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In Peru, Afro-Descendants Fight Ingrained Racism

In Peru, Afro-Descendants Fight Ingrained Racism, Invisibility

by Ángel Páez

CHINCHA, Peru – There is a saying in Peru that everyone has a bit of either "Inga" or "Mandinga" in them, meaning that all Peruvians have some indigenous (Inca) or African blood.

But the descendants of the tens of thousands of black slaves brought by ship to this coastal city south of Lima in the 16th and 17th centuries point out that this oft-quoted proverb is not reflected in the country's political and social life.

"If it's true that we all have some Inga or Mandinga in us, then why has there never been an Afro-descendant president in Peru in the 184 years since it became an independent republic? Why has someone of our color never been the head of the navy? Why are there no television programs made by descendants of the Mandingas and aimed at them exclusively?" asked the director of Peru's Centre for Ethnic Development, Osvaldo Bilbao.
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