Posted by: | February 10, 2009 | Comments Off on Mestizaje

I must admit, I enjoyed the first reading by Vasconcelos but struggled through the Wade article. While I feel that Vasconcelos is clearly somewhat of a mad-man, I was engaged in the text and continually wondering what he might say next. In his essay, “The Cosmic Race”, Vasconcelos talks about the creation of a super-race of mestizos or mixed people. He states that the Americas came to be as they are today (or in 1925) through constant conflict between latinism and Anglo-Saxonism. The Latin people colonized central and South America and, according to Vasconcelos, began to reproduce with the Natives, people of Aboriginal and Black descent. In contrast to Darwin’s theory of “survival of the Fittest” where the strongest traits and characteristics of humanity thrive and the weakest die off, the author sees the amalgamation of two different ethnicity’s as a method of creating a superior race that magnifies the strengths of both backgrounds into one race or culture, the Mestizo race. When I was reading the text i found myself likening Vasconcelos’s theory to that of a dog breeder. Dog breeders have created hypo-allergenic dogs, animals that won’t mess with a person’s allergies, allowing allergic people to have a dog. They also try and breed dogs to have strong hips and good skin and so on… Apparently, in Vasconcelos’s twisted view, the mestizo race would gain world supremacy sue to the rich blend of cultures that define the race. He uses religious connotations, Mythical connotations, mystical connotations, and sexual connotations to build an argument that I found somewhat outrageous. It was almost comical at the end that he could believe all this would come to fruition as stated by the very last sentence, “…we in America shall arrive, before any part of the world, at the creation of a new race fashioned out of the treasures of all the previous ones: The final race, the cosmic race” (Pg. 40). Honestly, I could envision this script going straight to the space network, it lacks any sense of reality.
The Wade article was much less fantasy than the vasconcelos paper! Although I did not enjoy the read as a whole, there were some interesting parts of the article. Wade discusses music and the embodiment of Mestizaje in Columbia, and specifically in the Caribbean coast of Columbia where there are a high percentage of Black people and Mestizo culture. I found it interesting that different types of music were symbolic of different types of people. For example, Cumbia music is symbolic of the courtship between a man of African descent while a woman of Aboriginal descent. The Cumbia dance is seen as very sexual and it “…recreates the image of an ‘original’ inter-racial encounter” (Pg. 245). The Mestizaje used music as vehicle for expression and an art form to call their own.


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