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Veronica TM

It is such a hard topic. I know Argentina has some ways to go also. But I always have a hard time with this. Since I live in the US now, I notice that people here are also racist, but in a more subtle way, like they learnt the rules and know how to play the game, instead of being 'brutally honest', does it make sense to you?

mati

i see the difference in the 2 analysis' & agree... i am so curious as to your thoughts of our country's racism upon your return! hard to see when you are so IN the culture.

Yah

It's hard to tell what the intentions are behind the paint. If you ask me, racism is racism wherever you go and pic #2 would definitely have racist intent in my book. Considering that "blackface" was used in the 20's and 30's as a way to demean Black people, I'm sure other cultures use it the same way- even today.

Jose Andrade

For ecuadorians both examples are not racist. Well, it is actually very difficult to say what is and is not racist in Ecuador because nobody really talks about the subject.

I would like to see an afroecuadorian "Martin Luther King" or a native ecuadorian (indio) "King Jr.", but as soon as any "minority" well educated leader speaks up, he/she is shut down as if he/she didn't know what he was talking about.

Ecuadorians are raised racist, to the point that "we" don't even know what is racist anymore. The easy way to put somebody down is to tell them that they are more "indio" o "negro" than you... absolutely disgusting!

I just love how my afroecuadorians are the ones making us feel proud in Germany. Go Delgados, Tenorios and Hurtados!... Go "Valle del Chota"!

PS: And why is Esmeraldas spelled wrong?? ;). The name comes from the "emerald" (esmeralda) precious stone.

GC.

Racism is an ideological concept. Now, to discriminate what is and what isnt racist, i'd advise you to sink in some anthropological literature, since it's the science that studies the humane phenomena from all the points of view, and aims to be objective. To interpretate wether such cultural manifestation is consider racist, one must think from where he's standing. Considered racist by who, the performers? the spectators?, and to arrive to any answer that pretends to be objective, there has to be more research than plain observation, since the underlying reasons are lost in translation. Why do they do such performance? what's the myth, or cultural explanation they find? is one racist for painting his white face black, or is it offensive to reenact a traditional dance and ignore the pride in having black skin...how do they feel when they do it, and what is it that they try to comunicate... I hope that wideness the view! (ps. english is not my mother languaje, i apologise for any mistakes..)

Julia

That's very interesting...while at first glance I thought the second man's facepaint and costume was kind of beautiful, I agree with you. As you pointed out, there is a difference between performances rooted in, and exploring aspects of, certain cultures, and performances that just seem to imitate cultures in a mocking way. Especially since you said race relations are heated down there, such things can't be seen as harmless or neutral.

jordan

i think this is a great conversation. i agree with julia, in terms of how blackface is doing something within a sensitive climate that can´t really be nuetral. it makes me think of how in the states i might not be as offended by native american sports mascots if native people were treated better and had a better standing in society. (and i do say might). instead, now there are a bunch of high school, college, and pro sports teams that have these kinds of mascots (and fans who dress up as a cheap stereotype of this cultural figure while partying in the stands). and of course folks who defend the mascot often say that it pays homage to the indigenous culture...i´m not saying this is exactly like the parade, but it is ugly bafoonery.

and while i do think anthropological lit might deepen the conversation about race, or at least make it more academic, i don´t think there´s anything wrong with chatting about the issue from experiences--i saw such and such and this is what i felt. this morning i was listening to bob dylan: you don´t need to be a weatherman to know which way the wind blows ...chao.

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