Week 6

A question that arose in my mind while I was Reading Dawson’s analysis before the primary documents was why did certain countries like Cuba and Haiti’s emancipation begin with the efforts of the slaves themselves, and in other countries the movement began with Liberals and planters like in Brazil. I am also surprised that the indigenous people would prefer the rule of the crown over the rule of the colonial elite. Although it is quite logical that they would prefer the rule of one elite leader that would give them benefits over another that would not, the way that I have been taught history is to villianize the royal colonizer.

I also found interesting the difference in racism in the United States and in Latin America. Dawson argues that race was more of a clear-cut distinction between the classes in the United States than in Latin America during the time of the New Republics. He gives the example of the elite blacks in Cuba and Brazil. In the United States, blacks and slaves were nearly synonymous, unlike in Cuba and Brazil. He mentions the “one drop” rule, which I believe still applies today. However, in my experience, having even just a drop of black ancestry is a source of pride. This makes me think of our previous class discussion about the equivalent of the caste systems in today’s society. I think that in Western society, people still feel a need to categorize races, and when someone does not fall into the equivalent of a frame of a casta painting, they feel marginalized. The casta paintings attempted to eliminate this interstitiality that many people who fall into the “one drop rule” face.

The difference in opinion between Maria Eugenia Echenique and Judith is one that is still applicable today. Liberal Feminists and Radical feminists argue whether women should be assimilated into male society and male traits (liberal feminism) or whether they should embrace their “superior” traits and roles as women (essentialist radical feminism). Maria seems to be embracing the liberal sentiment of the time. Judith sticks with the essentialist view that women are made for a certain role in society. It is interesting how often God is brought up in Judith’s writing. Like current Radical Cultural Feminists, Judith values motherhood and the “God-given” abilities of women. It is shocking that a woman could write in such simple words her belief that she is socially, politically, and economically unequal to man. It makes me wonder who was the audience of this journal.

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