Afro-Colombians Make up a Disproportionately Large Percentage of War Victims (E)
Colombia’s war victims are numerous, but it is now well known that Afro-Colombians make up a disproportionately large percentage of war victims and that their historical position within the nation continues to place them in particularly vulnerable situations. For this reason, it is important to ask: what are the possibilities that this peace process presents for the pursuit of an anti-racist agenda? As the enthusiasm for a peaceful Colombia grows—now that peace dialogues with the National Liberation Army (ELN) have begun as well—the question of whether the peace process will move us closer to dismantling one of the central mechanisms of inequality in Colombia looms large.
The possibility of ending a fifty-year war in Colombia ushers in a moral imperative to imagine an alternative and less violent future. While it might seem only logical to suggest that an avenue towards a just resolution of the conflict would be the inclusion of these excluded sectors into the remaking of the Colombian nation, history has taught us otherwise. Inclusion into the state’s project is not enough. In other words, so long as Afro-Colombian struggles for justice remain framed within the limits of state recognition, anti-racism is unlikely to flourish.
I find much more potential for anti-racism in the work of those who have remained on the margins of the state, such as a group of Black women who resist extractive polices in the mountains of northern Cauca. Independently funded, autonomously organized, and internationally connected, the political work of this group of women suggests that the most promising possibilities for anti-racism perhaps lie outside of state recognition—not in the struggle for national inclusion or recognition but in the spaces for autonomous existence. NACLA