Black Mexicans, they are an ethnic group made up of recent immigrants of African descent to Mexico and the descendants of slaves, such as in the communities of the Costa Chica of Oaxaca and Guerrero, Veracruz and in some cities in northern Mexico.
For the first time in history, Mexico has included Afro-Mexicans as “black” in the country’s census. Afro-Mexicans, descendants of the intercontinental slave trade, have often been left in the shadows of Mexican society due to racism. Any group that didn’t fit the country’s narrative.
“After independence, this population became largely invisible because it didn’t fit into the Mexico’s new national identity, built on the idea of mestizaje, or the mixing between Spaniards and indigenous people,” says Citlali Quecha, a researcher at National Autonomous University of Mexico who has studied the country’s black community.
Afro-Mexicans have been extremely well hidden from people outside of the country, and while I live only two hours away from the Mexican border, I had no idea they existed, despite the fact that 1.38 million of them do.
It’s refreshing to see Mexico joining other Latin Americans countries to acknowledge a group of people who are marginalized simply because of the color of their skin. Did you know that Mexico’s second president was of African decent, and that the state of Guerrero was named for him?
President Vicente Guerrero of Mexico (1782-1831) fought bravely for Mexico’s independence and abolished slavery in 1839, decades before the United States. It makes sense that Guerrero makes up the highest percentage (7%) of Afro-Mexicans in the country.