Week 6- Citizenship and Rights

To recap the conclusions of last week’s readings, the Caudillo was the best governing system for post-colonial Latin America. This system kept the rich where they wanted to be, at the top with the ability to control laws and to decide if they would like to impose them.  The poor and marginalized inherit the new benefits, in which they have the ability to have some say in the laws and taxation imposed on their town, as long as they know someone higher up. Moreover, the casta paintings proved that liberalism would not work in the post-colonial world.  It was as we’ve discovered,  an attempt to understand and impose assumptions on the people shown in the paintings.  This way of dividing people could have never allowed for those higher up to see everyone as equals.  It was also a way of making sure minorities knew their place within society. 

Even today, there are certain assumptions that have been placed on minority groups. What were the first assumptions or stereotypes that you first thought of today’s assumptions?  more importantly what minority group did you think of first? Was it that Latinos are either lazy or hard-working gardeners or construction workers? Black/ African Americans are criminals or dangerous? These were my first thoughts I had when I was looking for the most common assumptions of minorities.  The weird thing is that I don’t remember ever being told/ taught these assumptions, so where did I get them from? Again, these assumptions are all an attempt to control or manage minority groups. The casta paintings are intended to form assumptions about these races, their jobs, their homes, economic status, social status.

I want to quote something from the lecture, “And the stain of racial violence endures into the present”.  This reminded me of the current social movements.  Black/ African and Indigenous fights for the recognition of past and present genocide, prejudice, stigma and injustice. Again we have become more aware of these movements over social media and quarantine.  Something that shocked me a few weeks ago and continues to shock me is the number of Africans that were taken to Brazil. For 365 years (from 1501 to 1866) , approximately five million people were stolen and forced into slavery. Five Million. In 1888, slavery was finally abolished.  I was only 132 years ago.  The average life expectancy in Canada is 82 years, this implies that families still have fresh wounds, stories and memories their elders have told their great-grandchildren.  This is heartbreaking to think that their pain is so fresh.

From the citizen text, I wanted to point out this statement, “One of the greatest prizes a mestizo male could gain was a wife who was whiter than himself, the surest guarantee of both her virtue and a better future for his children”.  This text reminds me of the booming industry of skin bleaching, specifically in South Asia.  There is this inherited thought that a light-skinned partner is virtuous.  When you are born with darker skin, you are seen as less than, and you are constantly advised to bleach your skin.  I read this article that talks about how this young girl was called blackie ny her family because she wasn’t as fair as her siblings and cousins.  she saw herself as ugly because there was no one to represent her in media.  The rest of the article talks about the message Bollywood actors are sending to young South Asian kids (refer to the ad below; its in Punjabi, but easy to understand the message).

How do we move away from assumptions that have been inherited to all minorities? How do we end this narrative? Does the fact the someone is a citizen change their narrative or assumption?

Sarita 🙂

2 thoughts on “Week 6- Citizenship and Rights

  1. Jon Beasley-Murray

    Hi, Sarita. I’m not sure I understand your first two sentences. First, by “castillo,” do you mean “caudillo”? Second, your second sentence seems contradictory: “this system benefited the rich and was the only system that could have given any benefit to the poor and marginalized.” Perhaps you can explain that a little more? Thanks!

  2. sarita ponce Post author

    Hello Jon,
    Thank you for your feedback. I’ve tried to elaborate and I changed the wording for the first two sentences. I hope it is clear now.
    Thank you again,
    Sarita 🙂


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