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Archive for the ‘Afro-Latinos’ Category

Afro-Latinos are those in the New World who are black by race, or at least mixed with black, and Latin by culture. Females are called Afro-Latinas. They mostly come from one of two places:

  • the Caribbean region, which has as many black and mixed people as America, about 40 million. Most live in Cuba, Haiti and the Dominican Republic.
  • Brazil, which has half of all the black and mixed people in the New World.

There are other blacks here and there in Latin America, like in Uruguay.

A few well-known Afro-Latinos or those with Afro-Latino roots:

The blackest countries in Latin America which have at least a million black and mixed people:

  1. 98% Haiti: 9.8m
  2. 64% Dominican Republic: 8.5m
  3. 62% Cuba: 7.1m
  4. 49% Brazil: 91.2m
  5. 21% Colombia: 9.0m
  6. 10% Venezuela: 2.7m

Puerto Rico has almost a million. The western shore of the Caribbean has another million spread between different countries.

America – in very round numbers – has about 3 million (not counting Puerto Rico):

  • 0.5m Haitians
  • 0.6m black Hispanics, mainly from the Caribbean
  • 2.0m Creoles, whose roots go back to French New Orleans but now are pretty much Americanized

There are three times more Afro-Latinos than Afro-Americans – because sugar in the Caribbean and Brazil brought in way more slave labour from Africa than did cotton or tobacco in North America.

Some main points to keep in mind:

  • There is no One Drop Rule in Latin countries. So those who are mixed do not see themselves as black and look down on pure blacks. That means colourism runs deeper and yet there is more race mixing.
  • Like America, Latin countries kept black slaves and so have racist beliefs about blacks too. On the other hand, the law in Latin countries comes from Roman law where slaves had certain rights, like buying their freedom or taking their master to court. They were not mere property as in Anglo law.
  • They freed their slaves but never went through a civil rights movement. Note, though, that Haiti had a revolution.

Racism: just as in America, black and mixed people have lower reading scores, die younger and are twice as likely to live in poverty.

Languages: Portuguese, Spanish, French, Haitian Creole.

Religion: most are Roman Catholics, though often practised with African elements. Voodoo, Candomble and Santeria come from African beliefs. Most of the African Diaspora is Catholic – something you would never guess from living in North America or the West Indies.

Music: Afro-Latinos have given the world new kinds of music, like jazz, merengue, salsa, mambo and samba.

– Abagond, 2009.

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