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Cracking the Racial Divide PDF Print E-mail
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Written by Patrice Farmer   
Saturday, 01 May 2004

Cracking the Racial Divide

Tracing the Historical Connection of The Castizo, The Modern Mulatto vs. the Colonial Mexican Mulatto

by This e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it
May/June 2004


Maybe it was youth that blinded me from seeing the racial divide when I had lived out west in Arizona, New Mexico and Montana as a 18 yr old girl. Maybe it was the area in which I lived and the difference in people. Maybe it’s the fact that I moved to a town in Colorado, a completely different experience than when I was 18. Now I see what I could not see then, the problem between Castizo’s and Mulattoes.

Historically, the two groups have a common history, including intermixing between the two groups, but that history seems to be lost amongst many people. My experience has been troubling to me, especially since I looked forward to having brown faces, whose color isn’t different from my own, compared to the place I had just moved from in Tennessee, which was majority white. I was in for a shock when I would stand in line and find that the people who were acting very near the way that I had experienced white people in Tennessee acting toward me, in how they grabbed their purses etc. weren’t white, they were Mexican or Latinos. The stares that I got now weren’t white faces or even black faces, but Mexican and I could not understand why, after all; we were both brown, some even browner than I. Could it be possibly that they disliked me for my race or racial mixtures and what that represents? After all, they were mixed race as well; they were Castizo’s-(Half White and Mexican) and Mestizos(half Indian, half Spanish) and I am a Multiracial or historically a Mulatto; being mixed with Black, White, Puerto Rican, and Indian and the mother of a Multi/Bi-Racial child(half multiracial, half Irish or quadroon) who is blond haired, white skinned, with blue eyes. But, time after time the dissension between myself, a Mixed Race person and the Latino community in which I now live, occurred over and over again and then I understood that it was not the color of my skin but in fact my ethnicity.

Having moved to the area of town I did, I found that there were a few black faces where I reside, and smaller than that was a few mixed race faces. The mixed people I’ve seen here are mostly children with few being of adult age.. The three Mixed groups I’ve identified here are Mexican and White (Castizo’s), Mexican and Black (Colonial Mexico’s definition of Mulatto*) or White and Black-(the Modern definition of Mulatto**). It seems from my observations that the group that fares the best is White and Mexican ( a Mixed Race group in itself) and the offspring of Mexican and White intermixing or Castizo’s and their offspring, (considered White). Many who are intermixing between white and Mexican do not consider themselves to be intermixing. The children (Castizo’s) and their even whiter grandchildren aren’t treated differently, it is the most prominent Mixed Race group here. They are also inclined to view the other two mixed race groups as shocking. They are inclined to stare, make comments etc. The Mexican and Black group (C. Mulatto*)- tends to fair much better than the White and Black group (M. Mulatto**). The reason is because in this town, the majority of faces seen are Mexican descent, so depending on the way the person appears, they either blend in seamlessly or stand out.

The least liked and understood is the non-hispanic Mulatto or Biracial, especially with the stereotypical biracial appearance. This group is often on the outskirts of all the groups: White, Mexican/Latino, the Castizo’s and Mestizo’s.

What strikes me as strange is that for the first time in my numerous experiences as a Mixed Race person, I have had an ethnic group ( that has occasionally confused me for being of that group), who have fears of me as Mixed Race or Mulatto. But, in this case, it’s an us-versus-them situation. I have seen White and Mexican couples stare and make comments about my blond haired, white skinned daughter and myself-(of stereotypical biracial appearance) and that struck me as very ironic. Not only is that minority upon minority racism, but the two groups are historically and racially connected which created the product of mixed race people, the Mexicans. So, they are in fact being prejudiced against themselves and their own heritage when they look at a Mixed person and see the dreaded other.

Historically in Colonial Mexico, from the time that the conquistador Hernan Cortes brought 2 African Slaves to Mexico, African slaves were brought to work in the plantations after the enslaved Native Indian population had nearly diminished. The slaves worked the plantations and outnumbered the Indian community until the Indian numbers increased as well. The Spanish believed in Miscegenation-(leaving their colonies with loyal subjects to the Crown of Spain)-and so they encouraged the populace to intermix. The Spanish intermixed with two main groups which created a new racial group within Mexico and the rest of Latin America:



One ParentOne ParentRace Classification of Child

Spaniards

African Slaves

Mulatto

Spaniards

Native Indians

Mestizo’s

 

These groups were splintered into several main groups:

One ParentOne ParentRace Classification of Child

Mestizo

Spaniard

Castizo

Mestizo

Mulatto

Cuarteron

Mestizo

Native Indian

Coyote

Mulatto

Spaniard

Morisco or Moor

Mulatto

Native Indian

Chino

Mulatto

African Slaves

Zambo

African Slaves

Native Indian

Sambo or Lobo

African Slaves

Mestizo

Mulatto-oscuro


There are many, many more classifications for people having multiple mixtures. These groups continued to mix until the majority of the people were classified as Mestizoes and Native Indians, though they’re bloodline has black in it as well and so Mexico’s national identity became known as a Mestizo nation, a mixture of Indian and Spanish, and therefore the Mulatto and African was written out of the history of Mexico.

Many Mexicans are unaware of the history of the Mulatto in Mexico and their only understanding of the racial mixing is that of Indian and White and therefore they believe they have no connection to me. That is why there can exist between a Mexican/Latino and a Multiracial-(Mulatto) ethnic prejudice. That is how a Mexican/Latino of the same color as a Multiracial with identical or similar hair and eyes can be considered two separate races, because the National racial identity of the Mexican is that of a Spanish and Indian ancestry coupled with a linguistic difference between Mexicans and Mulattoes, though the two have more in common than none. So, is the Mexican/Latino ignorant of their Mulatto history? I believe most people are ignorant of their Mulatto history. It’s our job to educate!!!





Also by Patrice Farmer




Copyright © 2004 Patrice Farmer and The Multiracial Activist. All rights reserved.

Last Updated ( Sunday, 13 August 2006 )
 
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