So. Today marks day one of Hispanic Heritage Month. While I do plan to post “Hispanic” heritage-y things over the course of the next 30 days, I’m also kind of loathe to even acknowledge the “month.” I mean, come on. We get half of two different months as our “month.” That’s such a freaking ripoff. I don’t care if 5 Latin countries gained their independence on September 15. It’s still not a proper month.
Anyway, I’ll start with this:
TIME has an article up about the history of black Mexicans—and the subsequent racism they experience to this day.
The first town of freed African slaves in the Americas is not exactly where you would expect to find it — and it isn’t exactly what you’d expect to find either. First, it’s not in the United States. Yanga, on Mexico’s Gulf Coast, is a sleepy pueblito founded by its namesake, Gaspar Yanga, an African slave who led a rebellion against his Spanish colonial masters in the late 16th century and fought off attempts to retake the settlement. The second thing that is immediately evident to vistors who reach the town’s rustic central plaza: there are virtually no blacks among the few hundred residents milling around the center of town.
…Many of the country’s mexicanos negros (black Mexicans), as they are called, know that their ancestors arrived in chains on boats that docked at ports in the sultry, steamy state of Veracruz. But they don’t know much else. Indeed, Afro-Mexicans say that much of the history of los mexicanos negros is untaught or ignored by the rest of the country.
…The Afro-Mexicans face considerable hurdles. Prevailing stereotypes paint the group as happy to live the simple life apart from the rest of society, with no interest in education. The all-black shantytowns near Yanga lack schools, and eager young migrants who move to bigger cities for work complain of blatant discrimination. A report released late last year by Mexico’s Congress said that roughly 200,000 black Mexicans who reside in the rural areas of Veracruz and Oaxaca and in tourist cities like Acapulco are out of the reach of social programs like employment support, health coverage, public education and food assistance.