Yo Soy Negro addresses the question of how "blackness" is experienced in Peru, primarily through the eyes of the inhabitants of a small coastal Afro-Peruvian town, both in terms of their day-to-day lives in that town and as migrant workers in Lima. Based on extensive ethnographic work in the country and informed by more than eighty interviews with Peruvians of African descent, this groundbreaking study explains how ideas of race, color, and mestizaje in Peru differ greatly from those held in other Latin American nations.
Tanya Maria Golash-Boza explores the ways people in Peru talk about blackness and finds that the local discourse of blackness centers on skin color. The existence of this local discourse raises questions with regard to how we can conceptualize and theorize the African diaspora and calls for a more fluid conception of diaspora that allows for localized differences.
The conclusion that Golash-Boza draws from her rigorous inquiry is that Peruvians of African descent give meaning to blackness without always referencing Africa, slavery, or black cultural forms. This represents a significant counterpoint to diaspora scholarship that points to the importance of slavery in defining blackness in Latin America as well as studies that place cultural and class differences at the center of racial discourses in the region.
About the Author
Tanya Maria Golash-Boza, assistant professor of sociology and American studies at the University of Kansas, is the author of Immigration Nation?: Raids, Detentions and Deportations in Post–9/11 America.
Table of Contents
1 Black, but Not African 28
2 Locating Black Peruvians in Latin America 59
3 Race and Color Labels in Peru 89
4 Diasporic Discourses and Local Blackness Compared 114
5 Black Is Beautiful or White Is Right? 143
6 The Politics of Difference in Peru 170