Mexican Culture Essay

Mexican Culture Essay-9
This rhetorical inclusion also served to exclude the African descendant in the Americas, as evidenced by the present popularity of the awkward term “Afro-Mestizo”, which, if we were to take the project and process of mestizaje seriously, would not be necessary.In the development of this term we can recognize that the project of mestizaje was truly a reflection of the original meaning of the word, as a racial product of the mixing of equal part “indian” and “Spaniard”.

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This conflict can be seen in a number of ways, as diasporic representations become useful within local contexts to define the consumer of an image rather than the actual subject of the image.

Or perhaps easier said, the subject of an image becomes the object on which the viewer inscribes meaning.[3] This process allows the consumer of the image to assume a monopoly on the tools by which to make meaning.

In this way the black body can be fetishized (Mercer 1994, Hall 1997), as it is perceived to exist outside of the contexts in which it was produced.

This is to say that there may be a conflict between the perception and ways in which we have theorized blackness and the everyday lived experience by which the blackness continues to be produced throughout the diaspora.

[4] Tony Gleaton has addressed this issue by making it explicit that his photography of “Black Mexico” was ultimately motivated and a product of his own politics and attempts to make sense of his understanding of “black Africa’s legacy in Mexico”.

Every culture has a unique set of values, traditions and norms.While neither of these terms has yet to be agreed upon as the official term for recognition, all of these terms circulate as ways to reference blackness in Mexico.[2] While many have argued that indigenous groups have themselves been racialized, indigenous groups have been recognized according to culture and their explicit cultural difference in most cases of official recognition.I argue that in the case of images of blackness this process allows for the viewer to produce the subject in their own image rather than viewing the subject within the local contexts in which they were, and continue to be, forged.[4] The question that remains for me, is how can we read the black body within a local context in a way that does justice to what it means to “be” in any given time or geography?While this question has been brought up within the literature in general, the inability to provide an answer seems to have frustrated our attempts at inventing new paradigms through which to view, read, and ultimately make sense of the black body in present times.( [1] The term by which to refer to African descendants within Mexico is presently under discussion.Many terms circulate within the circles interested in the subject of blackness in Mexico, both locally and abroad.However, these poles were never completely useful to the African descendant due to the fact, as I have argued elsewhere (Jerry 2013), that blackness was so intertwined with Whiteness (i.e.Spanish, French, or British) that it was difficult to separate the two at any given moment.It is the many colonial binaries that continue to operate in the present, black/white, local/foreign/diaspora, which frame the ways in which we can go about interpreting the many images of blackness that continue to circulate as part of the process of meaning making that surrounds the politics of difference around race in Latin America, and the Americas more broadly, and creates a larger “spectacle of difference” as discussed by Stuart Hall (1997).These binaries continue to frame the subject and create lenses through which to read the black body as it is presented through images.


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