Tag Archives: racism

Another Day in the Dominican Republic: Threatening Blackness in Quisqueya

Posted by Amanda Moreno – MA/MSLIS Candidate at CLACS and The Palmer School of Library and Information Science at Long Island University – Manhattan

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Graffiti on Calle César Nicolás Pensón and Avenida Máximo Gómez demanding the expulsion of Haitians from Dominican Republic. Photo by Amanda Moreno, May 2015.

I noticed the graffiti on my way to dinner the night I arrive in the Dominican Republic. Outside of what I later learned is the equivalent of a papal embassy in Santo Domingo’s upper middle class neighborhood of Gazcue, the haphazard stenciling connotes an all too common message to Haitians living on the eastern two-thirds of the island of Hispaniola: get out, you are not wanted here. Continue reading

Bagua Not Forgotten

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June 5 marked five years since the bloodshed in the Peruvian city of Bagua, situated in the Amazon. The Peruvian government negotiated a Free Trade Agreement with the United States that came into effect in February of 2009. It gave mining corporations special rights to access the Amazon for oil exploration and subsequent exploitation.  There were numerous protests that year from multiple indigenous groups, like the awajun and wampis. In June, President Alan Garcia declared a state of emergency and sent in the Peruvian National Police to stop the protests.  At least 33 people were killed, including members of the police and indigenous groups.  Although some politicians resigned their posts, like the then Prime Minister Yehude Simon, no politicians have been brought to justice as being the intellectual perpetrators of the crime. Many Peruvians now view both the police and the awajun and wampis peoples as victims of a game in which the players care much more for the benefit of transnationals and their own pockets than the lives of “second class citizens,” as  President Garcia defined them when asked what he thought of the happenings on June 5, 2009.

Starting at around 5:00 at the Plaza San Martin, a wide array of different organizations began a a demonstration in commemoration of the day of the Earth and the fifth anniversary of the bloodshed at Bagua.

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Many different leaders spoke to the crowd of about 100 people at the Plaza San Martin that evening. Between every speaker the crowd cried out in unison: “Conga no va! Conga no va! Toromocho tampoco! Toromocho tampoco!”  The first is a protest against a gold and copper mining project led by Newmont Corporation in Cajamarca, the second a copper and molybdenum mining project led by Minera Chinalco Peru.  Newmont is U.S.-owned, while Chinalco’s roots go all the way to China.

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“Racism Does Exist – But I Have Never Experienced It”

I came to Spain to better understand the Ecuadorian immigrant experience in regards to racism and discrimination.  What I found was that racism does exist in Spain and it is apparent in the laws and policies constituted by the Spanish government.  While these laws and policies directly affect Ecuadorian immigrants, the Ecuadorian immigrants that I spoke with were not very open in discussing their own experiences of racism.  Many believed that racism was a problem in Spain, but didn’t recount personal experiences of it.  Often, when racism was discussed, people spoke of the racist government and policies that have been making things difficult for them as immigrants, yet racism was rarely used to describe experiences with these policies.

Ecuadorian immigrants spoke of the immigration policies implemented by the newest president that have made it difficult for them to become citizens.  Some even referred to these policies as “racist,” yet others did not equate the policies as a personal experience of racism, even when they were being directly affected.  One immigrant had been waiting a year since he filed papers to become a Spanish citizen.  He stated that before the economic crisis, it only took a year to complete the process and it was very easy, but now, it could take twice as long.  Despite the policies directly affecting him, he did not seem to think that this was a racist or anti-immigrant issue.

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Police inside a Metro Station

Another policy that was heavily discussed among Ecuadorian immigrants was the policy of police checking papers and legal statuses of anyone in the country.  While the police have the right to check anyone’s papers, they have been known to mainly check those of racial minorities.  One immigrant said that the police would never check the papers of a “rubia,” but that they often ask immigrants for their documentation.  While this immigrant seemed to deny that Spain was a racist country despite his own experience of being asked for his papers, he referred to the police asking for documentation as “racism.” Continue reading

La Crisis: Economy and Racism in Spain

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“Unite Against Racism” banner displayed during the 2012 Euro Cup

Not only is Spain facing an economic crisis but the people here are expressing angst and frustration towards the government for its incompetence to aid its people.  The current Prime Minister of Spain, Mariano Rajoy Brey, was sworn into office this past December.  While he has only been in office for 8 months, he has not been popular among the people, especially the immigrant community.  One Ecuadorian immigrant expressed that the former Prime Minister worked to get immigrants documented and legalized, while “Rajoy is racist and doesn’t do anything” for them.

Much has been speculated about the correlation between the growing economic crisis in Spain and the racism and xenophobia directed towards immigrants.  It has been argued that the tension caused by “la crisis,” as the locals call it, has only intensified fears of job loss, which could then cause Spaniards to resent those who could potentially take jobs away from Spanish citizens. Continue reading

Contemporary Racisms Explored in CLACS Fall Colloquium

Mónica Moreno Figueroa launches the fall colloquium with her talk on, "Naming Ourselves: Recognising Racism and Mestizaje in Mexico." Photo: courtesy Juan Victor Fajardo

Each semester, CLACS hosts a research colloquium, featuring diverse themes related to Latin America. The colloquium series pairs graduate level courses with a speaker series, and is often a platform for scholars to share new research.

This fall, the CLACS Colloquium is titled “Contemporary Racisms in the Americas.” As stated on the CLACS website, “This colloquium will explore emergent racisms in the Americas as integral to the multicultural and what some have called “post racial” present defined within larger processes of economic and cultural globalization and transnational migration. It will also deepen the understanding of different theoretical and methodological approaches to the study of contemporary forms of racism as major obstacles to the construction of intercultural relations, racial and economic justice, and democracy.”

Pamella Calla, a Bolivian anthropologist and visiting Associate Professor at CLACS, is leading the series.

“I wanted to connect CLACS with a larger initiative – the formation of a network of racism observers in the hemisphere.  And I wanted CLACS to be a model for academic thought and activism, where students would have the opportunity to become a part of the network,  mixing advocacy and academia, and also deepen academic thought and scholarship,” Calla said.

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