A Forced and Torturous Journey to Las Américas
In Betweenness: Triple Consciousness
Flores and Jiménez Roman say that negros/negras of Latin American descent experience in the US a triple consciousness. “In studying the historical and contemporary experience of the United States Afro-Latin@, one ever feels his three-ness,—a Latin@, a Negro, an [US] American; three souls, three thoughts, three unreconciled strivings; three warring ideals in one dark body…” (Flores & Jiménez Román, 2009)
What do you think of the idea of triple consciousness? Does it resonate with you? Do you think it effectively reflects the experiences of Afro-Latinxs in the US? Discuss it with three partners (1.5 minutes each)
Who are Afro-Latinos/as/x?
Visibly Black people, negros/negras, or Afro-descendants (brown mulatas/os/es) of Latin American heritage.
There are more Afro-descendants in Latin America and the Caribbean than in North America but US-American exceptionalism has created what Dominican scholar Lorgia García Peña calls “hegemonic blackness” (2022) or the understanding of blackness from Anglo perspectives and interests.
“Broadly speaking, the word ‘Afro-Latin@’ can be viewed as an expression of long-term transnational relations and of the world events that generated and were in turn affected by particular global social movements.” (Flores & Jiménez Román, 2009)
(Some examples: Panafrican movements/ Pan Caribbean movements/ Black Live Matters movements)
Presenting the Afro-Latin@Reader
Invisibility as Strength
Formerly enslaved, self-emancipated Africans or maroons or cimarrones escaped plantations and colonial governments and created remote settlements in mountains, caves, mangroves, etc. preserving their culture, languages, and religions (not without frictions, warfare, or political negotiations). To this day cimarronaje/ maroonage implies the creation of alternative worlds and ways of being in the world (embodiments) that are particular to Black people.
Invisibility as Social Exclusion
.In the U.S., Afro-Latinx invisibility is augmented since Afro-Latinxs physically appear black but are not African-American and not stereotypically Latinx (Cruz-Janzen, 2002; Flores & Jiménez Román, 2009; Jiménez Román & Flores, 2010; Romo, 2011).
.Erasure is due partly to the aggregation of Latinxs into a single ethnic category, masking unique within-group differences such as race, nationhood, language proficiency, and sexual orientation. (López, Vargas, Juarez, Cacari-Stone, & Bettez, 2017).
.The mestizaje ideology (mejorar la raza) was based on eugenics (the idea that Black DNA is defective, and contaminated) and even though it accepts the African heritage its purpose has always been to achieve proximity to whiteness and erase blackness gradually. It leaves intact the colorist order of the Spanish and Portuguese caste systems. Latinidad thus has being constructed as “decidedly non-black – and in significant ways discursively anti-black” (Flores & Jiménez Román, 2009, p. 325). AfroLatinx’s identities defy the separate relationship often associated with blackness and Latinidad.
Discuss the historical Afro-Latin@ Presence in the US during different time periods as presented by Jiménez Román and Flores.
Group One: Early Colonial Period (Pages 4-5)
Group Two: Nineteenth and Early Twentieth Centuries (Pages 5-8)
Group Three: 1960s- early 2000s (Pages 8-11)