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Race: The Cultural And Political Power Of An Illusion In Latin America

1902 words - 8 pages

Race: The Cultural and Political Power of an Illusion in Latin America

Race has been the most arguable and controversial subject in Latin American history. Since 16th century it has created a great deal of prejudice among Latin American people, it has been referred, as biological characteristics later modified to a social statue such are education, wealth and language. It has been under a heavy influence of cultural and political power where people were classified from their biological characteristics to their wealth. Through the time race has become the main tool for state creation and regulation. Race has become a status, which has structured and organized the nation but the term ...view middle of the document...

(Shwarte 1995, 49) This idea of race was a controversial between sixteenth-century chroniclers and nineteen century naturalists and in late nineteenth century racial discourse emerged as a theme of citizenship. However In the twentieth century, with the different views on the definition of “race” among the scholars, UNESCO organization was the first to describe “race” to ease the ideas and conflicts after the Holocaust. UNESCO declared that race was a social myth rather then a biological fact (Brattain 2007, 1387). However the statement became very controversial among the anthropologists and scholars. They challenged the idea that one can’t just ignore the differences in between people’s ability and that race is a meaningless term created only for false “superficial traits” (Brattain 2007,1398). The idea of no existence of race has been called an “Equalitarian Dogma” arguing that South Africa had being having “race problem” for 300 years and they can’t just pretend that it hasn’t meant anything. In the article “unfixing race” Kathryn Burn describes the past of race, the negative association with the word. The prehestorical examples of racism involve a religion, seventeenth century Peru considered a Jews as “bad whites”. The Old Spanish institutions were trying to fix the cleanliness of people’s bloodlines. The illusion created by the ones in power was clear and strong as more people tried to convert under the fear of strict punishments. The unwanted “race” was targeted by the political power and also influenced by the culture of that period of time. In late sixteenth century the idea of the Spanish royalty to create “two republic” model was another attempt of the “race” destruction. The idea of physical segregation of Indians from non-Indians and force relocation didn’t turned out a success, indigenous African women, brought as slaves eventually had become wives for some of the Europeans and children of theirs have created a new race of people. They were immediately labeled as a new inferior race, a race which didn’t feet in either republic; “They gave Spanish authorities a linguistic handle on those who fit neither of the two republics- and who seemed, to their dismay, to threaten both with their disorderly conduct. These were Spaniards’ impure New World others”, quotes Burns. Another generation, which was, also under the heavy negative cultural influence was so called creoles, translating as “black born in the Indies”; the new prejudice among the culture was created which was emphasizing their birthplace. According the article race had to do with honor and quality. These people had no chance of self-identifications; they were already assigned and evaluated as inferiors, a strong illusion that governed rest of their lives.
In early 20th century the Latin America was introduced a new term “eugenics” according the article Eugenics in Latin America: Its Origin and Institutional Ecology eugenics has associated with patriotism and the call...

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