The movement for Afro-Latinidad and the recognition of the African populations living in “Latin” America and the Caribbean can not be considered as finalized. As we have stated several times on the blog, it has been exploited, hijacked and whitewashed by White Creole media moguls who control the markets dedicated to the so-called “Hispanic” community in the United States and the rest of the continent. Yet, as it has been taken away from its original substance, as the White Latin media of today only use black public figures such as Amara La Negra to reinforce the propaganda of “there can be no racism in Latin America for everybody is mixed race and comes from different backgrounds”. The original Afro-Latin movement was truly anti-colonial and was made to reinforce the pride in an African racial heritage which had been crushed and destroyed due to centuries of Spanish, Portuguese colonialism and placed at the bottom of racial castes. Anything had to be better but to be simply Black African in the new colonised Latin sphere.
The Afro-Latinidad movement of today is not rooted in anti-colonialism per se as many members, involuntarily hope to find a better place within the LATIN sphere, understand, be accepted and included by White Creole Latinos. On the contrary, the real revolution should be symbolized by the destruction of their White colonial heritage in all things regarding identity and geography. (It is unacceptable to consider that Colombia is still named after the mass murderer who orchestrated a genocide against 90 per cent of the Natives).
Indeed, by using the term LATINO or LATINA, the perpetuation of mental genocide is nurtured, as activist Citlalli Anahuac says. The Latin group refers to Southernwestern Europeans- the French*, the Portuguese, the Spaniards, the Italians and even the Romanians- and was not the original name of the indigenous populations from the sphere and certainly not that of the enslaved and deported Africans. By claiming “Afro-Latin”, the activists somehow tolerate the five hundred years of abuse, colonialism and rape against their own heritage.
How can you claim that you want to fight against the legacy of colonialism, all the while trying to nurture a movement which still places Spain at the center? Why should we talk about “Afro-Latinidad” and not “Afro-Indigenous”, then?
Let’s be clear. It is true that, contrary to what Afrocentrists can claim, not all Central, South and Caribbean people carry an African heritage. (I refuse to use colonial terms such as “Latin America” or “Latino” so I call the populations according to their geographic spaces) In reality, though the sphere could be split in three different factions, the modern culture of the region is mostly Afro-Indigenous, not Hispanic or Iberian, if we include Portugal. White people want to insert themselves within the clans of those they conquered, when they have taken more than they have brought to the table. The modern culture, regarding language, food, music, dances or else is stricly African and Indigenous. The most important political figures of resistance against colonialism are African and Indigenous. Though the Basques were also involved in some wars against colonialism, Zumbi Dos Palmares in Brazil, Tupac Amaru Shakur or the Mambis in Cuba did not have to wait for any of them before fighting for liberation. Even the most important cultural movements created within Portugal and Spain were made by Africans. Flamenco now represented by thief Rosalia, came from the African slaves sent to Portugal and Spain, who, along with the Jews and the Gypsies followed the rhythms of gurumbe to create a new genre. Flamenco is actually extremely similar to traditional Cape Verdean chants in this matter. The fado, another traditional Portuguese music also came from enslaved Africans living in Lisbon. Even in the Iberian sphere, Africans were still changing the game from within.
Yet, modern day Afro-Latin activists want to remain close to Spain and even quote the blood quantum. According to some, the Spanish and/or Portuguese blood running through their veins give them an attach to Iberia and thus give them a legitimacy to claim Afro-Latinidad. This argument can be logical. However, how are we going to claim the blood of the invaders before that of the Natives first?
Indeed, millions of Africans, even the darkest of them evolving in the so-called Latin sphere, carry an amount of Native blood within them and though they also practice their African beliefs, they also kept some cultural aspects of the Natives in their family. For this reason, why do activists still refuse to place the Native lineage at the center of identity studies for the Afro descendants in the Caribbean and South America?
If we follow the pattern, Mexico is a Native country where even the Mestizos should be counted as Natives and not White. If there is a Black Mexican community which has been recognised, the country is still heavily indigenous but colonized by the remnants of Spanish and German agents. Then, Central America could be split into two. Countries such as El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras are mostly Indigenous yet, Nicaragua, Costa Rica, Belize and Panama are truly Afro-Indigenous. Then, the Caribbean are Afro-Indigenous too just like the Caribbean part of Colombia.
However, other South American countries such as Chile, Argentina, Uruguay or Paraguay are Indigenous and White through all its colonial forms (German, Spanish, Italian, French, Swiss among others) but yet again, nations such as Peru, Bolivia, Venezuela, Colombia and Ecuador are African and Indigenous. An Afro-Peruvian descends from an African and a Native lineage mostly, just like Hugo Chavez, in Venezuela, described his family history as being Native and African. (Brazil, is just the holy African reunion!) Then, one notices that, the common point between the variety of populations always goes back to the Natives who are the center of everything. Whether an individual is African and European, Native and European, or even the three, to different degrees, the main original point goes back to the Native groups, not to the European ones. It is the Native blood which is supposed to reunite and the one through which academics should re-write and re-evaluate the history of the continent.
Yet, the academics have another agenda. They know Natives to be the center but they are reluctant to base their work on them for political reasons. Indeed, the Natives have been stripped of their political power. It is white people who dominate. And even if Spain and Portugal are considered by Northern Europeans to be at the bottom of Europe, they remain white countries and come from a sphere of power many aspire to be apart of.
The confusion and whitewashing which is still in effect today can also encourage many Natives and Blacks from South America and the Caribbean to even deny the existence of a genocide, claiming that the Spaniards never really orchestrated a massacre, that they are our allies and that they gave us a memorable culture we still live off today. The horrific consequences of colonial trauma even marked many minds into finding a certain excitement to the idea of being apart of a “racial triology”. People do enjoy having such and such amount of various blood, being mixed and not totally one thing. Yet, they still refuse to acknowledge that such admixture was rooted in rape and genocide. Not love and friendship.
It is more than important to exclude colonial terms which were falsely created to describe the identities of people from the Southern sphere. Why should Spain, France or Portugal always be at the center of how one views themselves? The emphasis should be put on Native groups first, not the European ones. And in this matter, questions related to African heritage in South America should be evaluated through the Native prism as well. But this is problematic for a reason. Indeed, if every Afro-Indigenous man or woman begins to open their eyes and identify through the lens of their direct ancestors, then the colonizing entity will have to vanish and disappear and this is what European colonialial agents represent; hence fraudulent entities, represented by brutal groups which never created anything new in the sphere they conquered.
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*The French are considered a Latin people it is true but they are also mixed and some have a Saxon heritage too. When it comes to the culture, France could be described as having a Latin flavour with a German-esque work ethic. However, the French people and the language are still Latin.