On 19th June 2022, after a second round of voting, the Colombian people elected their first ever left-wing government, led by Gustavo Petro, with Francia Márquez as vice-president, the first ever Afro-Colombian and only the second woman to hold the position. In this post, we will focus on this trailblazing woman, who studied Law specifically to be prepared to defend the rights of her people, and on the context that led her and her country to this new chapter in their history.
Francia Elena Márquez Mina was born in 1981 in Yolombó, in the Cauca Department on the West coast of Colombia, one of the areas of the country where enslaved populations from Africa have lived since the 17th century. Traditionally in this region, Black slaves were forced to work in gold mining, sugarcane plantations and cattle ranches. To this day, the impact of exploitatative and extractivist practices on peoples, territories and resources in the region are still painfully relevant and have been part of Francia Márquez’s life experience since her earliest formative years, which would lead her to become a committed activist from the age of 17 years old. This life experience remains the basis of her politics, as she makes the move from activism to mainstream politics. Continue reading
The latest in our series of racism/anti-racism posts relates to Eastern Europe. This is just the beginning of a collection of resources on the topic, and future posts will include material to broaden our coverage to include more areas, countries and topics: this list covers mostly Ukraine, Russia and part of the Balkans. Continue reading
In line with recent events linked to the Black Lives Matter movement, this blog post features ebooks and other titles dealing with racism and social prejudice in Spain, Portugal and Portuguese-speaking Africa available to Cambridge students and researchers.
Among the worldwide reactions to the killing of George Floyd, protests have taken place across Scandinavia. Much of the local media coverage of these events assumed a display of solidarity with the United States and perpetuated the misconception that racism was something belonging to other countries. However, the participants were also highlighting current problems of systemic racism in their own countries along with the need to face up to their colonial past. Continue reading
As mentioned in the article Estudios sobre el racismo en América Latina by María Dolores París Pombo, studies about racism in Latin America have only started to become prominent since the Eighties. París Pombo argues that this may have to do with the underlying “official” narrative, in some Latin American countries, that the mestizo (the person of combined Indigenous and European descent) and the mulato were the quintessential incarnations of national identities, chosen as such in an attempt to defend and differentiate those nations from the metropolis. For many Latin American intellectuals, racism was just a rare phenomenon. This is, of course, not truly the case and studies on racism (and also on endoracismo, the kind of unconscious and self-imposed racism that manifests as a rejection of your own identity and the undervaluation your own historical past, that has permeated in in several indigenous communities) have consolidated ever since but in different ways in different countries, depending on how they each are trying to come to terms, or not, with their own colonial historical memories and their current realities. Continue reading