The ambivalence of Blackness in early twentieth-century Argentinian comics: “Página del Dólar”

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Abstract

This article explores a dual dynamic of simultaneous subordination and limited inclusion of Blackness in Latin America, using the example of a 1920s’ Argentinian comic strip, “Página del Dólar”. The comic's representations of Black people are racist, but also ambivalent and complex. Going beyond common characterisations of the exclusion/inclusion dynamic as a mask of inclusion hiding the reality of exclusion, I argue that the simultaneity and interpenetration of exclusion-plus-inclusion are important for understanding Latin American racial formations. The dynamic works in multiple ways are not fully appreciated in the literature, which emphasises the reproduction of racial hierarchy: as well, it lends specificity to images of the nation; and it provides a moral benchmark for middle classes, especially in relational and ambiguous class and racial locations. The domain of humour is apt for conveying ambivalent meanings, because it provides distance for the reader (“it's just a joke”), while also transmitting important affective charge.
Original languageEnglish
JournalEthnic and racial studies
Early online date17 Oct 2023
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 17 Oct 2023

Keywords

  • Argentina
  • Blackness
  • class
  • racism
  • stereotypes
  • whiteness

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