Saturday, July 4, 2020

black and brown bodies

I was stumped by this for a recent zoom simul gig where my speaker was in the US but my listeners were in Latin America. In a pinch I used cuerpos negros y morenos, but I know that doesn't quite work. In some areas of Colombia moreno is understood as having some African heritage, in others it's not. This has actually been a contentious issue for the census, with Afro-Colombian groups asking that the term be used to increase self-identification as Afro-Colombian and the census refusing to consider it a term for Afro-Colombianness (Paschell 2013). At any rate, I'm looking for a better option that, again, works not just in the US but in Latin America. Obviously, there is no such thing as neutral Spanish that will work across all countries, but I'm looking for something that will work in lots of contexts.

Friends have suggested:
- cuerpos negros y con tono de piel oscura
- cuerpos negros y no blancos
- cuerpos negros y de color

What do you think readers? Any other good options out there?

Note: the image is from the PERLA project, where they went around Latin America and asked people to identify what color they were on this palette. Interviewers also marked their own read of what color the person was. For full results see Telles (2014).

Paschel, Tianna. “‘The Beautiful Faces of My Black People’: Race, Ethnicity and the Politics of Colombia’s 2005 Census.” Ethnic and Racial Studies 36, no. 23 (2013): 1544–63.

Telles, Edward. Pigmentocracies: Ethnicity, Race, and Color in Latin America. Chapel Hill, NC: The University of North Carolina Press, 2014.