CORTESIA: COLECCION AFRODESC
English Translation (Selected Excerpts):
First, what are the elements or features of differentiation that were mobilized, imposed or appropriated over time to produce or reproduce black or Afrodescendant “specificities”?
When we started the program, we placed particular emphasis on the role of slavery and its abolition in the structuring of societies, and their affiliation with contemporary political and cultural mobilizations. Currently, the emphasis is placed on the power relations and accelerated processes of ethnicization and racialization that happens today in all the cases studied, under different modalities. Together with the original African Diaspora, coming from the slave trade and slavery of European modernity, we find multiple diasporas, more defined, resulting from colonial rivalries and US capitalism of the XIX century, for which slavery becomes a reference among many others.
On the other hand, to what extent is the “afro” distinction essential to the Nation States? Is it considered endogenous or foreign (In the biological sense of “foreign bodies”) to these societies, and by whom?
For two or three decades Afro-descendant organizations have mobilized against its historical invisibility in the official versions of national history. In Latin America, these demands often led to criticism and rejection of the ideology of mestizaje. This, which was proposed as the basis of national identity from the XIX century, today is interpreted by various sectors as an agent of forced cultural homogenization. More recently in France, the protests have contributed to discussions on the republican model of undifferentiated citizenship. In both cases, the controversy over racial mixing is largely ideological. More than the process or the act of mixing itself, historically undeniable on both sides of the Atlantic, is its interpretation that reaches a certain political importance. The analysis of these discussions, or their relative scarcity in France for example – makes clear the power relations, minoritization and dependence, which are the basis for the integration of the national “other” to “we”.
Finally, what are the policies that have been put in to place, nationally, but also, increasingly, internationally and transnationally, to manage this reconstructed otherness, whether it is imposed, recognized, claimed, or assumed?
Although, since 1980, American countries such as Canada and Colombia have been something of a global laboratory of multiculturalism, other countries in Central America, the Caribbean and Europe have not followed the trends. Some observers even consider them exceptions against a model of linear and generalized evolution towards multicultural emancipation. We refute this logic and propose other approaches, more in context and finally more suitable for understanding this complexity and to imagine a future outside of all kinds of identity constraints. For example, we propose, questioning indigenismo / mestizaje / multiculturalism in Mexico; to assess local contexts as transporters of belonging and mobilization, including in areas of migration and trans-national circulation in the Caribbean; highlighting a social multiculturalism without political multiculturalism in Belize; or emphasizing the political instrumentation of these debates and the retention of racial descriptions, as in France, Mexico and Colombia.
In concert with the ambitions of AFRODESC programs and EURES-CL-WP4, these three areas of empirical and theoretical development – on the memory of slavery, mestizaje, multiculturalism – contributed to denounce the false evidence, provide some answers and open new avenues for scientific and citizen questions that without any doubt will increase in the coming years.