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Latin American Anti-racism in a 'Post-Racial' Age - LAPORA

 

Since the colonization of what we know now as the Americas emerged categories that previously did not exist. Although there was not yet a discourse structurally formed in terms of the existence of races, categories of what means to be human are re-defined and they were imposed ideas of superiority and inferiority that were previously did not exist but that endure until nowadays in Mexico. For example, it was during the colony that the notion of mestizo arises, nevertheless this concept could allude to diverse social status, according to which it would be related to the Indian or the Spanish. Such is the case of the Spanish mestizos, those with possibilities of whitening and able to rise in society through class and to be considered like Spaniards. On the other hand, black populations and their descendants occupied the second place in population density in La Nueva España. This is reaffirmed in the first census of the west of Mexico in 1790 where, once the Creole elites had displaced the Indians of cities like Guadalajara, mulatos represented 50% of the total population.

At present, there are 1,386,000 Afromexicans, who are scattered throughout the country, but they have a significant representation in states like Guerrero, Oaxaca and Veracruz. However, despite the fact that the practices of racism in Mexico cannot be understood without the colonial past, the ideology of the mestizaje that emerged in the post-revolutionary period also has a significant influence. The ideology of mestizaje was a racial, economic and political strategy to generate a whiter model of nation. The indigenous population had to stop being “Indians” and the rest had to look for the possibility of whitening during the passage of generations. It should also be noted that it was from the 1930s that the concept of race was eliminated for the counting of the indigenous population in Mexico, and instead the language was used as a way of identifying "the indigenity". So that otherness was built according to linguistic criteria. As a consequence, it was asserted that racism no longer existed and that what had to be fought was the class problem. In 1991, Mexico subscribed to ILO Convention 169, which opened the possibility of amending Article 4 of the Mexican Constitution in 1992, which recognized that Mexico was a multicultural country, but at the same time it was legislated against one of the key bastions to the reproduction of indigenous communities: article 27 of the Constitution was amended, which removed the threefold condition of indigenous territories, to be unenclosed, inalienable and indivisible.

Despite this and today, the anti-racist practice in Mexico is not a strategy that runs in one direction, but must be read, on the one hand, through indigenous resistance and opposition to civilizational and development projects materialized in the conservation of their languages, in the creation of their own epistemological matrices or in autonomic projects, as well as the exploration of the experience of be Afroindian, negro, moreno o mestizo through cultural and artistic projects from the afrodescendent population. In parallel, a smaller sector of the academic in Mexico has also enriched the antiracist practices. With the accompaniment that the academy has provided to various social movements, or with the analysis of the logics of the Mexican state, attempts have been made to generate a grammar of anti-racism and a more politicized discourse about "race." Any direction that wants to be explored in the context of the second decade of the 21st century, needs to recognize that it was the zapatista indigenous movement, that in 1994 brought the discussion of racism at stake in the public sphere. This allows us to understand, for example, the anti-racist leadership of the academy that emerged in the 1990s and which today are a fundamental reference for understanding the discussion of racism in Mexico, as well as the multicultural and intercultural policies of the early 1990s. Through rigorous analysis of specific cases, this project seeks to trace these actions of the last decades through analytical frameworks such as social movements, cultural production and legislation.