Posted by: | February 8, 2009 | Comments Off on Mestizaje

Theories of mixture I: Mestizaje
In the first reading Jose Vasconcelos writes about different issues related to “race”. At the beginning he explains that even though the Latin American countries got their independence from the “Latins”(Spain and Portugal) they became then dependant on the “Anglo-Saxon”. On page eleven he writes that “We keep ourselves jealously independent form each other, yet one way or another we submit to, or ally ourselves with, the Anglo-Saxon union.” Here one can see that Vasconcelos shows that it is just an “illusion” to think that Latin American countries are independent. I got the impression that in some parts of the article he looks at the Anglo-Saxons as the example to follow because they were kind of better organized and the Latin American leaders of independence did not have a real plan after fighting for freedom. After reading that part it made me think of “Ariel” of Jose Enrique Rodó where he admires the U.S. but at the same time wants Latin American people to be different and for its people to a vision that embraces a Latin American identity. At some point Vasconcelos also writes that it would have been better if Latin American countries fought for a “continental” fight than an autonomous one. About the mestizaje he talks about how in the Latin part of the “new continent” people embraced the intermixing but in the Anglo-Saxon part people did not mix. In think that there is more mixing nowadays in North America but in my experience after living in the U.S. maybe there are still many issues related to “race” and to what is acceptable and what is not, but that some more people embrace the idea of mixing.
I liked the approach of the second reading. I think that indeed to talk about mestizaje is really complex and that there is not like black or white. I found interesting the examples the author gives. I thought about Mexico and how sometimes Indigenous people are not part of the idea of the “national body” but that sometimes they are when it suits the government interests. It is not easy to talk about that because as the author writes on page 255 “mestizaje has both difference and sameness, homogeneity and heterogeneity, inclusion and exclusion as constitutive elements.” I also agree with the author when he writes on page 255 as well that “blackness and indigenous can still be subjected to hierarchical orderings in which they are made to occupy inferior locations and are discriminated against and/or rendered exotic.”


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