Racism still a major concern in Lima

Living in Peru
Jobana Soto

It has been 154 years since African Peruvians gained their freedom in the country but racial barriers still exist between blacks and whites. According to Paul Colinó Monroy, president of Movimiento Negro Francisco Congo, an organization that supports the rights of Afroperuvians, the inclusion of blacks in the community is slow and difficult.

“I see supermarkets and banks, over there no blacks work there,” Monroy stated. “It’s true that there are laws that condemn racial discrimination but in life, a black person doesn’t have it easy compared to those of other ethnicities.”

In a recent poll conducted by Grupo de Opinión Pública from the University of Lima, 76.5 percent surveyed considered Peruvians to be racists. Julio Mansilla, commissioner of the Adjuntía de Derechos Humanos de la Defensoría del Pueblo, says that very rarely discrimination cases are filed with the police department because of lack of trust that justice will be served or shame that they were discriminated.

When a group of young cyclists from San Juan de Lurigancho were biking in to Larco Mar, the group was detained, accused of being delinquents. According to Gabriel Prado, city security specialist, many saw that as a sign of “you don’t belong in this part of town.”

While racism may be prevalent in the city of Lima the best way to battle against the issue, according to Mansilla, is to openly discuss the topic and the problems many Peruvians of all ethnic groups face.