chapter  5
28 Pages

[email protected] Cyborgs: The Performance of Latin American-ness as (Critical) Racial Identity

Where the previous chapter explored the continuing responses to the civilisation versus barbarism dichotomy that can be seen in online cultural products created by Latin Americans and Latinas/os,1 this chapter focuses on a discourse of Latin American-ness that constructs its subject in an almost diametrically opposed manner: Instead of a discourse of dichotomy, the discourse of mestizaje is one of synthesis. Although the term mestizaje was used prominently to indicate the issue of racial mixture in the system of castas [‘castes’] established at the inception of the colonial era,2 a discourse of mestizaje designed to give a more positive appreciation of the mixed racial composition of the region started to emerge at the beginning of the Independence period in the speeches and writings of Simón Bolívar and then later in those of José Martí. It was given added impetus in the wake of the Mexican Revolution by José Vasconcelos’s treatise La raza cósmica [The Cosmic Race] (1925), which had a notable impact across the region.