Alternative Grammars of Anti-Racism in Latin America

Peter Wade, Monica Moreno-Figueroa

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Abstract

Naming racism has been usually seen as a necessary step for understanding
racism and undertaking anti-racist action. However, the explicit naming of
racism does not immediately tell us what kind of understanding of racism is at
stake nor what kinds of action will follow. In the context of an incipient turn to
antiracism in Latin America we conducted a project looking at antiracist
activities in Brazil, Colombia, Ecuador and Mexico. It became apparent that
different organisations varied markedly in their approaches to the concept
and language of racism. Some explicitly use the language of racism, other
organisations do not, even though they are engaged in struggles for land,
rights, etc., which clearly have a racialised dimension. This difference revealed
variations in the awareness of racism, which came in and out of focus in their
practice. With examples from Colombia, Brazil, Mexico and Ecuador, we
discuss the antiracist effects of what we call “alternative grammars of antiracism” and the “racially-aware class consciousness” they imply. We end by
questioning the assumption that the explicit naming of racism as such is
necessary to advance antiracist work, and suggest that employment of more
indirect ways of evoking racism, which imply an awareness of structural
racism, have some advantages for antiracist practice
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)20-50
JournalInterface:a journal for and about social movements
Volume13
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 29 Mar 2022

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