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Despite the official recognition of the contribution of Africa and Afro-Mexicans to Mexican society throughout the ages, the plight of African-descended people in Mexico is still desperate, reports Miriam Jimenez Roman.
Additional reporting by Tom Mbakwe. The Spanish first brought Africans to Mexico in to work in the agrarian and silver industries, under often brutal conditions. It was renamed in his honour in the s.
Racial mixes were seen as undesirable by a society that aspired to purity of race and blood ie, Spanish only. Inas part of the th anniversary of the arrival of the Spanish in the Americas, the Mexican government officially acknowledged that African culture in the country represented la tercera raiz the third root of Mexican culture, with the Spanish and indigenous peoples.
But the plight of Afro-Mexicans has not improved much since the recognition of As Alexis Okeowo, a black journalist in the Mexican capital, Mexico City, attests, when she visited Yanga, her heart broke. I would later learn that most live in dilapidated settlements outside of town.
The next morning when she went searching for the Afro-Mexicans, Okeowo found that though she had grown used to the rarity of black people in Mexico City, it was different at Yanga, where she was not only stared at but also pointed at.Mexico City Travel Guide - ROMA Neighborhood in 1 Day!
He seemed to be waiting for me to come over and talk to him. This is a country where many are proud to claim African blood, yet discriminate against their darker countrymen. Black Mexicans complain that such bigotry makes it especially hard for them to find work. Still, I was surprised to feel like such an alien intruder in a town where I had hoped to feel something like familiarity.
Afro-Mexicans are among the poorest in the nation. Many are shunted to remote shantytowns, well out of reach of basic public services, such as schools and hospitals.
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