The Afro-Colombian identity has been characterized for being notoriously strong in certain areas of the country but extremely weak in others. In the 1970s some Afro-Colombian activists made possible the “creation” of an identity discourse that is based on their ancestors’ historical struggles and contributions to the nation. Behind this “recent” discourse there is a strategy that seeks the elimination of racist practices and other human rights abuses against Afro-descendants. To what extent has this ethnic discourse been successful? Why have some Afro-Colombians resisted ethnic homogenization projects whereas many of them have followed the elites’ rules? What are the challenges of the Afro-Colombian identity-building process and mobilization? The author intends to answer these questions, while explaining the importance for Afro-Colombians of their heritage and ethnic self-awareness as a political tool. The paper represents one of the few works of its kind that studies the Afro-Colombian ethnic identity discourse and the political strategy behind its social goals.