Monday, October 02, 2006

As if "Blackness" and "Latino-ness" Don't Intersect

Last week in class, I had a hell of a hard time explaining that blackness and the African diaspora in the Americas include LatinAmericans/Latinos. Students were very resistant to the concept that "The Black Atlantic" can include Latin America. The most difficult assumption to break (in their case) is that the music of the English and French-speaking Caribbean is somehow "blacker" (across the board) than the music of the Spanish-speaking Caribbean.

It was an odd discussion we had. Their objections were based more on preconceived notions than facts but they were nevertheless very resistant to the facts. I had no audiovisual material at the moment (aside from reggae and reggaeton tracks) to make it all more concrete for them, so I have been looking for the best ammunition possible to put the matter to rest once and for all. I am confident some musical/visual material will persuade them.

I have access to some early 90s documentaries on music and the African diaspora, like Routes of Rhythm. I can also play clips from the JVC/Smithsonian video collection on Caribbean roots music. But I am wondering if anyone has anything else to recommend.

A recent documentary that illustrates musically The Black Atlantic (Paul Gilroy's book) or "The Caribbean as a Musical Region" (Kenneth Bilby's article) would be ideal, particularly if it includes more contemporary expressions like hip hop and reggaeton.

Where is that documentary? I can't find it! Does it just not exist? Does this mean that it is up to one of us to make it (or somehow facilitate the making of it)?


Anonymous said...

this troubles me as well
i spend way too much time pointing out afromexicans, quoting facts on the african presence in Colombia, asking why blacks in PR and the DR and Cuba are somehow less black than Haitians or other nonAnglo black caribbeans
Robert Roena, Tite Curet, Pedro Albizu etd- all pppl who I would call BLACK and PR I point out to others.
Why AAs especially refuse to see any kinship with afro-latins and refuse to recognize the common ancestry, the fact that much of AfroLatin culture is MORE african than AA culture in the US, boggles my mind.

Why it has to be Either/Or and not Both/And, I dont know. But it is something that bothers me a lot.

raquelzrivera said...

Exactly! That's a great way to put it: Both/And

Folks have left some interesting feedback on the topic on this same blog that I keep in

l. rolando said...