Black people can be found all over the world. There are OVER 130 million Black people in Latin America. We are of African descent.
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So many people in America seem to not know the difference between nationality, ethnicity, culture and race.
However, this isn’t something that only affects Black people or African American people. I’ve even heard white people say things like “I’m half white and half French”. Some people don’t realise that you can’t be half nationality and half race. They are two completely different things.
There are many African Americans that don’t realise there are many Black people outside of the United States of America. African Americans are not the only Black people.
Latino and Hispanic are not races.
In Latin America’s colonial period, more than 15 times as many enslaved Africans were trafficked to Spanish and Portuguese colonies than to the U.S. Today, there are over 130 million people of African descent in Latin America. Making up roughly a quarter of the total population. According to estimates from the Project on Ethnicity and Race in Latin America (PERLA) at Princeton University.
With this information in mind, there are only 44 million Black people in the United States, with 26% of this number being Black people of different cultures and ethnicities.
You also have to bear in mind that these are only the Black people that actually identify as Black or of African descent. So the numbers of Black people outside of the United States might actually be much higher. Because sadly there are so many Black people within Latin America that also deny their Blackness even if they look just like someone from west Africa.
Denying your Blackness.
There is a long history in Latin America of Black people identifying as white, even if they are predominately Black.
In Puerto Rico there was a law known as “Regla del Sacar” which molded how many Puerto Ricans today classify themselves racially. This law dictated that a person of African ancestry could be considered LEGALLY WHITE, so long as they could prove that at least one person in the last four generations had also been legally white descent.
Therefore, people of African ancestry with known European lineage were classified as “white”, the opposite of the “one-drop rule” in the United States.
Recent ancestry and DNA studies on the island maintain that a majority of Puerto Ricans are actually of significant African descent and/or ethnically mixed. However a recent study shows that Black and mixed Puerto Ricans do not feel the need to identify with their African ancestry.
Puerto Rico underwent a political “whitening” process while under U.S. rule. The term “Black” suddenly began to disappear from the census due to the popular idea that in the U.S. one could only advance economically and socially if one were to pass for “white”.
With all of this being said, it’s very important for us to be correctly educated on these terms. Not simply from an academic standpoint, but mainly for our own purpose. It’s important that we know our history and unify with each other based on our lineage.
Whether we are African American, Puerto Rican, Jamaican, Colombian, Dominican, Haitian or Brazilian, if we are descendants of enslaved Africans then we are Black. We are African.