Latin American Imperialism

Powerful Essays
Since the 18th century Latin American countries’ failure of achieving independence and civil unrest have been accredited to the racial inferiority of hispanic americans. With the United States as a point of reference and many racial theories as excuses Latin American countries saw anglo-saxon immigrants as the key to national prosperity and saw Indians and blacks as incapable of national building. The work of Chambers, Helg, and Knight depict how through how European colonialism alongside United States imperialism created the racial thought and social structure necessary to solidify socio-economic disparities in Latin America and the founding of strong societal divisions such as race, class, and gender. Glenn Chamber’s article “Color-Blind…show more content…
Knight explains the different meaning race has in Mexico. In Mexico the characteristics that identify “race” are not biological or phenotypic but rather sociological usually designated by one’s language, dress, religion, social organization, culture and consciousness all had to do with ones identification. Knight explains how the label of “Indian” by society placed these people in a box that they themselves were not fond of nor did they identify themselves with. Thus, Indians suffered double oppression, “they suffered an exploitation characteristic of their social class position; and, as ethnic groups in a condition of inferiority” . For such reasons, the Mexican revolution gave light to a new way of thinking. The revolution accelerated the destruction of class lines in Mexico which allowed for a more composite society. Yet, the revolution was a false hope given that the destructions of such class lines led to the emergence of racist reactions that still persist…show more content…
It is for these reasons that although all three articles definitely give a good analysis of different nationalist agendas through Latin American countries the articles leave readers with some ambiguity. For example, Chambers’ article states “who and what constitutes the ‘nation’ is always changing”. Yet, Chambers does not explain how this shift is produced and who decides such a restructuring. Given that Chambers’ article is composed of a continuum of definitions relating to boundaries his work could have benefited from expanding on the dominant players of nation building. On another end, Knight becomes somewhat reductionist in arguing how specifically in Mexico race is based on societal perception rather than biological asset. Nonetheless, this is not an exclusive to Mexico. In fact, this is the case in most of Latin America were one’s race, class, and status are often deducted from characteristic like dress and speech. Lastly, Helg’s article mentions a different array of racial theories and social policies that affected both Argentine and Cuban societies at large during the 19th century, but yet he comes up short in providing a glimpse of how these policies have carried out to the current socio-political climate. Overall, there are a lot of correlations with present day political and
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