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The anti-racist fight is not a war of blacks against whites. Even so, to believe that we are all equal is to disregard the meaning of deaths like George Floyd’s and to perpetuate the naturalization of social statuses determined by racism and the continuity of an unequal structure: classist, sexist and racist.

The black population has been a victim of the worst violence and denial of rights throughout the world. Too many times, these attacks violate the universal principle that gives meaning to all civic guarantees: the right to life.

This harsh reality was highlighted in the wave of protests that began in the Minneapolis metropolitan area in the United States on March 26. It has been these demonstrations that have managed to put on the world agenda a topic that everyone knows, but of which very few speak. The video of an African-American man being suffocated to death by a white policeman in broad daylight was necessary for racism to become a central issue again; to open the debate and discuss it without the limiting discomfort of those who do not want to listen.

This nonsense is systemic, it does not occur in a war scenario, it is not part of an episode of apartheid in South Africa. It is one more case of the pandemic present in the world before the arrival of Covid-19, which is continuing its course in the middle of the 21st century and which now has as its epicenter the supposed “greatest democracy in the world”: the United States.

Just as African American black people die every day in the United States, black men and women die in Latin America every day, victims of the systemic racism that sustains their institutions, the product of a history of more than 500 years of slavery. The deaths in the United States were necesarry so that many of us could think about the real meaning of anti-racism and black genocide around the world.

The case of João Pedro, a 14-year-old black teenager shot in the belly by the Military Police inside his house in São Gonçalo, (Brazil) on May 14, and the case of Anderson Arboleda, another 22-year-old black man assassinated by a police officer who gave him 8 blows to the head in Puerto Tejada (Colombia) on May 21, are just two examples among many, proof that the issue of race is as alive as ever in the region.

According to the World Bank’s report “Afro-descendants in Latin America: Towards an inclusion framework”, Latin America’s black population in 2015 was about 133 million, around 24% of the total population. Unlike the United States, whose methodology for racial or ethnic classification is based on descent, in Latin America, this recognition is flexible and established around self-declaration, connected with physical and socio-cultural aspects.