Color Me Latinx

Updated: Mar 23, 2020

Miskitu accepting Indigenous banana as government subsidies

Throughout the Afro Latinx Diaspora, the concept of claiming indigenous ancestry has been ostracized from "surviving" colorism to making nativism a political movement like the Boricua who are still waiting for a real independence day. Claiming to be "India” somehow takes away the communal aspects of black power. The development of black populations in Latin America has been white washed into submission, but not often are the comparisons between black minority prosperity and Afro-indigenous protection addressed to examine the development & solidification of black culture.

According to Fuente and Andrews in Afro Latin American Studies published via Cambridge University, the ethnic identity and colorization on Afro-indigenous groups have served to either marginalize or assimilate Afro indigenous groups into the Indian identity.

In Nicaragua, the Miskitu are considered maroon like by many , the political outsiders that have aided foreign interests.

Due to the indigenous status they're outsiders, but claiming mestizo over their Afrocentricity place holds their political view over the Afrocentric and still indigenous Garifuna. Miskitu are somewhat more of culturally assimilated artifacts that the government subsides into submission. Meanwhile the majority of the Garifuna don't reside in Belize, Guatemala, Honduras or Nicaragua like some minor populations do. The Garifuna no longer even reside in their original shipwrecked community formed in Saint Vincent. They're deported onto island off the coast of Honduras because they're black, then indigenous.

Colombian land rights for indigenous groups proves colorism is consistent among indigenous groups in Latin America. Only Afro-descendants residing in the pacific watershed initially received collective land rights under Law 70 of 1993, yet the majority of Afro Colombians live outside this region. Most are coastal, Caribbean and Pacific! Can you say Quibdo, Cali, Cartagena, and Barranquilla? However, when the constitutional assembly was formed no black delegates, but with yes you guessed it "Indian" delegates. Even then, the provisions for the land only applied to rural riverine of the pacific region marginalizing make the image of Afro Colombians being dependent and secluded in one concentrated area as an Afro-indigenous group, not assimilated black communities like the majority of the Afro population. Claiming to be "India" while black more often than not will somehow bring the same type of social representation in greater assimilated culture, little access to capital and always second best.

Comparing government protections of a minority group vs. an indigenous one, we look at how government intervention mediates the identity of BLACK in relation to appropriating culture for social divide between one group of blacks against another, and a group of black people against non black ethnicity.

Comparing Afro Latinx minorities to the Afro indigenous Siddi of India who are not only a racial minority, but also an indigenous group, somehow displays the same aspects of assimilation that come from governmental influences.

In order to justify economically separating the Dominican Republic from their Afrocentric neighbors in Haiti, President Trujillo forced party membership, killed many blacks, immigrated many Europeans, and controlled media to become a more "Indio" and white nation among other acts of dictating cultural subsidies throughout his regime. The social pressure stands despite the fact that Trujillo was Haitian and Dominican mulatto, and that 80% of the Dominican Republic is black.

For the Siddi of India, they live secluded from the greater population, but when seeking resources from greater society, their subjected to the Hindu caste system to which the religious justification of class separation is identified as spiritual manifestation. However, the escaped slave population of the Siddi date back to the colonial era of India, and yet they're untouchables in caste, unable to eat off china when dining in public and refused busing services. The Siddi also have no land protection by way of government recognition as an indigenous group. In comparison to the DR their identity is still invisible by being subjected to greater culture.

Asking if to be assimilated into a greater culture of Afrocentricity brings the Latin American example of Cuba. While their prosperity of communism teeters between foreign aid and tourism, the gender parity index of education still stands 17% higher than the United States. Their literacy rate of female population at 96.9% and overall population at 97%. 36% more spending on university funding as well. However, with the conversion government protection applied to education for the sake of low literacy rates happened in a country with a huge Afro population with little access to capital.

The Siddi of India being a minority still have little access to capital, but maintain boarding schools ran and funded by Siddi who have assimilated enough to achieve capital for their communities.

The difference between a minority group versus Afro-indigenous rights will always be the access to assimilated and centralized capital or the access to generating their own.

Accessing capital for the black middle class relies on community intervention much like the privatization of education for the Siddi.

In the community of Oakland Chicago, Illinois, gentrification plays a role in challenging the diaspora to gentrify their own communities instead of pushing people out. Black homeowners co exist with Black tenants, in the same 1850's style housing that was once inhabited by a white demographic. Before the shops and banks brought into the community by the upper middle class African American population, the area was gentrified from a working class white neighborhood to a poor black neighborhood. Black home ownership bridges the gap for social mobility for the black community without compromising, but rather redefining the image of the black community through black capital. If only Latin America could get there is a cohabitation between capital, government intervention, and cultural assimilation, there would be no need to claim "India" tribal or not. Afro Latinx would be more a reflection of being your best instead of a chance to be second best.

For the sake of coloring someone Latinx there is no need to white wash or bring mestizaje for assimilation through ambiguity if what you bring to the table doesn't contribute to the greater identity of any umbrella term that assumes patriotism. The idea is to bring color to the Latinx among other parts of the diaspora. To unify a nation, tribalism will color you black, and only by being black will diaspora be colored Latinx.


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