Home Institution

Tufts University

Publication Date

Spring 2023

Program Name

Morocco: Multiculturalism and Human Rights


The purpose of this investigation is to delve into the complex dynamics of how blackness is perceived and negotiated within the intricate social fabric of Moroccan society. Drawing on the theoretical framework of black political thought, this study examines the interrelated systems of race, colonialism, and diaspora to trace the formation of black identity in Morocco, its navigation, and its manifestation in contemporary times. The Moroccan state has recently come under scrutiny for its treatment of Sub-Saharan migrants, who have been subjected to racism both from the police and the Moroccan people. This is even though black Moroccans with indigenous and formerly enslaved heritage are a visible presence in the country. Through extensive independent research, the author reveals that anti-blackness is deeply ingrained in Moroccan society, dating back to the initial Amazigh conquest when an established hierarchy was created to justify the invasion of black indigenous tribes. This pattern repeated itself with the arrival of pan-Arabism and pan-Judaism, with black indigenous people being relegated to an even lower status. The institutionalization of slavery in Morocco catalyzed anti-blackness, resulting in the homogenization of all black people in the country, regardless of their heritage. Slavery persisted in Morocco until the country gained independence in 1956 when campaigns of nationalism and Arabization further marginalized the existence of Black Moroccans. These efforts aimed to legitimize Morocco as a post-colonial state and contributed to Moroccan exceptionalism in the African context, allowing the country to distance itself from Black Africa and perpetuate racism towards Sub-Saharan migrants. Moroccan exceptionalism manifests in a multitude of ways for the black communities in Ait Banhaddou and the Gnawa of Essaouira as they navigate their black roots in the face of marginalization and Moroccan culture.


Africana Studies | African Studies | Indigenous Studies | Migration Studies | Race, Ethnicity and Post-Colonial Studies


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