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"There are No Black People in Argentina" Really?

Here is a story I found fascinating. Its from 2005, but I still found it engaging and learned a thing or two about communities that struggle to find a collective identity after being written off in history books. In 1810 30% of Argentinians were black. Now it is 1.8%. The article states that the conventional knowledge says the reason for the drop had been either war, where they were on the frontlines, or yellow fever. But they're still there, albeit some of them a little lighter skinned.

I found it curious that people who visibly look black are forced to pass as white, since (at the time of this article), there was no racial category of "Afro-Argentine" forAfroargentine
them to check. So essential Argentina is all white. Really? I think something similar happens in Brazil, where people say they are "muy, muy moreno" instead of "negro".

"

Argentina was interested in presenting itself as a white
country," said George Reid Andrews, a history professor at the
University of Pittsburgh who has specialized in black history in Latin
America. "Its ideologues and writers put a great emphasis on the yellow
fever epidemic and the war, and it was feasible to pretend that the
black population had simply disappeared as immigration exploded."

*photo by

Silvina Frydlewsky of the Washington Post

 

Estimates
of the current population of blacks in Buenos Aires are essentially
wild guesses, partly because the Argentine government has not reflected
African racial
ancestry in its census counts in well over a century."

 

 

 


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