Vivien Maier, a nanny in the 1950s, had a unique and undeniable talent for photography—which she kept to herself. After over 100,000 of her negatives were discovered at an auction, she has been said to be “possibly the most important street photographer of the 20th century.” Vivien’s mysterious and secret talent makes you think about the importance of exploring our curiosity and doing what we enjoy, whether or not it’s recognized by many.
Pretty heartbreaking. These beautiful and bright students deserve so much better. Above I included some of the photographs (there’s many more) of Black women who are students there because I think it’s important to point out how racism is not only impacting Whites’ perception of their intelligence but also how White people approach their appearance as well, in gender-specific ways. This is heartbreaking to me albeit not surprising. The myth that working hard = happy payoff is a fairy tale. Racism is ubiquitous.
I really wish them the best with their education and the ability to navigate these microaggressions and overt acts of racism. This stuff increases stereotype threat and impacts mental health and health which impacts performance. I want the best for them. Much love. ❤
This is open access. If you click on the link you can read the whole paper (click to read the PDF at the bottom of the page)
Some sixty years later, Gloria Anzaldu´a draws from Vasconcelos’s work in order to elabourate the concept of mestizaje in Borderlands/La Frontera. Her (admittedly critical) intellectual debt and spiritual kinship are expressed in the following passage:
Jose´ Vasconcelos, Mexican philosopher, envisaged una raza mestiza, una mezcla de razas afines, una raza de color — la primera raza sı´ntesis del globo. He called it a cosmic race, la raza co´smica, a fifth race embracing the four major races of the world. Opposite to the theory of the pure Aryan, and to the policy of racial purity that white America practices, his theory is one of inclusivity. At the confluence of two or more genetic streams, with chromosomes constantly ‘crossing over’, this mixture of races, rather than resulting in an inferior being, provides hybrid progeny, a mutable, more malleable species with a rich gene pool. From this racial, ideological, cultural and biological cross pollinization, an ‘alien’ consciousness is presently in the making — a new mestiza consciousness, una conciencia de mujer. It is a consciousness of the Borderlands. (1999, p. 99, my emphases)
It would be a deliberate misreading to collapse Anzaldu´a with Vasconcelos or to conflate their intellectual work and political visions. That is not my point here. However, one must wonder about the particular genealogy being invoked here and the pressures it exerts despite the conscious intentions of those citing it. In the space of a paragraph, we span a sixty-year divide; mestizaje, the new consciousness of the Borderlands, is rendered as the effect or echo of this early twentieth-century dream of global integration, a product of its imaginative labour. Like her predecessor, Anzaldu´a opposes race mixture to the doctrine of race purity, countering the image of the Aryan with the image of the new mestiza. However, it is important to consult the earlier text for any additional obstacles, abstract and concrete, to this most inclusive theorisation. Is the work of this cross-pollination intended only as a corrective to the strict and devastating policies of Anglo-Saxon racial ideology or is the scope of its ‘enrichment’ cast more broadly? A word from Vasconcelos on this score:
By this account, the black’s disappearance is redemptive — a redemptive self-annihilation, as it were — brought about by the dazzling call of human beautification. No longer an imposition or an assault, no longer genocide per se, the elimination of blackness (and, importantly, ‘Indianness’) has become a painless, even pleasurable duty to disappear. This edifying synthesis, no doubt a dream of ethnic cleansing, is, however, decidedly not white supremacist. That is, it does not elevate whiteness to its apex, its maximum type, or its ideal. Rather, the doctrine of white superiority is dethroned, as a new mixed race will have superseded the white, presenting itself as that select taste toward which even the former rulers of the world aspire. What is deemed most encouraging about the emergence of this new race — the fruit of ‘racial, ideological, cultural and biological cross-pollinization’ — is that it is forged in the pathos of love. Beyond violence and instrumental reason there is the cosmic force of eros, the seemingly benevolent prime mover of global integration. The mode of eugenics will have changed, but its ends remain frighteningly consistent — a ‘selection’ more efficient than a brutal Social Darwinism. Less carnage, less coercion, and less political controversy, this appears to be ‘evolution’ at a discount. The Indian must modernise (or disappear); the black (having already modernised) must certainly disappear — too poor a gene pool, too ugly, too little malleability, in a word, deficient. The aesthetic of mestizaje, is, then, marked by a profound ambivalence, a double life. Its eugenicist impulses, ruefully unshakable, cast a long shadow over whatever threats it might present to the ‘ethnic absolutism’ of Anglo-Saxon white supremacy. For in its unfolding it seeks to abolish not only the reign of whiteness, but also the existence of those ‘uglier stocks’ — ‘uneducated’, ‘inferior races’. Perhaps it cannot help itself since, in the name of consistency, it must integrate everything and everyone — ‘la primera raza sı´ntesis del globo’. The empowerment and enfranchisement of an emergent identity can, it seems, incur not-so-hidden expenses.The lower types of the [human] species will be absorbed by the superior type. In this manner, for example, the black could be redeemed, and step by step, by voluntary extinction, the uglier stocks will give way to the more handsome. Inferior races, upon being educated, would become less prolific, and the better specimens would go on ascending a scale of ethnic improvement, whose maximum type is not precisely white, but that new race to which the white himself will have to aspire with the object of conquering the synthesis. The Indian, by grafting onto the related race, would take the jump of millions of years that separate [him] from our times, and in a few decades of aesthetic eugenics, the black may disappear… In this manner, a selection of taste would take effect, much more efficiently than the brutal Darwinist selection…[It would be] a mixture no longer accomplished by violence, nor by reason of necessity, but by the selection founded on the dazzling produced by beauty and confirmed by the pathos of love. (Vasconcelos, 1997, pp. 32–33)
Jared Sexton, “The Consequence of Race Mixture: Racialised Barriers and the Politics of Desire.” (via nica-nopal)
The thing is that this concept of mestizaje IS like whiteness. He says that whiteness is about racial purity, but in north America its more like you have to be at least mixed and phenotypically non Black, with different rules for passing in different places. Whiteness has never been racially pure, but it has always been about shedding ethnicity in favor of being ‘modern’ and part of the so called melting pot.
So to be properly mestiz@ u have to be non Black and non indigenous in appearance and u have to pretend you’re more speshul bc you’re not like those imaginary pure blood aryans. Sounds like regular old aspirational whiteness to me :/
Mod note (Jennifer): This is part of the reason why I’ve wrestled with the term mestizaje; from its inception, it’s really been a term seeped in racism (the other is that it’s a term that I had never heard of before I started doing research in college, so like another way the academy is so fucking removed from actual people. But that just might’ve been me personally…)
But anyway in the academy (or at least in Religion) a lot of scholars (both working within the U.S. and within Latin America) reclaim/use the term mestizaje because it described ethnoracial pluralism in Latinidad. But it’s often referred to with no critical reflection on where the term came from or the different ways it’s been used. It’s historically been used to “purify” the racial makeup of Latinxs. It was used as a way of imagining a community where the indigenous peoples and cultures were “uplifted” to a white standard and was used as a means of “whitening and de-indigenization of the African descendants and indigenous populations.”* In many ways it has also been used to completely ignore the indigenous peoples that are alive today and have/continue to experience racism. Furthermore the term as it was first used was a complete erasure of any kind of African ancestry. And terms like multaje, which are mainly used to connote African/European ancestry have historically been used in much the same way (it was “uplifting” Blackness). So while terms like this canbe useful ethnoracial descriptors, and it’s up to the individual how to indentify… Latinxs shouldn’t be using (or reclaiming) these words without knowing where they came from and the histories surrounding them. Because they’ve definitely been a huge part of white supremacy in Latinx communities.
*The quote above comes from page 45 of Mestizaje: (Re)Mapping Race, Culture, and Faith in Latina/o Catholicism by Nestor Medina, and even though the focus is on Catholicism, I would suggest it. Medina traces the root of the term mestizaje both in continental Latin America and in the Caribbean and how it’s used in higher education by Latinxs working within the U.S. There are a lot of other issues with the term mestizaje that I haven’t even touched, that he goes into depth on.
Did you know that Crush is portrayed “high” because Sea Turtles actually eat jellyfish and the poisons inside the jelly doesn’t actually harm the turtle but instead intoxicates them much like marijuana does for humans.
i just thought it was because he was supposed to be a “surfer dude”