|[Photo by Maité Escarria and courtesy of Lucía Asué Mbomío Rubio. Used with permission.]|
Journalist Lucía Asué Mbomío Rubio talks about racism and Afro identity in Spain...
"Lucía Asué Mbomío Rubio is a journalist from Spain, the city of Madrid to be more exact. She is the daughter of a woman from Segovia, Spain and a man from Niefang, Equatorial Guinea in central west Africa.
Among other things, this multi-faceted reporter has published a Spanish-language novel titled “The Women Who Dared” (“Las que se atrevieron“), collaborated with multiple organizations such as Global Voices‘ partner Afroféminas, an online community for Afro-descendant women, and runs her own YouTube channel.
Global Voices spoke with Mbomío about her contributions to the fight against racism in the context of Spain, her thoughts about blackness, and her work as an activist.
Global Voices (GV): What are the risks or challenges of embracing the Afro or black identity in a society like Spain?
Lucía Asué Mbomío Rubio (LM): In Spain, there is a fear of talking about race (acknowledging that races, from a biological perspective, don't exist and are a socio-economic construct), or let's say of dealing with certain topics that are uncomfortable or that, as photographer Rubén H. Bermúdez would say, ‘prove to be awkward,’ among other things, because it's assumed that it's something bad.So it's not uncommon to hear phrases like ‘I'm not racist, but,’ as if that preamble were to invalidate the racist remark that usually follows.
For this reason, Mbomío says an important part of the fight against the injustices caused by racism depends on making the discrimination visible. And that in turn largely depends on the spaces in which those affected by it can be heard:
LM: Not long ago, Luis Castellví, a professor at Cambridge, wrote in an article: ‘For the white majority of Spain, racism is invisible, just like male chauvinism is for certain men, homophobia is for many heterosexuals, and a big etcetera. But obviously that doesn't mean that these kinds of discrimination don't exist. To know how much racism there is in Spain, the minorities who are affected and those who live with them must be given a voice.’Well, this is what often happens in this society, that various -isms are discussed by those who have the privilege of not experiencing them and when we, the affected, offer an opinion, we are automatically accused of having a victim mentality without the understanding that listening to us is an opportunity to alter behaviors and, therefore, to contribute to the improvement of a country that we too belong to."