Thursday, June 05, 2008

Rise of Afro-Latinos

Great article in Newsweek magazine about the Afro-Latinos.

25 comments:

John K said...

As always, Anthony, you're ahead of the curve.

Anonymous said...

Informative article. Thanks Anthony.

Anonymous said...

Afro-Latinos? Oh, please! This is just another label to stigmatize yet another group of human beings!

Anonymous said...

st-st-stigmatize? What's the stigma in being Afro-latino? Stop hatin. It gives you wrinkles. :-)

Monaga said...

I don't get how being called Afro-Latino is stigmatizing either. That is why we are all free to have our own opinions.

Anonymous said...

Who exactly is the person or what is the organization that goes around assigning names to ethnic groups and/or races and telling people what they should be called? Who assigned me a place in a particular group and told me not to move from there? Maybe the previous poster meant that this "Afro-Latino" term is just meant to separate still another group from the rest of humanity. Divide and conquer.
From Puerto Rico,
Rafael

Anonymous said...

People of color have been treated like garbage throughout the history of the Americas. If some of them want to make their ethnicity a point of pride, they should be allowed to do so (just as people of color who do not care for "labels" should be allowed to ignore them. Their loss). I guess we can't win. The world won't let you forget the color of your skin, but if you decide to reclaim the terms of your oppression, then you are being a separationist.
Ramon
jackson, Mississippi

Anonymous said...

Anthony - I think you have started some stimulating dialogue as you often do. How about some information regarding the slave trade and Samana, which is where the "Afro-Dominicans" originated?
Frank- MD

Anonymous said...

latinos define themselves as Latinos (Dominican,Cuban andPuerto Rican.) They will call someone light skinned, "negro" or someone dark skinned as "blanco" what unites the latinos are their commonality....they are l a t i n o s, decentents of the tainos indians until the spanish brought disease, slaves and rape to the caribbean islands. When you ask a latino are you black/african american (due to the complexion) they will say with pride: i'm dominican, I'm boricua, i'm cuban, if you ask them are they white (due to the complexion) they will say i'm cuban, i'm dominican, i'm a puertorican. learn it folks we are latinos first and that is how many define themselves as. l a t i n s.

Anonymous said...

I tend to agree with the previous poster. We are Dominicans, Cubans, Puerto Ricans, Venezuelans, etc. "Afro-Dominicans?" Who says? This must be a joke. I my 32 years of traveling to the DR, I have yet to hear any Dominican refer to himself as an "Afro-Dominican." In addition, I have been to Cuba several times and have never heard any Cuban refer to himself as an "Afro-Cuban." And I certainly have never heard any Puerto Rican call himself an "Afro-Puerto Rican." There's nothing inherently wrong with it; but, whoever is assigning these terms is for sure NOT a native of any of these countries!
From Puerto Rico,
Rafael

Anonymous said...

Anthony, here is your blog at its finest. Real discussion about real issues. Let me add my two cents worth.

Rafael and Ramon both make very cogent and thoughtful comments.

I agree with Rafael that maybe the third poster had a broader concept in mind. Maybe he's saying "Let's stop compartmentalizing racial makeup down to the nth degree." If so, he has a point. After all, Barack was successful partly because he refused to be compartmentalized and never tried to play that card (although others tried to get him to take the bait). He did manage to avoid, for the most part, an identity-oriented campaign.

And yet his first book is all about personal racial identity. And what a beautiful story it is. He takes us on a trip full of confusion about his identity that isn’t resolved until he fully confronts and understands both sides of his origins and realizes they are in fact one.

Ramon, your points are compelling and I can’t disagree with your observations. That they are often still true is all too painful to many of us white folks. But I do hope (and believe) that your conclusions aren’t right. I believe Barack has shown us that, on this issue, “I guess we can’t win” is not only not true, it’s not an option.

George in SF

Anonymous said...

I am African-American and have traveld extensivly throughout the Dominican Republic and I personally spoke to people of Samana (I also noticed that most were of dark complexion) and they told me the following about their Ancestors: "When Slaves were being sent from Africa to America, some escaped and managed to make it to Samana which was short of their pre-determined destination. However, some found freedom and settled in that area of the Island known as Samana thus, their dark skin color". Now, is there a Dominican that can shed light on this period in history. Afro-Dominican was just a term that I used to describe people from Samana and not necessarily a legitimate name. Frank-MD

Anonymous said...

Hey, George, thanks for your comments! It is not my intention to beat this horse to death, but it's a slow Sunday, so what the heck... Anyone who has spent any reasonable amount of time in the DR knows that even the darkest-skinned Dominican will not appreciate being identified with anything black/African. A historical reason may be that the DR was invaded and governed by Haiti for about 30-plus years. There is no love lost between both nationalities. Most of the major Dominican holidays commemorate battles where the Haitians were defeated or the leaders that helped defeat the Haitians and sent them back across the border. The dictator, Trujillo, also did his part by having over 3,000 Haitian men, women, and children herded up like cattle and killed with machine guns, machetes, and whatever else his troops could find at the Massacre River which separates the two countries. The analogy goes somewhat like this: Haitian = Black, Haitian = Bad, so Black = Bad. Every once in a while, some politically-correct wannabe (usually from the U.S.A.) comes around and tries to instill this "Afro-Dominican" idea in the Dominican psyche. They listen for a few minutes, then turn back to their dominoes and their Presidentes, and it's business as usual.
From Puerto Rico,
Rafael

Raymond said...

So if you are a black latino and you are despised by your own latinos from time to time,or ostercized for being "negro" or "prieto" who are you going to tend to lean more towards when it comes to ethnicity and race? to claim afro is a sense of self- declaration as well as calling yourself just "latino". Anyway we see it, theres still madd racism/colorism going on throughout Latin America today, many try to say that we are color blind, sweeping it under the rug but we know we have some form of discrimination from time to time especially against other latinos particularly of darker hues because thats just what history has instilled in us. The question is "Will we override all that and just see and embrace each other for who we are"? us Caribbean Latinos we definitely gotta wake up and embrace all our ppl and heritages!!

Anonymous said...

Thanks, Rafael. I know what you mean about dark-skinned Dominicans' feelings on this issue. A good friend of mine in Santo Domingo is a very proud Dominican, which makes the sting all the more hurtful on occasions when he is looked down on or outright discriminated against by some lighter-skinned Dominicans.

And what do you mean, it's a slow Sunday? You're in Puerto Rico, where I heard it's never slow (LOL).

George in SF

Anonymous said...

Anthony - here are more facts about "African-Americans" in Samana and not from a Puerto Rican's perspective but rather DR1

http://www.dr1.com/forums/dominicans-abroad/47946-tribute-african-americans-samana.html

Anonymous said...

Just because Dominicans will not get into these "labels" does not mean they have that post-racial attitude exemplified by Barak Obama. Things have gotten incredibly better about these issues in the Dominican Republic, but we have a long ways to go. Luckily, and ironically, Balaguer's racist campaign against Pena Gomez seems to have mobilized Dominican intellectuals towards a more systematic appreciation of our African heritage. Believe me, as someone who was educated in the DR, racism was taught to us in very insidious ways that have seriously damaged our identity and our cultural expressions. I used to think we had the most boring folklore in the world, until Fradique Lizardo went into the countryside and came back with all these marvelous, African inspired dances and rituals. And he was not all that well received at first. Puerto Rico and Cuba may have issues with their African heritage, but at least it is acknowledged and honored, and it has produced great art. When Pales Matos and Guillen were doing their wonderful poesia negrista in the thirties, our authors could not bring themselves to write about black Dominicans. The black people in the most influential poetry of that time ("Compadre Mon", "Yelida", even the very enlightened stories by Bosch) were Haitians. I do understand the historical reasons for that, but it is time to move beyond it. And before we become post-racial, we have to truly undestand who we are. Do you know what it means to look in the mirror and think that you look like the enemy? Or refusing to see what's in front of you? Like I said, intellectuals are finally doing the exploration of our African roots in a systematic way. Hopefully they will become agents for a popular change towards embracing and celebrating (not just in a superficial way) our marvelous complexity. I am sorry about the rant, but I love my country, and one of my great hurts is how casual we can be sometimes about denying our heritage.
Ramon, in Jackson, Mississippi

Anonymous said...

Ramon, congratulations on your post. And, by the way, DR1 is a venting post for ex-patriates from the US, Canada, and other places who waste no time in negatively criticizing and ripping apart anything Dominican. I would take anything they post with more than a grain of salt. Talk about discrimination! They take the cake!Sheesh!
From Puerto Rico,
Rafael

Anonymous said...

Ramon- Thanks for the informative posts. I always find more value from an actual Dominican's view as opposed to an attempt at education from an outsider, whether it be Puerto Rican, American or Cuban. I'm sure that DR1 is more than a mere "venting post". I actually learned something about African Americans and Samana just as I learned about Lizardo from Ramon's comments. Hey Ant, I guess since this thread isn't about Boys and 11inch ----s and all things related, you won't see comments from some of your most vocal readers.(Smile)

Anonymous said...

Most of the posts on that other site, DRxx, are from some of the most angry, disillusioned, expats. Many of the posts seem to denigrate dominican woman and there's a deep, deep thread of hatred reserved for dominican men.

There are good nuggets of info, but you have to read through some pretty bitter comments from some really angry expats.

Anonymous said...

Ramon, thank you for continuing to comment on this. Although our heritages are very different, and my comments may be discounted by some as those of an "outsider," I share your feelings about this issue. (My only concern in your first post was the phrase "I guess we can't win," but maybe I took that too literally.)

I believe your "rant" (NOT!) expresses the same message as Barack's, that, as you say, "before we can become post-racial, we have to truly understand who we are." That is where Barack’s journey took him. I believe he would be the last person to say we are now post-racial, but he and the intellectuals and you and the other thoughtful contributors to this blog entry are all helping to get us there. It is indeed hurtful to be casual in denying one’s heritage. The challenge for all of us is to find ways to assert our heritages without labeling and compartmentalizing them for other people to use as a wedge.

After reading “Dreams From My Father,” I began wondering what kind of a person Barack would have become if his father had stuck around to raise him in the United States. His father in effect “by-passed” the three centuries of the American Black experience, but he certainly was not immunized against it once he arrived. Yet he left his child to be raised by his white mother and white grandparents. I wonder why. I mention this only because, to me, it adds another dimension to this whole complexity of racial identity and who we (think we) are. And to think that a person who could write such a book could become the next president of the United States is an awesome realization.

As you say, Ramon, the task is to keep learning. I know I don't have to tell you that that applies to us white folks too. Thanks again.

(Forgive me for hijacking your blog, Anthony.)

George in SF

Anonymous said...

Ramon,
Allow me to add my sincere 'thanks' for your comments. As long as we sing and dance, and give life to the party, that we are OK. The moment we broach the subject of racial identity, then we become loud, boisterous, abnoxious trouble makers!!!
Brien
NY

Anonymous said...

Good reading. I've never visited this blog before but was doing some searching to see if I could find other "afro-dominicans" in my area. I live in Georgia where the Dominican population is growing rapidly. And I'm happy b/c finally the SOUTH is learning that we come in all shades, hair types, body types, etc. As a woman with Dominican roots I've been scoffed at, snickered about and ridiculed b/c of my brown skin, kinky-curly hair and broad nose. I've had other Latinos wrinkle their nose at me when I start speaking Spanish. "Where are you from???" "Oh, you're negra!" Now that I'm 40 years old, I am able to deal with the racism from fellow Latinos, whites and even Black Americans/African-Americans (whatever label you choose) quite well but I remember it wasn't that easy a few years ago that I had serious issues with it. I embrace my African roots to the FULLEST yet know that the culture of DR is also a large part of me. I hope one day such stigmas as African being a bad word will pass. Thanks for allowing MHO to be heard!

~Marcia

Anonymous said...

Oh..do youknow about the blakc movement going through latin america right now?? do your research, more of these afro latinos that were brainwashed are learing the truth like us african americans did. There a afro dominican rapper in Dr. name Fulani..keep in mind that an african word used in latin america.come from the fulani tribe of africa..well hes a civil rights acitivist that has a black movement in Dr...oh check out this artical below
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Source: Obama Transition Team Extends Diversity Outreach To Afro-Latinos

By Bruno Gaston

International Editor

ATLANTA, Jan. 12, 2008, 12 a.m. - President-elect Barack Obama's transition team is inviting qualified Afro-Latino candidates to apply for sub cabinet, agency level, and policy level positions at the White House, according to a source.

Earl Francisco Lopez, chairman and CEO of the Bert Corona Leadership Institute, said that Afro-Latinos also have an opportunity with the Obama administration.

"I cannot say for sure that Afro-Latinos are being singled out," Lopez told Redding News Review. "I can say, based on my interaction and participation with the [presidential transition team], that they have made a verbal commitment to be diverse and inclusive and they have been made aware that Afro-Latinos are usually not included nor represented. As a result, I have been asked to collect resumes and submit them directly to the [presidential transition team]."

Robert Asprilla, who is Afro-Colombian and executive director of the Afro-Latino Development Alliance, has already worked on the Obama campaign's advance team in Pennsylvania reaching black and Latino voters.


Asprilla said the election successes that followed his experience will open doors for more Afro-Latinos looking for their place in U.S. politics.

"You're going to see more Afro-Latinos coming into the fold to work specifically in the northeast corridor and parts of Florida where you'll need a Latino and a black Latino to fulfill the role I played," Asprilla said. "There were specific cities in Pennsylvania like Lancaster and Allentown that had a strong African American community, but also a strong Latino community and since I spoke Spanish and was also black they [Obama Campaign] felt that I could bridge these communities together and so that was my task."

Asked if there will be a place for him in the Obama administration, Asprilla said, "They said if we're [campaign staff] interested in a job that we would be the first people they would consider."

Lopez said Obama's transition team will be accepting applications through January.

Less is More said...

Nice magazines! articles were very interesting. i wonder if Afro-Latinos have paginas amarillas too?