Struggling with Klor de Alva

Klor de Alva argues that the native Americans suffered a devastating decline in their population due to its contact with the colonial Europe (246). However, “as a consequence of the subordinate condition attendant on this state of dis-empowerment, the greater part of the mestizos, whose numbers grew quickly as a result of progressively more widespread European-Indian-African sexual relations, removed themselves wherever possible from the Indian communities of their mothers (the usual case) and migrated to the cities or towns, or the Spanish-dominated countryside, where they replaced or augmented the otherwise decimated indigenous labor forces” (246). He claims that essentially those inter-racial group became the elite group in the society and assumed mannerisms of European ways (247). He refers to this inter-racial group cultural hybridity  (243).

This sort of mixing of two groups and creating a completely new racial group is unique from other colonial experiences. For example, India under Dutch, Portuguese and English colonists have had some racial mixing between the two groups however not to the same magnitude as  Latin America. As a result, Latin America got completely emerged into the Spanish culture and thus the entire continent speaking Spanish (with the exception of Brazil) whereas in colonial South Asia, they were able to keep much of their language and culture somewhat intact although they did get assimilated into some of the colonial cultures. He also explains that although “colonialism” in places like the Philippines, Indonesia and South America took place at different period of history, the common denominator in all of their experience is the “exploitation” of one corporate group by another (142). I agree that despite the era that each of these countries or regions were colonized, there is a collective shared experience of them being treated malevolently and exploited by the colonists, of which the scars still remain today.

Tishara’s understanding of Klor de Alva is that he believes colonialism/post colonialism is something that appears real or possible but is not applicable to the historical experience in Latin America. According to Alva colonialism is an “assumed experience that have set global hybridization in motion since the early modern period” (Alva 242). Is he implying that hybridization in regions such as the Americas, Latin America, Africa, and the Caribbean are not solely a result of colonialism/post colonialism? If that is the case, she’s not sure she agrees with his argument. She thinks colonialism is responsible for ethnic ambiguity and regardless of the practices or traditions that he thinks represent colonialism or decolonization European contact still disturbed the purity of certain ethnicities. Tishara is not sure if she is correct or that she understand his argument but she is also getting a sense that he thinks these hybridization was bound to happen with or without colonialism. Honestly, we’re all a bit confused about this man’s claims.


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