Mara Loveman's National Colors: Racial Classification And The State In Latin America

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In the book, National Colors: Racial Classification and the State in Latin America, author Mara Loveman examines the history of racial classification in Latin American nations, through the use of census records. There are three main questions that the author works to answer throughout the book. The first, is why did these nations historically classify populations by their race? Why did they eventually decide to stop using this method for some time and why was it brought back? The author also looks at the different ways these nations are influenced by other nations, and how this affects the recording of these populations over time. In Chapter 2, the author deals with early forms of categorization. During the years of Spanish and Portuguese colonial rule in Latin America, these two empires, believe that it is crucial to have ethno racial classification for each colony. The reason is because it helps these empires to exploit …show more content…

Most noted is the International Statistical Congress, which gave them “instructions on how to conduct a modern national census”(Loveman, 1). Many Latin American nations use these ideas in order to progress. With the acceptance of these ideas for censuses, also comes the use of racism. This includes the use of setting restrictions in political involvement, such as the requirement to be able to read and own property. What is important to remember is that not every Latin nation “classified their populations by race in their early censuses. But the majority of Latin American countries included race questions in at least one and usually more of their nineteenth and early twentieth century censuses” (Loveman, 12). During the early twentieth century, race in censuses is not considered totally important as in the previous centuries. When World War II begins, this changes and there was a push to include it again in the

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