Racism Link Roundup

Our periodic installment of racism review link round up of news about racism from around the web.   First up, the international news:

  • Cuban Government Condemned for Racism against Afro-Cubans – A coalition of African Americans, led by Princeton University professor Cornel West, released a statement saying that, “We cannot be silent in the face of increased violations of civil and human rights for those black activists in Cuba who dare raise their voices against the island’s racial system.” They also demanded the immediate release of Darsi Ferrer, a well-known Afro-Cuban physician and activist jailed since July, calling Ferrer a political prisoner.
  • Cuban Government Counters – Of course, the Cuban government denied that they were engaging in racial discrimination.  And, accused the signers of the U.S. statement of “being unaware that Cuba offered to send medical assistance after Hurricane Katrina devastated New Orleans — a gesture the U.S. State Department turned down.” Perhaps, but I’m not sure how this addresses the treatment of Ferrer and others like him.
  • Peru Apologizes for Racism – Meanwhile, Peruvian government officials recently apologized to Afro-Peruvians for centuries of abuse and exclusion,  noting that discrimination against blacks in Peru remains “a barrier for social, economic, labor and educational development.”

As a light skinned Latina whose family prided themselves on teaching me to “pass” as a child, my privilege doesn’t allow me to comprehend what it is to be an afro-latino. Dealing with the legacies of European colonialism and North American colonialism, including slavery, though have allowed me to witness the way in which we Latinos classify ourselves based on skin tone, hair texture, facial features, and bloodlines based on the presence of “Indian” or “black” blood. In the case of Peru, does apologizing for centuries of racism deal with the current struggles of Afro-Peruvians and the Indigenous peoples of Peru and those who fall in between? Is it too easy a move without real policy to back it?

  • New Report Shows Racism a Problem in Europe – A report just released from the European Network Against Racism (ENAR) reveals that ethnic and religious minorities in Europe continue to suffer from discrimination and prejudice and face systematic disadvantages in a whole host of areas, from employment and education to housing and policing.   And, by the way, the ENAR is an umbrella organization that includes some 600 member and associated organisations throughout Europe, ranging from grassroots organisations to advocacy organisations, from information centres to faith-based organisations and to trade unions. The ENAR website says that “What unites these organisations is that they are all involved in the fight against racism, and as such are able to collectively represent the voice of the organised human rights and anti-racist civil society.” I think it’s worth noting here that there is no analogous organization in the U.S.

And, from the U.S. :

  • Some wonder if the interest in Tiger Woods’ marital mess is a sign of racism.