Going back home… [photo]


10149940_10152519646569863_921467001_nI’m not a pessimistic person.

I went home to Honduras to visit family and take care of some business. My [very short] time there was accompained by a barrell of emotions, meetings, and awareness.

I’m not a pessimistic person.

While in Honduras, I met a man in my nieghborhood who asked me to help raise funds for his new book. I agreed and will be starting a KickStart campaign (more details to follow). We sat and talked about his book and his audience. “Though I am a member of the Garifuna community,” he says “I’m not writing this book for Garifunas, but for everyone.” This comment sparked a greater conversation: Why aren’t you writing books for Garifunas?

And down the rabbit hole we went…

What is the current state of Garifunas in Honduras? What is the media and PACs not telling us? How can Garifunas in the USA help out people back home? What should be our priority, survival or preservation?

More details to come about my encounter and this fulfilling  conversation…

…did I mention? I’m not a pessimistic person, yet something happened while back home that prompted this list and post :

ANNOUNCEMENT to my fellow Latinos [mostly “indios”]

  1. Do not refer to Afro-Latinos in Honduras (probably, anywhere) as Negra/o or Negrita /o – Please refrain from using these names. By doing so you are dismissing all notions of my existence and reducing me to a skin color, not a person. I am a MORENA. A word that carries weight, history, and sacrifice. YOU imitate my food (everything, seriously), dance (punta), and language (Garifuna), so don’t pretend my heritage doesn’t deserve proper recognition. Without us, Honduras would be “Nuevo El Salvador”.  You have been warned.
  2. If I get on your rapidito and ask if you are leaving soon, you say no, I hop off, and you then allow two “indias” to hop right after me and drive off. THAT’S RACIST.
  3. If the front seat of your rapidito is empty and you tell me that no one can sit there and that I must sit in the back, but allow the next “indios” to sit there when they ask. THAT’S RACIST.
  4. If I walk into a bank and ask for help and you take a phone call while you’re trying to handle my transactions. THAT’S FUCKING RUDE.

It took the fear that my eruption would bring harm to my family and the desire to not be stranded in the middle of a country with the world’s highest murder rate to not curse each and every racist person out. But again…

I’m not a pessimistic person….so I blame it on the ignorance and made this list.

But to hear my mom say that it hurt her for us to experience this discrimination, broke me and made me a optimistic Garifuna nationalist.

Better right?

Below is an excerpt from a book that I read that clearly states and centralizes my frustration.

When the BBC surveyed Latin Americans in 2005 regarding the existence of racism, a significant number of respondents emphatically denied the existence of racism. Many, for instance, made statements such as “Ibero-Americans are not racist,” and “Ibero-America is not a racist region, for the simple fact that the majority of the population is either indigenous, creole, or mixed.”

Thus the denial of racism is rooted in what many scholars have critiqued as the “myth of racial democracy” – the notion that the racial mixture (mestizaje/mestiçagem) in a population is emblematic of racial harmony and insulated from racial discord and inequality. Academic scholarship has in the last twenty years critiqued Latin American “mestizaje” theories of racial mixture as emblematic of racial harmony. Yet, Latin Americans still very much adhere to the notion that racial mixture and the absence of Jim Crow racial segregation are such a marked contrast to the U.S. racial history that the region views itself as what I term “racially innocent.” Indeed, the extensive survey data from the Latin American Public Opinion Project’s “Americas Barometer 2010” demonstrates that biased Latin American racial ideologies have not completely evolved despite the existing scholarly critiques of mestizaje as a trope of racial innocence. For instance, in the Americas Barometer 2010 survey of Bolivia, Brazil, Colombia, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Guatemala, Mexico, and Peru, the vast majority of the country populations (of all races) agreed with the mestizaje notion that “racial mixture is good for the country.” In fact, more than 75 percent of all respondents agreed with the statement and largely endorsed the idea of interracial marriages. Yet, the Americas Barometer data also show that for those Latin Americans who did express disagreement with the idea of their children marrying black partners, the opposition level was dramatically greater from white respondents in contrast to black respondents. Specifically, in those countries where the Americas Barometer asked whether there was disagreement with one’s own children marrying a black person, such as Brazil, Colombia, the Dominican Republic, and Ecuador, the opposition by whites to interracial black marriages was on average 60 percent greater than the opposition of blacks to such marriages. (Other countries were asked about marriage to a person of indigenous descent.) These results thus accord with the long-standing data that marriage patterns in Latin America are generally racially endogamous.

The Americas Barometer 2010 data also indicate that white respondents in several Latin American countries are considerably more likely than other groups to state a preference for lighter skin. For instance, in Colombia, Ecuador, and the Dominican Republic, on average 26 percent of white respondents agreed that they would prefer lighter skin, in contrast to the 13 percent average of black respondents who prefer lighter skin. In Mexico and Peru, blacks on average had greater rates of preference for lighter skin (37%) than whites (26%). In Brazil the rate of white preference for lighter skin closely approximated blacks’ lighter-skin preference rate. Even socialist Cuba continues to manifest a preference for whiteness and a white opposition to interracial marriage. Moreover, in a 2004 comparison of implicit and explicit racial bias in the United States, Cuba, the Dominican Republic, and Puerto Rico, the rates of both implicit and explicit racial bias were higher in all three Latin American contexts as compared to the United States. Thus despite the overwhelming articulation of mestizaje as an indicator of racial harmony across much of Latin America and the different ways that it is articulated within each country, attitudes of racial distinction and superiority persist beneath the celebration of racial mixture. In part, the absence of a legal critique of the Latin American comparisons to the Jim Crow United States has enabled the Latin American “racial innocence” stance to remain.  – “Racial Subordination in Latin America: The Role of the State, Customary Law …” By Tanya Katerí Hernández

Needless to say, my trip back home was a reminder that no matter how much we are brainwashed to believe that things are better, we have yet to rid ourselves of the pervasive truth regarding discrimination against Afros in Latin America.

Post-racial society my ass.



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