As Long as You’re a Black Wo/Man You’re an African: Creole Diasporic Politics in the Age of Mestizo Nationalism

Melanie White, University of Pennsylvania

This paper was part of the 2014-2015 Penn Humanities Forum on Color. Find out more at


What follows in Chapters one through three reflect online, social media, and ethnographic research with which I describe and theorize some of the ways in which Afro-Nicaraguan Creoles are (re)interpreting racialized interpellations of their identities (Allen 2011: 5) and utilizing Black diasporic politics in this era of increasing globalization. Here I am less interested in the break between Afrocentric and Black postmodernist thought as articulated by theorists like Molefi Kete Assante (1980) and Paul Gilroy (1993), respectively, than I am in the ways in which an aesthetic and cultural politics of Blackness are being deployed by Creoles in Bluefields.

In chapter one I explore music production among Creoles and the site of the sonic as a medium through which a claim to diasporic Blackness can be waged and which Creoles have been engaging with for some time. Chapter two considers the site of the visual and the works of two Creole women painters and their political engagements with constructing alternative images of Black womanhood in Nicaragua (White 2001; Morris 2010). The paintings of June Beer and Karen Spencer Downs are at once counter-discourses of Black womanhood as well as representations of Black women situated in both local and larger Afro-Caribbean communities and cultural contexts.


Date Posted: 17 November 2016