Let’s Talk About Race (in Latin@ Communities)

Bring up racism amongst those from Latin America and you’ll often get an exasperated groan, followed by something about how class is the predominate stratifying principle in Latin America, and a plea to stop applying your U.S.-based take on race to those in Latin America and the Caribbean. They may even throw in a “we’re all mixed” or “what is race?” rejoinder for good measure.

They will likely bring up the fluidity of racial boundaries as a way of suggesting that the struggles around this form of discrimination have their own set of particularities when in a different setting like Latin America, and that these particularities absolve them from dealing with contradictory experiences of Afro-Latin@s that reveal a peculiarly hidden racism.

Read the rest Melissa M. Valle’s illuminating article here on nacla’s website.

 

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Racecraft: Barbara Fields & Ta-Nehisi Coates in Conversation

Barbara Fields, professor of history at Columbia University, discusses her new book Racecraft—and the persistent illusions of a post-racial America—with the Atlantic’s Ta-Nehisi Coates. As Barack Obama begins his second term, the notion that we’re enjoying a “post-racial” age has gained traction. But what do we mean when we invoke that phrase? “Whatever the ‘post’ may mean in ‘post-racial,'” writes Fields in her fierce new book Racecraft: The Soul of Inequality in American Life, “it cannot mean that racism belongs to the past.” A former MacArthur Fellow and the first African American woman to receive tenure at Columbia, Fields specializes in the history of the American south and 19th-century social history. Ta-Nehisi Coates is a senior editor and blogger at the Atlantic, where he writes on culture, politics, and social issues. He is the author of the memoir The Beautiful Struggle: A Father, Two Sons, and an Unlikely Road to Manhood, and his writing has appeared in the New York Times Magazine, the Washington Post, and Time, among many other publications.