In Yorùbá mythology, Xangô the African god is considered to be the judge among the Orixás. He governs the living energies of fire; therefore his dominion is in rays and thunder. Xangô is known mainly for his credibility, as he decides on good and evil, and he punishes thieves, evildoers and liars. Justice and Righteousness are the virtues that most characterize Xangô.
In the late 1990’s, the Afro-descendant movement throughout the region— in its diversity and ideological plurality— was brought to life. The movement promoted (and continues to promote) the organizational, representative and political advancement of Afro-descendants, providing the community with voices and votes within different national, regional and international spheres.
In 2000, the movement had one of its biggest successes with the Pre-Conference of the Americas Against Racism in Santiago, Chile. There, we encouraged and strengthened the need to articulate and to respond to common global problems against racism and racial discrimination on a national and transnational level. The movement’s greatest achievement, however, would come via the Third World Conference on the Fight Against Racism, Discrimination, Xenophobia and Related Forms of Intolerance in Durban, South Africa in 2001, where Afro movements from around the world came together to fight and claim our right of cultural and political identity.
For many Africans and their descendants, the 2001 conference is considered the greatest achievement of the last few decades, and the ethos many walked away with was: “…we entered the conference being black in order to position ourselves and leave as AFRO-DESCENDANTS“.
The conference was an inflection point in the political, cultural and identity struggle of Afro communities, and set a new course in the history of our peoples. The conference also produced the Durban Plan of Action, which includes recommendations for the greater inclusion of Afro-descendant population to promote their development. The plan still serves as a guide on the rights and issues linked to people of African descent within government agendas in Latin America and the Caribbean today.
Though over a decade has passed since the Durban conference (along with several post-Durban conferences), the living conditions of millions and millions of Afro-descendants throughout Latin America have not changed. We are still facing Racial Capitalism that implies the continuous ethno-racial domination and economic oppression in Afro-descendants and Africans. This oppression also includes several groups of the population that do not respond to the hegemonic, classist, bourgeois and white Eurocentric model that we face in our daily realities.
“No to racism”
Despite this, we have not lost hope! The Mercosur region, and in it, Argentina, is taking strong steps in search of a country model that is more inclusive and participatory. It is undeniable that the advance of progressive governments— with clear empathy for their peoples— seeks to affirm a model that recovers our identity, our history and our values, with memory and justice based on those who shed their blood and their lives to be able to freely build nations that represent us and include everyone.
Afro-descendants continue to contribute to the construction of a more just society, in equality and social equity. The fight against racism, discrimination, xenophobia and sexism are part of the search for equality, as well as the social justice and the historical reparation of the first genocide that began with the slave trade project.
In Argentina, a national transformation has begun to have an impact on the Afro community. After almost two hundred years of historical and statistical invisibility, the national government now includes the racial-ethnic variable that will allow us to have a first official count of how many Afro-Argentines, Africans and Afro-descendants live here and their living conditions.
The process of recognition is not easy, because institutional racism is very present, not only within the state but also in the social spectrum.
The national Argentine government has been developing and implementing a battery of tools, proposals, policies and strategies to achieve a more egalitarian Argentina, framed in a process of transformation that has an impact on the daily life of each citizen, in the cultural, national and popular sectors.
We, members of the Afro Xango group, see these processes as important, but there is still a long way to go. We need to effectively produce specific policies that impact our community as a way to generate a floor that allows equal treatment and opportunities beyond skin color. It is there where the difference will be framed and made flesh; as Dubois said, it is the color line.
Because when people on the street say, “go back to your country, black shit” clearly expressing a racist, discriminatory and xenophobic mindset, they do not ask you if you are Afro-Argentinian, from the diaspora or African. The subject of expulsion is black, and what being black brings with it, beyond nationality and origin.
For us, the fight against racism is cultural and political, we are promoting actions, strategies and a discourse of our own that responds to the local problems of our community while not losing sight of the national and world political context.
United in our activism and our militancy with other vulnerable sectors of society, we are fighting against poverty, while building bridges with native peoples, and with other social and popular movements. We are learning from what the LGBTQ+ movement has achieved with their fight (and success) for marriage equality. We are also creating a front against the Afro-right as a deteriorated expression of our communities of diverse Afro members who use strategies to sell their lie of representation, of totalizing legitimacy, at the expense of the work of organizations and activists, paralyzing the development of collective construction, participation and debate.
That is why our Afro Xango group seeks social justice, inclusion and equity, contributing to the construction of a more just, egalitarian society, without racism or discrimination.
WHO WE ARE
Agrupación Xango is made up of a team of professionals from different sectors within the social and artistic sciences. Our aim is to create space for the analysis, reflection and debate to allow us to promote greater visibility for the contributions of the Afro-descendant community within the greater culture of Argentina. We also seek to raise awareness about the fight against racism and any type of social exclusion that affects the community in general through artistic and educational training.
- Comisión de Afrodescendientes del Consejo Consultivo de la Cancilleria Argentina
- MIZANGAS – Mujeres Jovenes Afrodescendientes!
- Red Afro LGBT
- Foro Bahiano LGBT
- 100% Diversidad y Derechos
- África Vive
For more information, you can reach us at:
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