Overview[ edit ] According to Jon Aske: Before Hispanics became such a 'noticeable' group in the U. The notion of racial continuum and a separation of race or skin color and ethnicity, on the other hand, is the norm in most of Latin America.
La Raza and Limpieza de Sangre In Latin American Racial background of latin america of racephysiological traits is often combined with social traits such as socio-economic status, so that a person is categorized not only according to physical phenotype, but also according to social standing.
An ethnic group is normally defined by having a degree of cultural and linguistic similarity and often an ideology of shared roots. Another difference between race and ethnicity is that race is usually conceptualized as a system of categorization where membership is limited to one category, and is externally ascribed by other who are not members of that category without regards to the individuals own feeling of membership.
Whereas ethnicity is often seen as a system of social organization where membership is established through mutual identification between a group and its members.
The construction of race in Latin America is different from, for example, the model found in the United States, possibly because race mixing has been a common practice since the early colonial period, whereas in the United States it has generally been avoided.
Blanqueamiento Blanqueamiento, or whitening, is a social, political, and economic practice used to "improve" the race mejorar la raza towards whiteness. However, blanqueamiento can be considered in both the symbolic and biological sense  Symbolically, blanqueamiento represents an ideology that emerged from legacies of European colonialism, described by Anibal Quijano 's theory of coloniality of powerwhich caters to white dominance in social hierarchies  Biologically, blanqueamiento is the process of whitening by marrying a lighter skinned individual in order to produce lighter-skinned offspring.
Mestizaje An important phenomenon described for some parts of Latin America such as Brazil and Mexico is " Whitening " or " Mestizaje " describing the policy of planned racial mixing with the purpose of minimizing the non-white part of the population.
In Latin America, a person's ancestry is quite irrelevant to racial classification. For example, full-blooded siblings can often be classified by different races Harris Casta During the Spanish colonial periodSpaniards developed a complex caste system based on race, which was used for social control and which also determined a person's rights in society.
India - a person who is a native of, or indigenous to, Mesoamericaand 4 Negro fem. Negra - a person of African slave descent.
The Castizos which had one Mestizo parent and one Spanish parent, the children of a Castizo were generally accepted as a Criollo. Additionally the presence of considerable portions of the population with partly African and Asian heritage further complicates the situation.
Even though it still arranges persons along the line between indigenous and European, in practice the classificatory system is no longer biologically based, but rather mixes socio-cultural traits with phenotypical traits, and classification is largely fluid, allowing individuals to move between categories and define their ethnic and racial identities situationally.
It is now however becoming recognized that processes of identity formation and social stratification in regards to all population groups in Mexico can be analyzed both in terms of race and of ethnicity. Mestizos[ edit ] The large majority of Mexicans classify themselves as " Mestizos ", meaning that they neither identify fully with any indigenous culture or with a particular non-Mexican heritage, but rather identify as having cultural traits and heritage that is mixed by elements from indigenous and European traditions.
By the deliberate efforts of post-revolutionary governments the "Mestizo identity" was constructed as the base of the modern Mexican national identity, through a process of cultural synthesis referred to as mestizaje. The word has somewhat pejorative connotations and most of the Mexican citizens who would be defined as mestizos in the sociological literature would probably self-identify primarily as Mexicans.
This usage does not conform to the Mexican social reality where, like in Brazil, a person of mostly indigenous genetic heritage would be considered Mestizo either by rejecting his indigenous culture or by not speaking an indigenous language,  and a person with a very low percentage of indigenous genetic heritage would be considered fully indigenous either by speaking an indigenous language or by identifying with a particular indigenous cultural heritage.
For example, it has been observed that upwards social mobility is generally correlated with "whitening", if persons with indigenous biological and cultural roots rise to positions of power and prestige they tend to be viewed as more "white" than if they belonged to a lower social class.
Indian identity therefore became socially stigmatizing. It can also be defined broadly to include all persons who self-identify as having an indigenous cultural background, whether or not they speak the language of the indigenous group they identify with.
This means that the percentage of the Mexican population defined as "indigenous" varies according to the definition applied, cultural activists have referred to the usage of the narrow definition of the term for census purposes as "statistical genocide".
Mestizaje In Mexico in the post-revolutionary period, Mestizaje was a racial ideology that combined elements of the Euro-American ideologies of the racial superiority of the "white race" with the social reality of a postcolonial, multiracial setting.
It promoted the use of planned miscegenation as a eugenic strategy designed to improve the overall quality of the population by multiplying white genetic material to the entire population.
This ideology was very different from the way the eugenics debate was carried out in Europe and North America, where racial "purity" and anti-miscegenation legislation was the eugenic strategy of choice.
The ideology of Mestizaje came from the long tradition of tolerance of racial mixing that existed in the Spanish colonies. As the place where this mixing was already well underway, Mexico, and Latin America in general, was the center of the creation of this new and improved species of human beings, the mestizo.1.
Discuss the racial composition (racial groups) of colonial Latin America In order to discuss the racial composition of Colonial Latin America, we must first examine the three civilizations that were present when the Europeans reached Latin America.
Languages of Latin America.
Because of the varied ethnic backgrounds of the population, there are many languages spoken in Latin America. Spanish is the predominant language in most countries, but. Throughout Latin America, race and ethnicity continue to be among the most important determinants of access to opportunity and economic advancement.
Indigenous and Afro-descendant peoples in Latin America represent 40 percent of the total population—a sizeable share—yet they remain a disproportionate segment of the poorest of the poor.
The history of race in Latin America should not be allowed to degenerate into the victimology savored by some academics, nor need we accept the rhetoric of "racial democracy" repeated by politicians on national holidays. The traditional definition of race and ethnicity is related to biological and sociological factors respectively.
Race refers to a person's physical characteristics, such as bone structure and skin, hair, or eye color. Ethnicity, however, refers to cultural factors, including nationality, regional.
For example, 69% of young Latino adults ages 18 to 29 say their Latino background is part of their racial background, as does a similar share of those in other age groups, including those 65 and older.