In the last couple years there have been an increasing amount of news stories in the US about Afro-Latinos. I have been glad to see some of it because oftentimes I feel like in the US, it’s as if slavery didn’t happen in Latin America and there are no Black people there to speak of. Or that somehow or another, the Spanish speaking Caribbean and South America has “gotten beyond” racial categorization, when it was only a generation ago that people like Cuban singer La Lupe (among many others) proudly declared she was Black. And why don’t any of these Baseball players from the Dominican Republic get discussed as Black people? There’s also this thing that happens, where I have been told that I, as an African-American, don’t understand the nuances of what happens in terms of race/racialization in Latin America.
OK, I am not trying to take over that conversation, there are plenty of Afro-Latinos organizing on their own, but I know that when many of these organizations of Afro-Latinos in Latin America are referring to Black American struggles for inspiration, and sometimes directly seeking assistance from groups like the NAACP Legal Defense Fund (as did organizations in Brazil) to help address legal forms of racism in their countries. That says something to me about how Afro-Latinos in those organizations see what Black Americans have done as a possibility, and not as some group of people who don’t get it. And I do, ultimately, feel responsible for what happens to Black people wherever we are, however we got there, and no matter what conquistador language we now speak.
Anyhoo, I found this interesting story about Afro-Colombians, which are even less talked about than Cubans, Dominicans or Brazilians. What interests me most about the many different movements of racial justice happening in Latin America is in what ways are notions of “nation/nationhood” informing conversations about gender, sex and sexuality–that is, as a cautionary tale from many Black Nationalist configurations in the US–is the Afro-Latin revolution being formed as a (hetero) dick thing?