIBBEANS. Contrary to what one thinks, they were made to be White and are not and they should rather be referred to as mixed White people. Through their conception, they were also the victims of colonial and horrific ideologies of rape promoted by the Spaniards and the other colonizers. Yet they are stuck in their position as most of them use their whiteness as a privilege to dominate the Blacks and the more visibly mixed Blacks. This behavior is the consequence of years of colonialism as they have been manipulated by the colonizers to feel superior and navigate through their advantages.
If one remembers well, the novel Wide Sargasso Sea by White Creole Jean Rhys, centered around the life of a White Creole family which happens to lose their fortune in Jamaica. In the book, Rhys reveals through the fiction, a very important detail no one really mentioned before. The Creoles/Criollos were the Spaniards, Portuguese and French settlers who were born in the Latin American colonies. Yet, though considered to be at the top of society in the region by the conquered Africans and Natives, that category was despised by the original Europeans who were born and raised in the continent. Indeed, the latter would consider them to have no manners, and to be “low” Whites for being raised among Blacks. The book also shows how Black Jamaicans feared the original Europeans and considered the White Jamaican Creoles are low individuals as well once they lost their power, calling them “White N*gger”. Author J.M. Coetzee, a White South African also wrote extensively about the disdain his White counterparts experienced at the hands of the Black indigenous South Africans.
That same approach was also real in the Democratic Republic of the Congo during the Belgian colonial rule. The Belgians came from the North and were considered to be the real original White individuals by the population who were scared of their brutality. Yet, until this day, the Black Congolese have a disdain for the Portuguese they do not consider to be White at all but mixed White people or “low” Europeans who adopt African culture and eat their own traditional food which is sometimes similar to that of the Africans.
Whiteness in the Caribbean, Latin America and South Africa as well, was always built within different categories. Interestingly enough, in her memoirs, singer Mariah Carey wrote about how the Irish were considered to be the lowest Whites in the United States. The same strategies and racism existed within the different white categories. In that sense, in order to understand Black deconstruction, it is more than important to study the interaction of race within the White space as well. The policies applied against the black bodies were first applied against the southern Italians, the southern Spaniards and Portuguese by the northern Europeans deemed pure. And even before, between the Brittons and the Irish and therefore, between the Europeans and the White Creoles.
The White Caribbeans are also the victims of colonialism for their whiteness was fabricated by intentional waves of rape. They were controlled and manipulated to dominate and feel superior towards the Blacks. The same issue is similar to that of the Middle East and North African region. There is no such thing as “White Africa” at all for this appellation was a colonial one aimed at placing the invaders as the original faces of the region. The so-called White North Africans are mixed race and though light, descend from the original Berbers who were Black. Until this day, the US Census still considers North Africans and the mixed Middle Easterners as White when they are not, but mixed White entities who descend from black populations first. This is a strategy operated by White colonial agents to downplay the fact that Whites are decreasing in terms of numbers in the world. Therefore, their fabricated white populations, mixed, are considered white too.
However, black groups refuse to understand that the treatment of Whites can also explain a lot of the experience they have been through. An Irish man could have a better understanding of colonial issues as his ancestors have been colonized by the British Crown. Colonialism is a human fact and many Africans have colonized their own peers as well through other mechanisms. The Bantu have a disdain for the Pygmies they mistreat yet, most black groups refuse to acknowledge it. It is more recently that colonialism has been associated with blackness. In another time, Black people were the colonizers, in that sense, we can mention the Moors.
Despite it all, mixed White people are also allowed to look into their ancestry and try to reconnect with their lost African heritage even if they are mixed White people. For many have been damaged by the horrific consequences of White colonialism.
In this sense, the majority of White Caribbeans are mixed and all admixture gave them the whiteness. In the hierarchy, these octoroons could never compete with the first generations of Criollos (Spaniards, Portuguese, French) born and raised in the area, it is true, but worst, with the second and third waves of Europeans who immigrated to Latin America since the 18th century. For these descendants of Germans, Swiss, Scotts, Irish, Italians or Romanians, the mixed White people from the Caribbean will never be white. In this sense, they will have to deal with the brutal rejection and insults a Black person would be exposed to.
As a consequence, if a mixed White Caribbean claims not to feel white at all, they probably have the right to feel that way as many were originally Blacks who became whitewashed with a significant amount of white due to the waves of rape and forced marriages orchestrated on purpose. The Europeans created “false Whites” they later abandoned to their own fate.
Many mixed White Caribbeans are white for they descend from multigenerational mixed individuals, understand quadroons and octoroons who intermarried. When exposed to a fully Black Caribbean, they would be recognised as White, when such whiteness was fabricated by the adxmiture. These same people, though having European characteristics could sometimes carry up to 45 per cent of African blood, all the while looking White. And other self-identified Black Latinos are brown and black but only carry 45 per cent of African blood as well, their skin color being an indication of their Taino ancestry. What can be said about these fabricated White Caribbeans who have been exposed to African culture and spirituality since day one? Are they less African?
It is more than important for the work of history to create new categories where everybody could find their spaces. Better yet, there can be no real recover from inner pain if black scholars refuse to study the mechanisms of colonialism within the White categories themselves.
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