Friday, January 6, 2012

Black Like Me - Black People In Colombia, South America

Written by Azizi Powell

This item on the news just caught my attention: a 14 year old African American girl from Dallas, Texas away from home, was arrested a year later in Houston, Texas for theft, gave the police and later immigration officials the name of a Colombian woman, and then was deported when it turns out the woman whose name she gave was in the United States illegally.

That news report is disturbing on a number of levels. But one thing that struck me was that since that brown skinned African American girl with "tightly curled" hair was mistakenly believed to be Colombian, that means that some Colombians must look like her. While this shouldn't have come as a surprise to me, I confess that I grew up in the 1950s thinking that the only Black people in the world lived in Africa, the United States, Canada, and the Caribbean. And (since I didn't equate Cuba with the Caribbean, it wasn't until I was in college in the mid 1960s that I learned that there were lots of dark skinned folks with kinky hair who live in Cuba. The public education system and the mass media can be partly blamed for this lack of knowledge. But, given the existence of YouTube and other internet offerings, if teens & adults nowadays in the USA are as ignorant about Black people thoroughout the world as I was way back in the 1950s and 1960, then some of the blame lies with those teens and adults. And another portion of the blame for this abysmal lack of knowledge about Black people throughout the world has to be given to those Black and non-Black people who know that information but aren't effectively sharing it.

That said, here are excerpts from the Wikipedia page for Colombia:
[Colombia] is located in northwestern South America, bordered to the east by Venezuela and Brazil; to the south by Ecuador and Peru; to the north by the Caribbean Sea; to the northwest by Panama; and to the west by the Pacific Ocean.Colombia has maritime borders with Venezuela, Jamaica, Haiti, the Dominican Republic, Honduras, Nicaragua and Costa Rica.[11][12] Colombia is the 26th largest country by area and the 27th largest by population, and the third largest in South America after Brazil and Argentina...

The census data in Colombia does not record ethnicity, other than that of those identifying themselves as members of particular minority ethnic groups, so overall percentages are essentially estimates from other sources and can vary from one to another. According to the CIA World Factbook, the majority of the population (58%) is Mestizo, or of mixed European and Amerindian ancestry. Approximately 20% of the population is of European ancestry (predominantly Spanish, partly Italian, Portuguese, and German). The CIA World Factbook also states that 14% of Colombia's total population is of mixed African and European ancestry, with 3% being of mixed African and Amerindian ancestry, and 4% having primarily African ancestry. Indigenous Amerindians comprise only 1% of the population. Other sources claim that up to 29% of Colombians (13 million people) have some African ancestry.


Here are two videos that are can be useful in helping to raise awareness about the presence & cultures of Black people in Colombia, South America, and in other South American nations:

"Afrolatinos: The Untaught Story" - Independent Sources

Uploaded by AfroPrideTV on Apr 29, 2010

Young U.S. born Afrolatinos are looking to learn more about their African roots.

" I DO NOT OWN THIS VIDEO ". This video belongs to Marlene Peralta.

Black/African-descent communities of Choco, Colombia

Uploaded by rootsnlivity on Apr 21, 2007

A small insight on the Black/African-descendant communities of the department of Choco in the Colombian Pacific coast. This clip is from the 1995 documentary "Secrets of the Choco".


Note: This video contains brief scenes of women breast feeding (scenes which unfortunately might be problematic for some school districts in the United States).


For a related pancocojams post, click Black Mexicans & Black Peruvians

Thanks for reading this pancocojams post.

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