Tag Archives: Week3

Week3: The Colonial Experience

I always assumed, in Latin America, the population consisted of indigenous people and Europeans and the two lived completely segregated from each other. Therefore, I was very surprised to learn more African slaves were brought into South American colonies then into the United States. The fact that interracial marriages were fairly common was even more shocking. I expected races to be completely separated as they were in North America, especially because ethnic cleansing was taking place back in Spain. However, considering the fact Latin America was a “racial hotbed” as it was said in the lecture, the mixing of races was probably inevitable.

As a biracial person myself, I think the idea of trying to comprehend and manage differences can be still applied today, just as the Casta Paintings tried to do so. In Japan, I have always been told I do not look Japanese and some people assumed I could not speak Japanese. Although this made me feel uncomfortable at first I got the same comment so many times that it stopped bothering me. However, recently, a person I met through social media who also happens to go to UBC, told me I look completely Japanese and did not look caucasian at all. This person’s comment upset me and at the time I did not know why. Now when I think about it, the reason I felt upset was probably because I felt as though the identity I built myself, the white looking biracial girl, was being challenged. Being told I was one thing all my life and suddenly being told differently confused me. I didn’t know what category I fit into. I can only imagine how confusing and unsettling people in the colonial era must have felt, especially for your race defines your social status.

The story of Catalina de Erauso was also very fascinating. Joan of Arc is another figure who dressed as a man to fight in battle but her sexuality or gender identity is not clear, which makes Catalina stand out even more. Her memoir made me wonder whether she was the only transgender conquistador. Had there been other women who dressed in armor to fight against the Indios? Also, were there women fighting against the Spaniards on the indigenous side? Taking into account women’s social status at the time, female warriors would have been rare, however, I think it would be an interesting topic to learn about.