Characteristics Of Skin Color

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A Character Guide of Skin Colour in Colonial and Post-Colonial Latin America Through interactions that predate the colonial experience for the people of Latin America, a system of power had already been established that brought with it a way of thinking that defined and shaped both institutions and the internalized understandings of “race” and the perceived value of character that came with skin colour. Furthermore, what it meant to be ‘black’ or ‘Indian’ in Latin America meant having entire systems of power, both political and religious, working against entire populations of people for the benefit of white Europeans. This was based on a system of knowledge that had been interpreted largely from biblical scripture and pre-existing interactions …show more content…
The Europeans had, by this point in time, already a system of beliefs internalized within their understandings of how the world worked and what to expect from the people in it. James Sweet (1997) adequately surmises that “the racist attitude that existed in tenth century Andalusia are in many respects prominent in the American mind today, a stark expression of their longevity,…”(166). Racism, not as a biological determinant during the colonial period, was long before determined by the various slave trades and treatments of people of colour. Colour of skin became a marker of personal character traits that determined a social and racial hierarchy, as seen with first contact with Christopher Columbus who showed a European egocentric perception when meeting and interacting with the Indians (Torodov.1982:42). As such, being classified as ‘black’ or ‘Indian’ determined their place in a system they had no control over; they were the oppressed, the marginalized, the slaves, and ultimately the inferior beings that were not considered fully …show more content…
This is an ideal system of exchange that Martinez-Echazabal pushes when describing the political and social upheaval in Latin America when the country was trying to establish its national identity. Culture is not however so easily managed and remains to be a power struggle between the colonizer and the colonized (Martinez-Echazabal.1998:37-38). Through this interpretation culture can then be considered a form of institutional power as a means of control over people’s identity and choices. Therefore, racial segregation and discrimination has not just influenced the individual, but rather an entire country which limits a person’s ability to live freely and govern themselves based on where they are placed in the social hierarchy based largely on physical appearance and essence of a

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