Posted by: | February 9, 2009 | Comments Off on Mestizaje

Throughout the first reading, it was apparent that Vasconcelos viewed the indigenous cultures as inferior to the Europeans and the mestizos. Much of his writing is devoted to predicting the formation of a ‘fifth race’, one that is the product of the fusion of “the Black, the Indian, the Mongol, and the White” (Vasconcelos, p.9). Vasconcelos takes it for granted that this fifth race would be founded upon Christianity and ‘Iberian’ culture; he viewed Christianity as being the only conceivable guiding force into this new era, and he felt that only the Iberian component of Latin America had “the spiritual factors, the race, and the territory necessary for the great enterprise of initiating the new universal era of Humanity” (Vasconcelos, p.20). To me, it appears that he is saying that this new race would remain rooted in European culture, which he feels is superior: Christianity was introduced to Latin America by Europeans; and the term ‘Iberian’ refers to the Spanish. It seems that when he is calling for a fusion of the existing races, he is not referring to a harmonious existence where distinct cultures coexist; he meant the complete assimilation of non-Westerners into a European model of civilization.


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