Blackness and Racial Mixture in Portland, Oregon and Esmeraldas, Ecuador

Published In

Relating Worlds of Racism: Dehumanisation, Belonging, and the Normativity of European Whiteness



Document Type

Book Chapter

Publication Date



Culture -- Ecuador, African Americans, Social Movements, Race, Social Classes, Social Sciences -- Research


In this paper, Dr. Ethan Johnson aims to answer the question, what does Anti-Blackness in two apparently disparate locations, the city and province of Esmeraldas, Ecuador and Portland, Oregon in the United States, have to do with each other? In the Portland Metro Area for example, Black people have never comprised more than 3 percent of the population and the region is often characterized as the Whitest large metro area in America. Whether or not related, there are strong indications a Black identity is less salient in Portland than in other parts of the country. In contrast, the city of Esmeraldas, Ecuador has the largest proportion of Black people compared to any other municipality in the country, approximately 40 percent, and counter to the general trend of eschewing Blackness in Ecuador and Latin America, in the city of Esmeraldas Blackness remains a significantly more salient identity choice for people of African descent than in other parts of the country. Contrary to Portland, the city and province of Esmeraldas in the national imagination are Black places.



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