The lessons of slavery: Discourses of slavery, mestizaje, and blanqueamiento in an elementary school in Puerto Rico



On the basis of ethnographic research conducted in an elementary public school in Puerto Rico, we maintain in this article that subduing and narrowing the history of slavery is instrumental in the reproduction of national ideologies of mestizaje in Afro-Latin America. We explore how school texts and practices silence, trivialize, and simplify the history of slavery and conclude that these maneuvers distance blackness from Puerto Rican identity and silence racism while upholding racial democracy and blanqueamiento as a social value. [slavery, racism in education, Puerto Rico, blanqueamiento, mestizaje, blackness, public history]