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How Have European Constructed Notions of Beauty and Social Class Division Affected the Acceptance of Afro-Latinx Communities and Obstructed Their Development?

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The 110th Congress has maintained an interest in the situation of Afro-Latinos in Latin America, particularly the plight of Afro-Colombians affected by the armed conflict in Colombia. In recent years, people of African descent in the Spanish- and Portuguese-speaking nations of Latin America — also known as “Afro-Latinos” — have been pushing for increased rights and representation

Afro-Latinos comprise some 150 million of the region’s 540 million total population, and, along with women and indigenous populations, are among the poorest, most marginalized groups in the region. Afro-Latinos have formed groups that, with the help of international organizations, are seeking political representation, human rights protection, land rights, and greater social and economic opportunities. Improvement in the status of Afro-Latinos could be difficult and contentious, however, depending on the circumstances of the Afro-descendant populations in each country.

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Participants in the community sample were recruited using newspaper ads and fliers posted in various parts of the city with a large African American population (based on census data)

Eligibility criteria included (1) self-identifying as an African American woman, (2) being at least eighteen years old, and (3) not currently being involved in the criminal justice system. Women were recruited until the target sample of 200 was reached. Participants were paid $20 for completing the baseline interview. All data were collected by African American female interviewers using Computer Assisted Personal Interviewing (CAPI) software. Interviews were face-to-face and lasted approximately three hours.

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The validity of a concept of European identity has itself been questioned.1 It is beyond the scope of this policy review to present a comprehensive review of this vast literature


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One way of organizing existing thought on structural differentiation is to trace the ways in which this phenomenon has been related to both integration and conflict. In the theories of Adam Smith and Herbert Spencer differentiation was regarded as a fundamental principle of change, but the integration of specialized activities was not problematic in their theories because it was regarded as a result that emerged from the aggregation of voluntary exchange in society. Differentiation (the division of labor) also played a central role in the theories of Karl Marx and Emile Durkheim. Marx posited contradictions, conflicts, and ultimate disintegration as arising from the differentiation of economic and social positions in economic systems. Durkheim stressed the need for positive integration in a differentiated society if anomie and conflict were not to become endemic

In his contribution to this volume, Alexander acknowledges the power of Durkheim's theory of differentiation but finds shortcomings in its naive evolutionary assumptions and its mechanistic quality.

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Bates, P., Chiba, M., Kube, S. and Nakashima, D. (eds.). 2009. Learning and Knowing in Indigenous Societies Today. Paris, UNESCO.

Benavot, A. 2008. Background material for the compilation of IBE [International Bureau of Education] fi gures on timetables and curricula

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