Afro-Mexicans Turning Their Newly Found Relevance Into Power In Mexico


Walter Thompson-Hernandez displays a photograph of his parents, Kerry Thompson and Ellie Hernandez. Thompson-Hernandez identifies as a "blaxican" — another term for Afro-Mexican, the identity soon to be included on the Mexican census for the first time.
With February comes Black History Month in the U.S., a time designated to reflect on the history and contributions of people of African descent in this country. And while the month may invite debate among some, one thing rarely does in the U.S.: the idea of calling oneself, or being described as, black or African-American.

son of an African-American father 
and Mexican mother, created the Instagram
account Blaxicans of LA.

In Mexico, however, it is unusual — so unusual, in fact, that up until now, Mexican citizens were unable to officially recognize themselves as "Afro-Mexican" on national censuses. That is set to change in the upcoming 2020 census, though. Already, a preliminary 2015 survey — conducted in preparation for the 2020 census — found that some 1.4 million people identify as Afro-Mexican.

To learn more about what this might mean — and why these changes are only happening now — NPR's Michel Martin spoke with Luisa Ortiz, CEO of Nova Mexico, a nonprofit organization that works with minorities communities.

NPR also spoke with people of mixed Mexican and African descent; their takes on race and identity can be found on the right side.

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