Black and Black/Afro-Indigenous Multimodal Resistance to Mestizaje in Multicultural México

Authors: Ashley Agbasoga*, Northwestern University
Topics: Ethnicity and Race, Latin America
Keywords: Blackness, Indigeneity, Racialized Geographies, Mestizaje, Gender
Session Type: Virtual Paper
Day: 4/7/2021
Start / End Time: 4:40 PM / 5:55 PM
Room: Virtual 10
Presentation File: No File Uploaded


In 2015, México counted its Afrodescendant population for the first time in its intercensal survey since the official institutional abolition of racial categories in 1821. Further, in April 2019, the Mexican Senate voted unanimously to recognize Afro-Mexicans in its constitution. While this recognition and inclusion is heralded as a victory by some,Black, Afrodescendant, and Afro-Indigenous collectives throughout Mexico have grappled with the terms of state recognition. Simultaneously, a series of reports of mistreatment and denial of entry for migrants from West Africa, the Caribbean and Central America by Mexico's new National Guard are on the rise, illuminating an articulated xenophobia and through anti-Black and anti-Indigenous narratives.

This paper is interested in the ways in which these "contradictions" are lived through the configuration of space in Mexico City with those considered Black / Afro-Indigenous. How does the presence and lived experiences of Black / Afro-Indigenous peoples, regardless of their citizenship status, challenge and collapse the nationalist narratives of not only miscegenation that excluded blackness, but also change nationalist demands on blackness and rights for only some? Organizations continue to challenge the supposed neutrality of Mexican law, citing the deeply entrenched anti-Black and anti-Indigenous racism that stems from Mexico’s mestizaje ideology that continues to shape articulations of the Mexican citizen and the country’s geography. I focus on the creation of spaces of Black / Afro-Indigenous communities in Mexico City to illuminate the continuing presence of blackness and indigeneity throughout the country but especially in its urban centers.

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