Erasure of Afro-Argentinians

It is now common knowledge that anti-blackness is a prevalent, world-wide phenomenon. The anti-blackness that I am personally most familiar with is in reference to what I have learned and experienced in America. I somehow stumbled upon a post about anti-blackness in Argentina, which I found interesting because it is not a topic that is talked about much. However, upon more and more research, I became horrified. The erasure of Afro-Argentinians is a situation that I would definitely consider dystopian for several reasons.

One of the features of a dystopian society that is seen in 1984 is the practice of erasing or modifying history to keep people from knowing some potentially threatening truth. Argentina was highly involved in the slave trade, along with several other South American countries. In places like Brazil, the practice of slavery has left its mark ethnically on the country, leaving behind a large black population. However, in Argentina, the government made sure that African descendants of slaves would not have a place in the country they were forced to. In 1875, the option to register as an African descendant on the national census was eradicated, further silencing the presence of blacks in the country. The former president of Argentina Carlos Menem went so far as to declare that blacks did not even exist in Argentina, and that it was a Brazilian problem.

Another dystopian element seen in the erasure of Afro-Argentinians is the genocide of blacks that took place. The genocide that took place was multifaceted. It involved sending the black men off to fight wars that they knew they would not be successful in, notably the Paraguayan War of 1864. Blacks were also segregated and forced into conditions with no access to basic health care, which was detrimental to the community as yellow fever and cholera ravaged through it. The following quote reveals statistics showing just how much this covert genocide affected the black population:

“Currently, Argentina’s population of European ethnicity constituted 97% of the population – this is a disturbing figure taking into account that “[b]y the late 1700s nearly 50 percent of the population in the interior of the country was black, and between 30 and 40 percent of the population of Buenos Aires was black or mulatto,” reported The Root.” 

“ARGENTINA’S BLACK POPULATION HAS BEEN SYSTEMATICALLY ERASED & REMOVED IN WHITEWASHING EFFORT” by Zamamdoda from

The dystopia in Argentina was pretty successful in its mission to erase blackness from its history and country. Blackness has been erased to such an extent that many Argentinians actually believe that Argentina did not take a major place in slavery. Blackness has been, for the most part, forgotten and left in the past in Argentina through forced assimilation and violence. It is our job to make sure they are not completely forgotten by remembering and discussing the real history that took place.

Sources:

Zamamdoda, “ARGENTINA’S BLACK POPULATION HAS BEEN SYSTEMATICALLY ERASED & REMOVED IN WHITEWASHING EFFORT”, Afropunk, 2018. https://afropunk.com/2018/07/argentinas-black-population-has-been-systematically-erased-removed-in-whitewashing-effort/

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