The Great Chain Of Being Essay

823 Words 4 Pages
The social hierarchy in the Spanish Conquest of the being and non-being are derived from the Western Judeo-Christian concepts of the Great Chain of Being. The Western Judeo-Christian concept of the Great Chain of Being is a religious hierarchy of all matter and life. It is divided into four categories: the being, realm of being, realm of becoming, and non-being. All segments are different levels of divinity. In this religious hierarchy, God is placed at the top of the hierarchy of being, humans are placed in the realm of being, animals and plants in the realm of becoming, and non-being are minerals. These levels demonstrate the rank of power each division possesses on earth. To emphasize, this particular system is a form of social control in …show more content…
This is vividly illustrated by Bartolome de las Casas, when describing the abominable actions Spanish Conquistadors committed toward the indigenous, he describes that the, “…most damnable things in the whole of Creation is the way in which the Spanish use natives to fish for pearls” (De las Casas, 93). In other words, the inhumane and cruel maltreatment of the indigenous divers for pearls demonstrate the dehumanization of indigenous people. The extensive exploitation and oppression toward the pearl divers display that they are worthless than a mineral, thus, degrading the indigenous to the realm of non-being in the Great Chain of Being. This ideology becomes problematic because it does not welcome indigeneity to enter the self-other dialect. The self-other dialect is a concept that describes when two beings recognize and acknowledge one another in society. It is a dogma that reduces inferior races by not letting them access into the self-other dialect. Thus, many indigenous people are massacred and tortured due to this principle. As a result, this dominant patriarchal system created racial, class, and gender constructs that are systemized in the Spanish …show more content…
The Caste system is a social and racial hierarchy created by the Spanish elite that classifies and ranks individuals into a specific group based on their physical characteristics, culture, and class. The Castas determined how an individual navigates their surroundings and the way society treats them, based on those the three fundamentals. Consequently, as a survival tactic, many indigenous strived to climb the social hierarchy of the caste system since hegemony favors whiteness. For instance, lighter-skinned individuals like Creoles or Mestizos possessed far more privileges than a Mulattos or Moriscos due to negative views on darker skin and non-European physical features. Therefore, any individual with African descendent are not allowed to climb or completely assimilate to the racial social ladder because of their blackness. Moreover, the caste system affected women due to being perceived inferior from the men. Women’s role in the Caste system was to bear the mixed children in order to please the patriarchal system that created the Castas. This system created racism, racial profiling, and gender inequities in Latin America that is still evident

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