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Neocolonialism and Scientific Racism: Post-Independence Latin America

  • Date Submitted: 03/11/2011 06:59 AM
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Neocolonialism and Scientific Racism: Post-Independence Latin America

People can be ranked in hierarchies scientifically and certain races are superior, these simple concepts make up the base of scientific racism. This theory became popular in Europe in the 19th century. It classified people through hair texture and skin color. Arthur de Gobineau, known charmingly as “the Father of Scientific Racism”, created a further theory out of these basic concepts called “degeneration.” It was the idea that the mixing of bloods causes a race to “degenerate” or lose its purity and thus its strength and superiority. Of course all races degenerated from the pinnacle, European whites. After a brief summary of the theory behind scientific racism, racism can easily be pin pointed as the reason for the struggle to consolidate nation states in Latin America. This is evidenced by the implementation of policies directly influenced by the radical theories of scientific racism by individual heads of state.   While the newly empowered “liberal” revolutionaries embraced their mission to “whiten” their countries, thousands suffered in the name of progress. The tireless neo-colonial efforts of both Britain and the U.S. to dominate Latin America to their colossal economic benefit were motivated by their idealistic perch atop the imaginary racial hierarchy. Through resource pillaging, foreign investment, direct military interventions, and corporate holdings the Old and New empires staked their dominance over the uncivilized dark brutes of Latin America. The whole idea of “white” representing “progress” and “civilization” had a direct or indirect hand in almost every defining state building event in Latin America. Through several examples it will become increasingly obvious that race above both gender and class was at the heart of this nation state building struggle.
Scientific racism was the dark underbelly of progress espoused by newly powerful liberals in Latin America. Despite the...

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