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by Melissa M. Valle for NACLA
They say that the Devil’s greatest trick is convincing the world he didn’t exist. While I’m not a religious person, I find something alarming about the notion that a sinister force is exacting its will on humanity while successfully going undetected, and therefore uncontested. Racism in Latin America has a similar invisible, but insidious, sort of quality.
Bring up racism amongst those from Latin America and you’ll often get an exasperated groan, followed by something about how class is the predominate stratifying principle in Latin America, and a plea to stop applying your U.S.-based take on race to those in Latin America and the Caribbean. They may even throw in a “we’re all mixed” or “what is race?” rejoinder for good measure. Keep reading.
by Melissa M. Valle
El Festival Internacional de Cine de Cartagena de Indias (FICCI) has just ended here in Cartagena, Colombia. It was an incredible opportunity to enjoy some cinematic gems from around the world (PELO MALO from Venezuela is excellent!). I recently watched La Grande Belleza, an Italian film that deservedly garnered a number of awards last year (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fJfvX6zPAuQ). Truly a thought-provoking, visually beautiful work of art. But oftentimes what’s most captivating about a film is the audience’s response to it. There was one scene where a Mother Teresa- saint like character was supposed to be visiting Rome. Religious figures from around the world gathered to greet her and the camera cuts to a white nun staring at a man whom we are supposed to assume is African. Well, the (primarily Afro-descendant youth) audience I was surrounded by just found that hilarious. But not more hilarious than when the larger group of Africans was taking a photo with “the saint.” That’s when the audience really had a good, hard laugh. Nothing like images of Africans wearing what people believe is the “traditional” dress to add comic relief to any program. Keep reading...
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