There’s no racism in Argentina (because we don’t have black people)
‘Something good about Argentina is that there has never been racism here when we compare it with the rest of the world. We are very tolerant and open to immigrants and people of color. This must be because we don’t have black people.’
Racism in Argentina starts with the phrase ‘in Argentina there’s no racism’ and ends with ‘because we don’t have black people’. This is a strong racist statement because the fact that you don’t live with people who are different from you, doesn’t make you less racist. Many times a certain pride comes with the ‘there aren’t black people here’ phrase, which is, of course, false (see ‘A ‘black-people free’ country…’ on the next page).
This myth is related to the myth of tolerance, which states Argentina is a country where differences (‘between whites’ must be added) are tolerated. But in fact, what researches like Rita Segato’s show is that the Argentinian cultural leveling was built from panic to diversity.
When it comes to studying racism in Argentina, we need to bear two aspects in mind. On a legal and normative level, there is actually no racism. In fact, there have been important legal, institutional, and political improvements in this aspect. The most significant was the creation of INADI ( National Institute Against Discrimination, Xenophobia, and Racism), but also the increase of institutions that cancel sporting events where fans sing discriminatory songs.
The other aspect is pretty evident. If the only way to stop these songs is when there is a threat of canceling a match, it means there is a strong colloquial, informal and social racism embedded in Argentinian society. A decisive part of the notion of who we are started in the XIX century with profoundly racist ideas, quite attached to society and culture.
Between legal antiracism and social racism, there is a wide grey area. It is not usual to find open racist statements on the paper traditional press. Mostly the media tries to avoid these types of statements so as not to cross the line of what is considered politically correct. When it comes to audiovisual media though, that grey area gets darker, and at the time they lower their guard, phrases such as ‘three people and one Bolivian are dead’, from Crónica TV arise. But these comments are always present, as Alejandro Frigerio pointed out, on the Internet. If you want to check it and see it for yourself you only need to Google ‘negro cabeza’.
In Argentina not only there is racism, but it is also a very special variant. It is evil and pretends to be invisible. One of the first racist phrases is ’there aren’t any black people here’. Following comes a series devoted to being against ‘shitty black people’ and ‘a black people’s soul’.
Traducción no oficial o autorizada del español al inglés de un extracto del libro “ Mitomanías argentinas: Cómo hablamos de nosotros mismos’’ de Alejandro Grimson.
Unofficial unauthorized Spanish to English translation of an extract from “ Mitomanías argentinas: Cómo hablamos de nosotros mismos’’, a book by Alejandro Grimson.