Effects of Colonialism on Race in the Developing Latin American Countries

Professor Holt was a guest lecturer this week and focused on the development of Latin American countries leading into the 20th century. In South American countries, colonialism was a principal topic of interest for these developing countries. Colonialism was a driving force for urbanization and served as a primary pillar of economic support for almost all of these countries during the 17th century. In a larger context, colonialism was propelled into full throttle by the transatlantic slave trade that was dominating the Eurocentric powers of the world at the time. Colonialism also gave precedence to new derogatory racial slurs and stereotypes that had never been seen before in these areas, in this way, bringing these absurdities to new heights. People were now being treated as second class citizens and racial identities were taken to the extreme. Racial identities of Latin Americans branded them as hot-headed and unworthy individuals, in comparison to the rest of society. This theme is highlighted in a piece of literature that can be found from today’s reading, Upside Down by Edwardo Galeano. Particularly on page 321 of his thesis, stereotypes present of Latin Americans are analyzed and its grievances are amplified in this context. “We have spent five hundred years hating ourselves and one another and work heart and soul of our own ruin.” Through this piece of text, we can conceptualize how difficult it must be to carry such an abhorrent burden in a society that has dealt with these stereotypes throughout the generations. These ideas whcih have caused such immense heartbreak and duress for Latin Americans citizens, and is also highlighted in Galeones’ work, is a direct result of colonialism started over 500 years ago in South America.

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