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Archive for the ‘Cuba’ 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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angela_davis_blogspot

Angela Davis went from Brownie to Communist, from bookworm to black revolutionary. To her it seemed natural.  To accept American society the way it is would be to accept that there is something wrong with black people.

She grew up under Jim Crow in the American South in the 1950s in Birmingham, Alabama. Her parents taught her to think for herself. The black schools in Birmingham were in terrible shape, but they did teach her black pride and black history. What she did not learn at school she made up for by reading books.

In 1959 at age 15 she won a scholarship to study at a private high school in New York: Elisabeth Irwin High School. It was where all the teachers who were too left-wing for public schools went to teach. Her school did not turn her into a communist, but it did make communism a respectable opinion.

She got another scholarship, this one to Brandeis University. She was almost the only black person there. She largely kept to herself – it was easier that way – and so she read and read, read books of French and books of philosophy – and books of French philosophy.

In 1963 she went abroad to study a year in France. She was barely in France when news hit that four black girls were killed in the bombing of a Birmingham church. She knew two of them. From growing up in Birmingham she knew bombings were used to keep blacks in line by fear and terror.

She noticed that the French saw the Algerians like how whites saw blacks back home. The Algerians were fighting a war to free themselves from French rule.

After Brandeis she studied philosophy in Germany under Theodor Adorno and then under Herbert Marcuse in San Diego in America. Of all the schools of philosophy she thought Marxism was the closest to the truth.

One summer she went to Cuba with friends, helping to cut sugar cane and seeing first-hand how communism had overturned racism.

Then back in America she saw first-hand how the Los Angeles police tried to wipe out the Black Panthers.

The police ruled the ghetto by fear and terror, not law and order. Shooting a man in the back they called “justifiable homicide”. They would break up protests by blacks, not allowing them the right of peaceful assembly. They would break into houses without a warrant and start shooting.  In the prisons it was even worse. The police and the prisons did whatever they wanted to black people –  the courts and the press did not care.

The only way to make them care was to stage mass protests. She helped to do this first as part of SNCC and then the Communist Party. She joined the Communist Party in July 1968 by paying 50 cents in dues. From her study of philosophy she found they had the best-grounded ideas and from her experience of Cuba they were the only ones who proved they could overthrow racism.

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