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Inventing “race”

17 May 2022

In the Americas, we’re forced… or rather in the habit… of thinking of “race” in broad terms, “white”, “black”, “indigenous american”, “asian”… though for most of the hemisphere, it’s a mix and match. A very different interpretation… and catagorization… of who was what “race” when what we call “white people” first appeared in this part of the world. For them, being a Castilian, or Norman, or English, was a different “race” than being a Basque, or a Gascon, or Irish. While the various colonial states (Spanish, Portuguese, English, French, Dutch) might lump their migrant class together (and expand the definition when it suited them), and lump the indigenous people into a single “race” as “Indians”, to justify not including those “migrants” who came against their will required a new way of thinking of people, new categories of (mis)understanding.

“Bad Empanada” (an Australian? in Argentina) is not my favorite commentator on Latin America, but his lecture on the “invention” of the white (and black) “races”… and “race” is well argued, and worth considering:

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