Homework #6

I found this week’s homework to be very interesting, which focuses on how people viewed each other in Latin America from the seventeenth century to the nineteenth century. I say the nineteenth century because this is how far our homework extended, although I feel that racial disparities are still apparent in Latin America. I found many similarities between racial conflicts in Latin America and mid-twentieth century United States. Instead of living in society where a hierarchal level of standing was present, people who fulfilled the lower portion of the social ranking favored a society that was horizontal, of rather equal citizenry. “Indian” villages had a difficult time revolting, due to the lack of access to weapons and technology.

By the nineteenth century, John Locke’s labour theory is visible in these “indian” villages. Being a part of these villages, you had certain obligation to the state, but you also received some benefits and legal privileges. You received the right to land, and the right to petition for more land, in the circumstances where your community was growing. Another major privilege was the right to grant access to the Spanish, who they believed could take their land. Like Locke’s labour theory of land, the indigenous people of these villages could provide labour to their land and consider it theirs.

Something I found very interesting was the idea of “scientific racism,” stating that people are placed on the social hierarchy based on their “whiteness.” Scientific racism also includes that these “whites” contained the “cleanest” blood that had been carried within the Old Christian ancestry. “Scientists” built theories as to which biology was destiny, that European whites were at the top of the chain because there was something inherent in their bodies. These “theories” question who were the actual savages of the time. From all that we have read, the indigenous people of the Americas seemed quite modest and, in many ways, thought in a more modern and contemporary way as did the European colonialists.

In the case of crossbreeding, whether it was between a European and an African, an African and a Native American, or any other mix, it did not contribute to a more “proper” and “prosperous” society. These groups were listed as “subjects for extermination,” which reminded me to a more present time: the Holocaust of World War II. It is apparent that racial inequality is still apparent for reasons as absurd during the seventeenth, eighteenth, and nineteenth century.

2 thoughts on “Homework #6

  1. Yusuke Sakanashi

    I also found scientific racism astounding because it justifies racism and slavery. I also liked your observation where you compared it with deportation of Jews in WWII as a subject of extermination.

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  2. eva streitz

    This idea of “scientific racism” brings up the issue of who narrates the history and truths of our society. The majority of the key figures in the fields of history, philosophy, music, art, etc are white males. “Scientific racism” is another “truth” created by the elite of society in order to remain the elite.

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