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stranger sociability in infancy.


“It has to be noted that societies impose racial and ethnic categories only on certain groups”. (Kramsch, 1998: 68.)

Colombia is one of those countries where, looking at the cédula (I.D.), you can instantly corroborate such statement. In my book ” Soy Afrocolombiano” I contest that imposition. “Tome usted dos personas, una de raza india o mestiza cuyo color de piel puede ser ébano y tome el color de la piel de un persona afro cualquiera, que probablemente tenga el mismo tono de piel que la primera persona. Una va a ser llamada “trigueña” la otra “morena”.

Tome el tono de piel de una persona blanca, tipo sajón – aquí mal llamados “monos” (¡que fauna!); ahora tome el tono de piel de una persona blanca no sajona, del llamado tipo mediterráneo. La primera va a ser llamada “trigueña clara” y probablemente la segunda será clasificada “trigueña”. Going back to Kramsch (1998: 66):”For example, in 1993 the South African government changed the racial classification of 690 people: two – thirds of these, who had been Coloreds, became Whites, 72 who had been Blacks became Coloreds, and 11 Whites were redistributed among other racial groups”!

The reader may find a contrasting relationship between two different cultures, the South African and the Colombian culture with one similar official attitude towards racially classifying people.

When you go to the corresponding office that provides you with your cédula (I.D.), racial classification may be considered imposed on you, in this case “Moreno” or any other, if you will. In Murillo (1997: 10) it is read: “El término Afrocolombiano tiene sentido porque define una identidad nacional que viene de allá (África) y viene de acá” (Colombia), a line to explain why the term “moreno” is more a societal racial classification imposition rather than a culturally accurate determination.

As much as we have to be aware of cultural stereotypes, as teachers in the EFL classroom we need to be alert to culturally contextualized teaching. That is my next topic of interest hereunder.