Mejorando La Raza (Improving The Race) Through Mestizaje: The Pedagogy of Anti-Blackness in Ecuador

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Comparative Education Review

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Social justice, Racial justice, Blacks -- Civil rights -- Ecuador, Demography -- Ecuador


I begin this article with an anecdote to highlight how mestizaje is an anti-Black discourse. In the next section I theorize about mestizaje as an anti-Black discourse. There is a relatively new body of scholarship within Black studies called “Afropessimism.” This intellectual field has central to it the ideas of the “afterlife of slavery” and “slavery as social death.” I make the argument that Blackness in Latin America is one of social death. Following this section, I bring together what Frank Wilderson refers to as “structural adjustment,” or the misconstrued effort to provide Blackness with human capacity, with the popular idea in Latin America referred to as mejorar la raza (to improve the race). I argue that these two terms are roughly equivalent. In the following section I consider mestizaje as a pedagogy and show how it teaches anti-Blackness and social death. In the conclusion, I suggest that we benefit from locating analysis of the Afro-Ecuadoran experience within a framework that centers the social death of Black people. Social death more accurately describes the condition of people of African descent in the region.


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