A Mirror Across the Water: Mimetic Racism, Hybridity, and Cultural Survival

  • Barbara Fuchs
Part of the Signs of Race book series (SOR)

Abstract

It is my contention that the complexities of race in the New World cannot be adequately understood without a concomitant understanding of metropolitan, European racism. This essay first traces these transatlantic connections through the racial system in the Spanish Americas and then examines their refraction in the writings of an indigenous critic of the Conquista, Guaman Poma de Ayala. Finally, it takes Poma’s denunciation of hybridity as the occasion to interrogate our own critical fascination with the term, and with such figures as Poma himself.

Keywords

Recombination Social Stratification Refraction Arena Stake 

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NOTES

  1. 1.
    In “The Iberian Roots of American Racist Thought” (William and Mary Quarterly 54.1 [Jan. 1997]: 143–166), James H. Sweet traces “the foundations of racism in modern Western thought,” but focuses almost exclusively on prejudice against black Africans. Inexplicably, “limpieza de sangre” is barely mentioned.Google Scholar
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  34. 33.
    J. Jorge Klor de Alva, “The Postcolonization of the (Latin) American Experience,” 248–249. See also Silverblatt, “Becoming Indian,” which explores the process by which “Spaniards tried to make ‘Indians’ out of Andeans” (279).Google Scholar
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    As Alan Sinfield points out, “it is quite hard to envisage a culture that is not hybrid” (“Diaspora and Hybridity: Queer Identities and the Ethnicity Model,” Textual Practice, 10:2 (Summer 1996), 278.Google Scholar
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    Antonio Cornejo Polar, “Mestizaje e hibridez: los riesgos de las metáforas. Apuntes,” Revista de Critica Literaria Latinoamericana, 22:47 (1998): 8. My translation.Google Scholar

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© Philip D. Beidler and Gary Taylor 2005

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  • Barbara Fuchs

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