Friday, February 4, 2011

Hybrid cultures ot the south

It is odd that in much of Latin America, the settlers and the natives mixed creating a mestizo race. But coupled with it was horrifying excesses of violence and a degrading class system which persists to this day. In North America, settlers and natives did not mix, and the violence was less obvious. The decimation of the indigenous population came through a mix of wars, imported diseases, and forced relocations. Planned slaughters were rare. The difference has often been attributed to the difference in the South and North European cultures of the colonizers but that just seems an after-the-fact explanation.

The difference on the cultural front seems starker. North American culture is essentially European culture continued, with classical Greece and Rome the starting point of way too many lecture courses in both humanities and sciences. Mexican culture is language-wise European, but tradition- and ethnicity-wise a true blend, and hence a novel form. My exposure is limited to Latina/Chicana literature and second-hand readings of the Latin American writers, but they seem to draw little on the classical tradition of Europe. Part of this may be because the political air of that land is different, with socialism and conservatism meaning something starkly different from the Western world's ideas of the terms. But a large part of the divergence seems to be from rooting the works in the old soil of the new land as opposed to the old ways of the new settlers.

1 comment:

  1. I completely agree with you on the fact that it was horrifying but i disagree with you on the fact that the settlers and the natives werent obvious. I feel that when the settlers came and changed the natives ways that they used more of force to get the natives to converge to what they believed in. Aside from that I am in complete agreement with you about how that the mix wasnt really talked about like we would think.