The Colonial Experience

After reading both readings, I was a bit confused about the Catholic religion, the dominant religion in Europe. On one hand in the 18th century, Casta Painting were considered to be offending according to Andrés Arce y Miranda as they would confirm creole inferiority assumptions. However, in the 17th century, gender switching was even exempted by the Pope from the immediate obligation of law as Monja Alferez/Catalina de Erauso/Antionio or Alonso Diaz/Francisco was forgiven. This surprised me the most since a lot of times religion is followed to the letter, and even used as an excuse to fight against others as we saw in last weeks’ readings with Atahualpa and Fray Vicente. The fact that Spanish Catalina de Eurauso got a popal dispensation to keep dressing as a man provided she remained a virgin and Atahualpa for simply wanting to believe in his own God was captured and killed bewilders me.

Additionally, many contemporaries except for people like Arce y Miranda believed Casta Paintings offered a positive image of Mexico and America as well as Spanish Imperial rule. Were the Casta Paintings so powerful and influencing at that time that it could change the way Spanish thought about indigenous people? For me, this had already been clearly established centuries ago through the colonization process of America and Casta Paintings were a simple representation of that type of thinking. Although I do understand why it could be seen as a continuation of that type of thinking that many wanted to eliminate, the colonizing process was still an important and life-changing moment in history that still persists today. Growing up in Lima, I have heard comments, studied and worked with indigenous communities and listened to personal accounts of racism in modernity.

The fact that a transgender nun in Spain is forgiven and even granted gratitude for her willingness to fight in America (killed many, lied, and practically broke many of the religious rules of that time) but that indigenous people who were living a different reality than Europeans were punished with slavery, death, captivity, mistreatment for doing what they’re sustaining environment had taught them to do (believe in the Sun, spirits, community, etc) is still very confusing to me.

2 thoughts on “The Colonial Experience

  1. I enjoyed a lot your post and i fund it very interesting. I think the toughest part of this reading is that the authors truly believed the hispanic race shouldn’t mix with the indigenous, because their race was a pure one. But we should ask ourselves; is there a pure race? Therefore; Spain was invaded by the arabs for 500 years, so by the time they colonized a part of america, they were already mixed, and not only the population, but their costumes, language, and even the food was a mixture of these 2 cultures.

  2. Spaniards have always been known to be “arrogant” in my personal opinion. Through one point of view we can say that because the Spaniards had an empire which was actually powerful, in their eyes this would give them the right to claim superiority. This was because during those times, a strong empire was product of having a strong “superior” race, so in there eyes they were superior to other races. Nowadays in modern societies, this is what I believe would be classified as “ignorance”. However, in most third world countries, this type of “ignorance” has evolved into the discrimination of those various races. Those who are of indigenous ancestry, are classified as “Cholos”, and those who are white are called “gringos”, which although is derogatory, its still accepted in some Latin-American cultures.

    As for Catalina, the excuse to allowing her to continue her life carrying out activities which women were not meant to do in those days, was that she was helping the Spanish empire by supporting their army. In addition, she was from Spanish decent, which favoured her odds.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *