Infographic: Afrodescendants in Mexico
In this infographic, Jazmín Aguilar Rangel provides a demographic overview of the Afro-Mexican community. She describes certain challenges they face in the form of structural racism and describes how civil society organizations are working to address this.
For the first time in more than 200 years of an independent Mexico, the 2020 census, prepared by the National Institute of Statistics and Geography (INEGI), included the population that self-identifies as Afro-Mexican, Afro-descendant or Black. In Mexico, the Afro-descendant population, recognized as the third cultural root, amounted to 2,576,213 people in 2020, which means that for every 100 people residing in the country, two are considered Afro-descendants because of their history, culture and traditions. The Afro-Mexican population represents 2% of the country's total population, of which 50.4% are women (1,297,617) and 49.6% men (1,278,596). In 2020, slightly more than 50% of the Afro-Mexican population is concentrated in six states: 303,923 live in Guerrero, 296,264 in Mexico State, 215,435 in Veracruz de Ignacio de la Llave, 194,474 in Oaxaca, 186,914 in Mexico City and 139,676 in Jalisco.
Structural Racism against Afro-Mexicans
The Afro-descendant population faces challenges such as structural racism, which prevents its members from improving their economic situation. Many of them are denied access to basic rights or must do jobs that are considered exclusive to their demographic group, such as farm work, animal care, cheese making, etc. Similarly, only 66.5% of Afro-descendants in Mexico have access to tap water in their homes, while 74.1% of the rest of Mexicans have this service. According to INEGI data collected in the 2020 Population and Housing Census, the Afro-descendant population (Women: 6.2%, Men: 4.4%) has a higher level of illiteracy compared to the non-Afro-descendant population (Women: 5.5%, Men: 3.9%), in addition, the gap is also greater between Afro-descendant women and men. The 2015 Intercensal Survey indicates that there is a greater socioeconomic inequality gap with respect to illiteracy in municipalities with a higher concentration of Afro-descendant population. In addition, the Afro-descendant population has an academic disadvantage compared to the non-Afro-descendant population. The 2017 National Survey on Discrimination shows that the percentage of the Afro-descendant population aged 15 to 59 years without schooling (4.7%) and with incomplete elementary education (9.2%) is higher than that observed for the national average (2.9%, 6.7%).
Racism Against Afro-descendant Women
Gender inequality among the Afro-descendant population is even more pronounced since 70.3% of women perform household chores and only 8.5% of men do so. Similarly, only 15.1% of Afro-descendant women study, compared to 34.8% of men. Additionally, 32.8% of Afro-descendant women reported having suffered discrimination, in addition to having been denied access to basic rights, such as education, healthcare, or work.
Social Racism Against Afro-Mexicans
The 2018 National Survey on Discrimination conducted by the National Council to Prevent Discrimination (CONAPRED) indicates that a large part of the population in Mexico continues to reject the idea that there is an Afro-Mexican population. CONAPRED (2018) points out that 31.2% of women and 32.1% of men in the country would have little or no interest in a person of African descent becoming Mexican President. Similarly, 21.4% of women and 24.0% of men would not be willing to rent a room to a person of African descent.
How are Afro-Mexicans speaking out and addressing these challenges?
México Negro A.C. is a non-profit civil society organization founded in 1997 with the purpose of organizing the Afro-descendant communities of Mexico, favoring the self-definition of Afro-descendant peoples, and determining the geographic location of Afro-descendant localities.
In 2019, the first Afromexican Women's House was inaugurated in the municipality of Santa María Cortijos, in the region known as La Llanada on the borders of La Costa Chica of Oaxaca and Guerrero, where legal and psychological counseling is provided to women victims of violence.
Afrocaracolas, Saberes Itinerantes is a group of Afro-Mexican women, who work to make their roots known, recover their ancestry and history through the strengthening of Afromexican identity, culture, traditions and collective rights.
Afrodescendencia México is a platform for activism, art, and critical/public thinking for the visibility and dignity of Afro-descendants.
In 2019 a decree was published in the Official Journal of the Federation by which section C was added to Article 2° of the Political Constitution of the United Mexican States, which recognizes Afro-Mexican peoples and communities as part of the pluricultural composition of the nation in order to guarantee their self-determination, autonomy, development, and inclusion.
María Celeste Sánchez (Mexico City, 32 years old) is the first senator in the history of the country to openly identify herself as Afro-descendant.
The Mexico Institute seeks to improve understanding, communication, and cooperation between Mexico and the United States by promoting original research, encouraging public discussion, and proposing policy options for enhancing the bilateral relationship. A binational Advisory Board, chaired by Luis Téllez and Earl Anthony Wayne, oversees the work of the Mexico Institute. Read more