Walter Mignolo

Thoughts on modernity/coloniality, geopolitics of knowledge, border thinking, pluriversality, and the decolonial option.

Are Africans in South America and the Caribbean also Latins?

My friend Roger, from Brazilia, sent me this site about the growing presence of Afro-Latin Americans, as the saying goes.

There is an interesting map, that I highlight here for your easy access.

It will be interesting to have a similar map tracing the European migration to—let’s say to simplify matters—America. Do you have one? If you do please post it—I will keep on looking myself.

In any case, if we have such a map (and I am sure there is one), the question that would arise is that we will have to call Latin-Africans all the people of European descent born, raise and proliferating in the Americas that co-existed with people from African descent.

Otherwise, it will not be fair to make Africans also Latins (unless they want) and to not make Europeans also Africans. Now, if we move this route, we have to address the question of the Indigenous population. Are Indians Indo-Latin? And, therefore, shall we call Africans also Afro-Indian, and Europeans Euro-Indians? See, it is a mess.

But the bottom line is this: we are not talking about blood here but about knowledge, cultures, world view, attitudes toward life, organization of the economy and the state, subjectivity, etc. etc. We are talking about the state and the economy. Would then the population self-identified from Afro-descent be happy to embrace the subjectivity, political projects, economic structure put in place by the population of European-descent, that is, by “Latin?”

Similar questions shall be asked in the case of people of Indian descent. The situation in Bolivia is paramount. These are open and crucial questions in the future of “Latin”America which will have repercussion in “Anglo”America as well. Not only because the idea of Afro-Anglo Americans shall be questioned, next to the idea that Native Americans could be labeled Indo-Anglo Americans, but also because the strong presence of a enormous Latino/as population that calls into question both the ideas of Latinidad and of Anglicidad.

PS: and if you are interested in having more on Afro-Brazilian click here.
Afro-Brazilian like Afro-American (in the case of the US), indicate the history enslaved people brought to America and the nation-state to which they belong or do not belong. Instead, Afro-Latin or Afro-Anglo indicate two conflictive histories of descent: the imperial memories of the European (Latins and Anglos) and the enslaved memories of the Africans (the diversity of origins that you can see in the map mentioned above).

2 responses to “Are Africans in South America and the Caribbean also Latins?”

  1. The conflict refered in the article on the confuse denomination of Afro Latins, is part of the confuse denomination of ‘Latins’per se. Latins from where? Uruguay? Honduras? Haiti? etc. As the article well notes, along with the problematic use of the ‘Latino/a’term, we add the heterogeneity of african origins and cosmologies coming from the ‘Afro’ term. But this situation of ignoring the variety of cultures arriving to this continent from Africa is also present in the terms ‘Afro Brasilians’ and ‘Afro Americans’. I believe when all these labels were created and disseminated worldwide, the point, among others, were to ‘stigmatize’ more than name people coming from Africa. Because the label of ‘Afro’ strictly refers to ‘black skin persons’ and not to white skinned individuals also born in Africa. These one are often called angolesse, sudanesse, etc. but not afro anything. This people is mentioned under the place of birht, and this happens because their skin color. In the process of labeling either,’latins’ or ‘Afro latins’we need to admit the quote of racism implied in all this terminology, the history of discrimination as its background. I liked the article, and particularly the opportunity that it brings to open the minds and the debate on all these issues. Thank you Dr. Mignolo

  2. I already submit an entry but I do not understand what ‘awaiting moderation’ means. Sorry, and thanks anyway.

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