Race in Latin America, Discussion Needed

In the following excerpt from AfrolatinTalks hosted by The Afrolatin@ Project (a series of scholarly, relaxed conversations held at Cubana Social during the second day of Afrolatino Festival NYC 2015), Ariel Fernández-Díaz and Dash Harris discuss race in Latin America.

Reflection: Afrolatino Festival NYC 2015

First watch the video. Then read the transcription while listening to the excerpt. Later reflect on these questions.

Transcription: Ariel Fernández-Díaz & Dash Harris – AfrolatinTalks

Ariel Fernández-Díaz

I think the whole Latin America, and especially on the leftist movement in Latin America, this pressure about resisting against US imperialism, I think many other countries do the same, they don’t want to discuss race because for them race is something that divides people instead of unites people and this is the reason they use, behind. And I think that we need to take some whole discussion about race in all Latin America and in the whole Caribbean. It’s a discussion we haven’t taken yet.

Just right now the UN declared the first ten years of African descendants. It’s something that is taking place little by little. Hip hop music definitely helped a lot. In the particular case of Cuba it was hip hop who really brought the topic out to the masses.

Again, it’s a discussion that needs to be taken and I think it’s spaces like this… also, in the United States, it’s necessary because sometimes we talk about Latinos like one big thing and we don’t talk about the micro-identities of Latinos or about the Afrolatinidad, so I really think it’s spaces like this which help start the conversation.

Dash Harris

Yeah, I think that Afrolatinos themselves have to demand it, because the dominant group isn’t because it’s not within their interests to address it. They don’t want their dirty laundry aired out. And so, like Ariel mentioned, I think it’s spaces and dialog and reflection and then praxis, action, on our parts to actually bring that to the forefront, to the mainstream, awareness.

And so in talking about the social injustices and history and reclaiming our history and making sure our history is known, we have to continue building our communities at the same. And with that I feel that Afrolatinos are doing more and more, like this festival. Mai-Elka and Amilcar and the rest of the team are doing something with passion. So I think it’s valuable, there’s huge value in the people demanding, not asking, not tiptoeing, demanding that they be heard and seen.

Interview with Ariel Fernández-Díaz, Creator of AFROCUBA!

Afrolatinas and Positive Visual Representation: Dash Harris

Additional Resources

To learn more about Ariel Fernández-Díaz, visit his official website. To learn more about Dash Harris, follow her on Twitter. Come back each day throughout August to see new interviews carried out during the Afrolatino Festival NYC 2015.

Related Units