I am very much impressed with these documentaries but I feel that the series is incomplete; the rest of latin america needs to be included. I would very much like to see Puerto Rico added to this series because if there’s one latin american country that has been greatly affected by the issue of race, it is Puerto Rico.
I enjoyed this series, as usual a great job by Dr. Gates. Being a resident of Texas, I can attest to the fact that most Mexicanos, have a problem with color. As with most colonized people, there is the issue that lighter skin provides a means to be more accepted, etc. Just look at Mexican television, most of the newscasters look White! Also I have seen terrible stereotypes of Blacks on Mexican TV and in Mexican comic books. I live in a mixed neighborhood in Houston. It is in transition and I find my new Hispanic neighbors to be standoffish, aloof and just not friendly to the long time Black homeowners. What’s up with that?!
Thank you, Dr. Gates, for this series. I think you well achieved your purpose in making us more aware of how African culture has affected life in all of the Americas. I’ve spent a lot of time in Mexico and from my observation, race and class discrimination is quite prevalent. (Indians are looked down upon also.)
It’s important to have programming like this. One thing that must be remembered: Black history has been kept from white folks as much as it has been kept from black folks through the years.
Mexicano Nolatino is completely right. We really are just humans. The problem is that educators are currently teaching afro-centric beliefs. Afro-centric teachings are not right nor are they wrong, it is just another theory about who we may be. It is no more right or wrong than any other theory of who we are, it is just a theory. Educators forget that although the human race may have started in an area we now call Africa, there were other humans that lived side by side with Homo sapiens, such as Homo neanderthalensis (neanderthals), Homo erectus and possibly Homo heidelbergensis and Homo ergaster. I say “possibly” because conclusions have not yet been reached. My point is that regardless of “where” we come from or what we are accustomed to we are all still HUMANS.
WOW eye openning for sure Mr Gates thank you very much and also the folks at PBS for bringing this to masses. A great piece of work for sure. Well I can say this made lots of sense to me as I to have learned, that the only spanish thing about me is the name of former slave masters. I’m from Trinidad myself and by doing a little reseach found out I’m Black-/East Indian-/Native Islander and just a small part spanish but not enough to wave the flag of Spanish pribe as many of my brothers and sisters throughout the Carribbean and south America will proudly do just to fit in with society and distance themselves from anything BLACK and or Native. As those types of people are viewed as Ugly, Lazy, and Crimminals. All you have to do is look at what they find funny or comedy on their TV’s and it’s very clear that they don’t like black. But most of them are socked when the get here and find out they are not considered WHITE at all and they themselves face many new stereotypes. You’d think they would learn but NOOOOOO Men are evil simply as that. Love the skin you are in but don’t hate another because he looks different from you how simple it that to understand??? Come on People when will this stop? Get to know others before you hand out judgement. Once again THANKS PBS and MR Gate. I will support by buying the DVDes hope to see more of this. Gob Bless. True history can never been hidden for to long.
WOW eye openning for sure Mr Gates thank you very much and also the folks at PBS for bringing this to masses. A great piece of work for sure. Well I can say this made lots of sense to me as I to have learned, that the only spanish thing about me is the name of former slave masters. I’m from Trinidad myself and by doing a little reseach found out I’m Black-/East Indian-/Native Islander and just a small part spanish but not enough to wave the flag of Spanish pribe as many of my brothers and sisters throughout the Carribbean and south America will proudly do just to fit in with society and distance themselves from anything BLACK and or Native. As those types of people are viewed as Ugly, Lazy, and Crimminals. All you have to do is look at what they find funny or comedy on their TV’s and it’s very clear that they don’t like black. But most of them are shocked when the get here and find out they are not considered WHITE at all and they themselves face many new stereotypes. You’d think they would learn but NOOOOOO Men are evil simply as that. Love the skin you are in but don’t hate another because he looks different from you how simple it that to understand??? Come on People when will this stop? Get to know others before you hand out judgement. Once again THANKS PBS and MR Gate. I will support by buying the DVDes hope to see more of this. Gob Bless. True history can never been hidden for to long.
Thanks for such a wonderful documentary , im a afromexicano, i was born in las costa chica, one the most populated regions with African descents in Mexico, yes there is alot ignorance going along being a afromexican, i have relatives who look more black than anything and they still denying their african roots , i find it funny and sad, i tried to educate em but it s long battle, im so proud of my roots, and i m looking forward for the day we are recognize as afromexican, yes im black and yes im mexican, they said is not possible, i said is a living reality, thank for an outstanding work
This one is for Malu. Malu, grab a book and read. Your history is extremely screwed up. I am hoping (for your sake) that your comments are intended to provoke, and that in reality you don’t believe what you posted.
The laws of nature makes us all equal. This documentary is not about racism or so, it just teach us about the negro influence in all America, not just USA. It is fabulous the multicultural breed in Latin America, we all latinos know, now they are realizing in the USA that they are not alone.
Thank you for your series on Blacks in Latin America I really enjoyed it I feel sorry for those people who deny the fact that because of african slaves being taken all over the world @ the time there is black blood in alot of people Why people of Latino decent or any other race want to deny part of their heritage is crazyit is important in this day and age to expose the continual racisim against those who are either African american or Afro mixed in any other part of the world people need to realize that just because your skin is light or white does not and I repeat does not make you superior against any other race that may be darker than you it is a shame that anybody has a hang up about their skin color because if other races no matter which one it was did not go meddling in the country of AFRICA then we wouldn’t have the mix of people oh yea I’m part african,part french white and part indian on both sides of my family.
Bravo again Professor Gates for exposing racism wherever you find it ! This show “La Mama Negro” in Peru is the most Racist thing I have ever seen on TV and the treatment of the local Afro-Peruvians who are protesting it is horrific ! This show must be taken down immediately and I pray that all of our fair-minded Latino brothers and sisters join the fight eradicate this hateful show that spreads a 500 year-old LIE that Blacks are dumb, ugly, and dangerous when the opposite–smart, beautiful, and peaceful has been demonstarted over and over again.
My parents are African and eventhough I was born in America I always considered myself to be an African. This is because the African culture is rich, beautiful and is so different. In America when we learn about Black history we are not taught about Black Latinos and their struggles. As I watched this video I thought that Blacks in America historically have had it bad, but the Afro-Latinos have it worse. At least us blacks in America have a better chance at success and we are able to shine a light on racism and people listen. After watching this documentary I am very happy that a new world has been opened to me, though I did know that their were black people on Latin America but I didn’t know of their contribuitons to the culture and history of some of these countries. It makes me angry as someone of direct African descent that some of these countries think its ok to say that Africans did not contribute to the history and culture, when esspecially in the music it is so evident. The rhythms of some of the musical styles such as salsa, merengue and even tejano are also very evident in African music. Another thing that makes me angry is the discrimination against Afro-Latinos, these people have contributed greatly to the culture, history and the economy of these countries and they should be seen as equal and not as second class citizens. After watching this documentary I can say that I am feel even more pride in my African ancestery knowing what it gave to other parts of the world.
I have always known of blacks were and are a part of latin culture. I was born and raised in L. A. when we blacks were not so hated by the latino communities. My children are part of these cultures. Some resemble me some their father. I moved away from L.A. in 1981, never thinking how ugly things had gotten because of the hatred that is so very visible toward blacks. i did find out. Not knowing me, my character, or where I came from most Hispanics would not even speak. That pained me. It still pains me. I never knew it grownig up and going to Catholic school. Thank you so very much for your show. Most if not all of the Latin countries have African/Black blood running through their veins. They hate and fear themselsves. We are part of them and they are part of us. No skin color, eye color, hair texture, hair color, can change who we, or you are. Thanks You. BUT just like Obama”s birth certificate no one wants the truth.
I see from some of the posts that there are many of you who want to keep your black grandmother in the closet. Don’t worry, no one is going to drag you out to the slave quarters or kick you out of their club when they find out there is African blood in you. It’s just good to know the truth about yourself and your country. I mean, come on, the African is obvious in most South Americans. I just always thought I was mistaken but now I know I was right. But let me say here that the program was EXCELLENT. Excellently done and very informative. I especially liked the information about the man Yanga, the freedom fighters in Mexico and the effect Africans left on the music and culture in South America. It’s just sad that there are still people who seem like it hurts them to admit these truths.
I have to agree with Yemmie and I myself find it weird and a bit scary. Why watch the show or come to this site if you don’t feel black or relate to being black? If you are dominican and not black why come here to denounce the show and blackness. Dr. Gates is not presenting this as if all Latin Americans are Black! He is exploring black peoples role in several “latin” nations!
Thank U Mr. Gates. It was a little shocking to see blacks in Peru and Mexico. I have been educated and I thank U very much. Now how about doing a documenary of BLACK IN THE SOUTH PACIFIC????? Samoan, Polyanesian(sp?), Indian, etc.
I was born in Acapulco, I worked for the Mexican federal government in the region when Dr. Gates visit, Cuajinicuilapa, Guerrero. I grew up seeing ALL Mexicans as Mexicans, not brown, black, white, cocoa, beige, or any other made up color that Dr. Gate wants to see; however, at the age of 27 I arrived to the USA and it took me by surprise that people in this country “saw” the color of people’s skin as a definite point of judging one’s intellect… I must admit, it was hysterically funny to me! It was like differentiating people’s intellect by the color of their eyes or hair… amazingly stupid! Mexican describe someone as “la muchacha negrita (the black girl)” with same intention as “la muchacha chaparrita (the shorty girl)” Here in the USA is uneasy to discribe a person of African ethnicity because you don’t know how it will be taken. Dr. Gate, keep your poison seeds in the USA, do not take them to Mexico where we are GENERALLY COLOR BLIND.
Mexicano Nolatino : You wonder why this series is focused on Blacks not the human race/ Because in the history of the human race the white race in the western hemisphere has forced everyone else to assimilate. That is not sayin that white people are bad but that other cultures/races have the right to embrace their way of feeling and living. To have positive self esteem about themselves instead of being made to feel inferior.
Al you seem to point out that Peru has hardly any blacks. It is not about the numbers. Look at the show in Peru. It is about contributions being honored instead of swept under the rug. It is about people being given a chance. Many in Peru.Mexico and even the US have ancestry that has been mixed in and denied by individuals. Because people (maybe like you) deem it necessary to make them feel inferior. So the numbers will always lie.
Structured Crticism Some points 1. Lack of a balanced view of Mexico. H.L. Gates explores views of racism based on experiences in only Veracruz and Mexico City. Problem: The capital city (D.F.) is a poor representation of all of Mexico. Unlike the USA, Mexican high schools often have friendship patterns not based on skin color. In fact, people of the same families can have vastly different skin colors. 2. Imposition of American views Gates continues to ask random people what color they are; i.e. self identify “how are you not like your neighbor”, something that is not a cultural norm. Problem: Gates seems fixated on comparison. This tends to reinforce a vision that someone or their plan is superior or inferior. Focusing on how Mexico’s view on race works is ignored, he instead criticizes Mexico based on his personal biases. 3. African influence Gates did mention some non-critical cultural notes including, fufu-like dishes in Mexico as well as dances which were both informative.
Overall: From my perspective, I would say visiting Mexico is the best educational tool. The film does NOT do justice to Mexico social relations, where in the USA you find sterotyping and fear, in Mexico it is common to find only deep interest and curiosity. Background: black American (in Mexico simply”American”), 3 months in Mexico
Reading the comments on here it seems that some people who are Hispanic or Latino do NOT want to accept the fact that YES you do have at least a drop of African or black blood running through your veins. Why is it that society as a whole does not want to embrace the contributions that blacks or Africans have made to the WORLD?
Thank God for DNA my dear Malu does not know that even Christo Colon had blacks on his ships. They are African decendants in every country of the western hemisphere. Dont define race by hair texture. if you do then lots of animals have straight hair eg dogs, cats. Then again with your logic they are human.
95%of Brazil population is similar to western Africa in terms of DNA. dont confuse imposed language with race.
Malu what is your native language?
What a wonderful documentary. I tried researching Blacks in Mexico a few years back and was so disappointed with our Mexican government and the racism that still exists. So I was so glad to see this film. There are just 2 things that the documentary failed to make clear. #1. The US calls it Latin America. WRONG! It was Napoleon that named Mexico, Central and South America, LATIN AMERICA. He decided he was going to conquer it all when he invaded Mexico. And French being Latin is the reason he named it Latin America. So All OF NORTH AMERICA SHOULD ALSO BE LATIN & many parts of the world as well. THOSE CONQUERED BY SPANIERDS ARE HISPANICS! We are also Latin because we speak a Latin/Romance Language. As do the French, Italian, Romanian and Portugal. I wish the world would get it right. #2, I Despise the word MULTTO! When the African slaves and indigenous people had children the Spanish conquistadors named them MULATTOS- (SMALL MULE). Shame on us for continuing to use that word. JUST AN FYI. I was disappointed that neither of these two very important fats were revealed in the program.
Ok This is so Awesome! I did a Mitochondrial 4 years ago and was bummed that I had no African blood in me on my moms side. But what can I say I’m so white, just like her…A white Mexican thats just wrong…ha ha ha…I so wana be brown. But looking at my Dad he is brown and when he is in the sun he gets nice and toasty. And his 1/2 siblings have african features and afro hair. So I knew there was black blood in our family. This is so COOL! It was because of “African American Lives” that Idid the test. Thank You Mr. Gates. Know I know that I do have Black blood in me. There just has to be! Cuz Black people ROCK! I may look White but I be a mix. ha ha ha I can’t wait to educate my People. Then hopefully knowing the truth will help the racism dissipate in our Mexican Culture. It was those darn Spaniards that taught us Racism among other bad things. But know that we know the true history of our people. It’s time to change things. MIL GRACIAS!
After reading some of the comments I came away dispirited by the ignorance and self-hatred demonstrated by some of the Afro-American commentators. Indeed, the charlatan, Lanceindc, has the temerity to reference Van Sertima-whose work has been discredited the world over as pseudo-science in the fields of history, anthropology, and archeology-in order to argue that the brilliance of the native people (Mayas, Aztecs, Olmecs, etc.,) is owed to Africans who came to the western hemisphere before Columbus. One need not be an epidemiologist to know that it is impossible for the native people of this hemisphere to have interacted with any group of people from the old world in any significant way upon understanding that the natives of this continent were unable to sustain the diseases of Europe and Africa. Indeed, it bespeaks to the isolation of these peoples.
Other commentators appear to be elated by the desire to falsely convince themselves that Hispanic people- at least 93% of whom are either indian, white, or metizo-have black admixture or are in some mysterious way Afro-descendant. So, they dream that this will lead to their ability to claim Latino heritage (or a non-black identity) and to intermarry with hispanics. The former expresses the eternal longing of African Americans of being able to obscure their blackness. They think this is possible because of the erroneous belief that Afro-Latinos (e.g., Sammy Sosa, Saldana) are not perceived as blacks and that they do not self-identify as such. Of course, this is only sensible if one assumes that the vast majority of Hispanics are not black and so Afro-latinos can be made invisible as a result. However, therein lies the paradox and ultimate failure of this thought process. Hispanics are overwhelmingly non-black but it is virtually impossible for a black person in this continent to not be reminded that he/she is black and “other”. The latter provides the only opportunity whereby one can affirm blackness while seeking to destroy it. For while It is shocking for the viewer to see Prof. Gates tell a native american girl that she is a “beautiful Negra” (black), or even ask Professor Cruz, who has not one ostensible african feature, about her feelings on finding out that she was “black”-when we are well aware that “black” in this continent has only to do with physical appearance-it makes perfect sense from the vantage point that it may allow for the destruction of “black” as a concept and concomitantly to the physical obliteration of “black” in reality. In short, the ultimate desire is to be like Prof. Cruz, to have light skin, straight hair, non-african features, but be able to say: “I am black and I am proud”.
All I know is that wherever you go in the world, the darker a person is the poorer they tend to be. Many places say we are mixed and don’t have a racial identity, but a national identity. Why then are the darkest the poorest. People are saying don’t bring that American poison to our country. Sorry, but to late it is already there, but fine tuned so well you aren’t even aware of what makes all that countries poor and oppressed come here. Nobody likes Black Americans, but if it wasn’t for them you could not be all that you can be here. In places where they say things like Ay Dios no te ha quitado el apeste de indo ( OMG yo still haven’t got the stink of Indian off of you) don’t tell me there is no racism. Racism South of the border is about the oppression of the Indigenous people let alone black people.
Wow! “Peru becomes the only Latin American country to apologize to blacks for present day descrimination”. Just take a look at the Peruvian national soccer team since forever. It doesn’t look like blacks have been descriminated against.
Hmmm…. wonder if pbs has an “Brown in Latin America” or “Yellow in Latin America”? Only seems fair.
Yo Teresita, you’re a retard. How can Mexicans even be racist to blacks when there are barely even any blacks in Mexico to be racist against? I myself am a mestizo-Mexican and have never been racist against black-Mexicans. One big reason why I wouldn’t be racist against them is because they are so rare I wouldn’t even have a chance to be racist against one! That, and racisism is just plain wrong.
I’m from Peru and it does not matter what percentage of blacks are in Peru. The importance is that they are there and have contributed MORe than many in our culture. Today we eat many delicious dishes from them and dance to their wonderful music. They need to be treated with respect and equality. For that to happen in Peru it would take another century to instruct new generations. Racism still happening in Peru among all and its sad.
I thank PBS and Dr. Gates and all the Afro-Peruvians who have made our country much better like Cavero, Dna. Teresa, The Angola slave who painted the Sr. de los Milagros and many more.
I WOULD LIKE TO THANK YOU DR. GATES FOR EDUCATING THE WORLD OF THE REAL HISTORY OF MEXICO A PART LEFT OUT FOR GENERATIONS CAUSING IGNORANCE AND HATRED AMONGS LATINOS AND AFRICAN AMERICANS IN THE STATES AFTER ALL WE ARE DISTANCE CUSINS AND SHOULD ACKNOWLEDGE IT AND EMBRACE IT IN A POSITIVE MANNER LIKE WITH OUR INDIGEN AND EUROPEAN BACKGROUNDS.
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