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Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Perú Reacts Strongly to Anti-Black Racism




For the first time in history, a Peruvian court fined two company officials $1,560 and sentenced them to prison for blatant acts of racism against an Afro-Peruvian employee. 

Perú's minister of culture stated that this action against the two defendants is an important vindication for the historically discriminated black community, and could set a precedent for more racially sensitive cases. 

The general manager abused his black employee with hurtful words and derogatory gestures regarding her skin color. The black employee complained to the company's human resource manager. Even witnesses stepped forward to verify the employee's complaint, and still no action was taken against the perpetrator. The woman then filed charges in court.

After the Rodney King incident years back, a Peruvian co-worker told me there was no such racism in Perú against their black community.

In the first of my several visits to Perú, I was somewhat impressed after off-boarding my plane and saw a large welcoming sign containing a photo of an Asian, a white, an indigenous, and a black person over the words printed, “Welcome to Perú” as if to boasts of the country's racial diversity. I was also pleased to see a black woman working at the desk to greet us before we were cleared by immigration.

Outside of these minor examples, I observed an overwhelming amount of racial discrimination against, blacks, Asians, and the indigenous. Even in heavily populated black areas, I saw only a handful of blacks working in the business community, public transportation, or in government buildings. In fact, blacks, and other people of color are limited to the types of careers they can enter.

However, a black American friend who purchased a home in Perú with his Afro-Peruvian wife prefers Perú's  institutional racism over the hate crimes, racial profiling, and police brutality and murders that consistently occurs against black and brown people in the U.S. He has a son, and feels strongly that his son will be much safer in Perú than in the U.S. Now, I understand what my Peruvian co-worker he was trying to tell me when he said there was no racism in Perú.