Soy Negr@! Afro Mexicans Seek Constitutional Recognition During UN Decade of Tribute

By: Patricia Ann Talley, MBA and Editor*

Soy Negr@! (I’m Black) is the slogan of Mexico’s African descendants as they rally for self-identity, and call for legal recognition in their national constitution, so they will be counted in the 2020 census. If successful, this social activist movement will culminate during the United Nations International Decade for People of African Descent (2015 – 2024), and will be an historic step in human rights for the nation of Mexico.

Finally, after over 500 years in obscurity, world history will soon be changed to include the existence, the contributions, and the culture of Africans that is interwoven into the very fabric of Mexico. It was Africans, not the Spanish who comprised the majority of the foreign population in colonial Mexico. Africans accounted for about 70% of the foreigners, compared to the Spanish minority of 30% 1.

Population by Groups in New Spain

Now! It is time for the story of Afro Mexicans to be told. Soy Negr@!

Soy Negro @

Why is this correction in history important to YOU?

The history of the Americas was written from the perspectives of Europeans, who came to these lands and claimed them, based on a fifteenth century doctrine of religious and racial superiority – their “manifest destiny.” Our histories, and the resulting social and economic policies, were based on the conquest, enslavement, and cultural subjugation of the indigenous and African people that were part of this colonization.

Critical to the world today is that the United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues reports that these fifteenth century doctrines of religious and racial superiority are STILL the basis of international law and many national laws, and are the cause of many of our current social and economic problems!2

Do you want peace in the world? Then, the process starts by us “de-colonizing” our minds, and learning the truth about our common history in the Americas, and the rich past and contributions of its entire people. Together, we can work to change our world to have a peaceful and more prosperous future for all. Let the real “discovery” begin!

Why is this important to Afro Mexicans?

Currently, Mexicans of African descent are counted in the national census as part of the indigenous population. But, unlike the other indigenous groups, Afro Mexicans have no distinct language other than Spanish (there are over 60 languages in Mexico). Therefore, they do not qualify for government and private educational grants and economic development support that are provided to the other indigenous communities that are identified by their language groups. Many Afro Mexicans still live in communities that are geographically isolated, with no roads, public utilities, hospitals, schools, etc., and in post-colonial, post-slavery conditions.

House in Costa Chica

Recognition of Afro Mexicans in the national constitution and counting them as such in the 2020 census will help to change the history of Mexico and the world. But, most importantly, it will help to change the lives and living conditions of many Americans!

We are ALL Americans! Soy Negr@!   

About the Author: Patricia Ann Talley is a Whitney M. Young, Jr. Fellow of Economic Development from the University of Michigan. She has lived in Mexico since 1997, conducting post-graduate research and developing strategies for economic empowerment. She serves as a representative in Mexico for Peace Pals International.


1.Gonzalo Aguirre Beltrán, La población negra en México, México, Fondo de Cultura Económica, 1946.

2. United Nations Permanent Forum for Indigenous People: In 1835, Judge John Catron (1786-1865), while seated on the Supreme Court of the State of Tennessee (United States),(6) officially identified “a principle” as part of “the law of Christendom”, specifically, “that discovery gave title to assume sovereignty over, and to govern the unconverted [non-Christian] peoples of Africa, Asia, and North and South America”. Catron declared that this principle had been recognized as a part of the Law of Nations “for nearly four centuries, and that it is now so recognized by every Christian power, in its political department and its judicial.”


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