In Praise of Lima: Cultural vs Racial Identity

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Kratistos

In Praise of Lima: Cultural vs Racial Identity

Postby Kratistos » Mon Feb 22, 2016 6:32 pm

I am a peruvian living in America for three years now. Lima is more of a melting pot than America. In Lima people have a strong shared cultural identity of being Limeños. In contrast, Americans have an unhealthy obsession with racial identity. Americans see themselves first as Native Americans and then as Americans. A professor of mine even suggested that science and technology are "White Culture" which I found ridiculous since they are based on empiricism and should not be loaded with connotations of race.

Spanish Colonizers did a better job integrating people than the British. Segregation is the mothers of all evils,it has created a divided culture were people see themselves as representing a racial identity, as opposed to a cultural identity. In Lima there are class narratives but I feel they are much more flexible in including others.


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Re: In Praise of Lima: Cultural vs Racial Identity

Postby lizzym » Mon Feb 22, 2016 11:31 pm

Where you see "integration", historical reality suggests colonization and (ethnic) imperialism. Where you see "segregation" in the modern US, you fail to see a long history of inherently unequal segregation and oppression with manifestations that persist to this day in every part of social and economic life here. And where you see that "segregation", what you fail to see is the ever-increasing voice of multiculturalism, finally voicing in some significant way, opposition to that entrenched history of oppression, mischaracterization and even appropriation.

Where you see "cultural identity" in Peru, I see a stupid marketing campaign called "Marca Peru" that ignores all of the deep-seated problems in that country, in favor of selling an image to the world to promote tourism and make money. Where you see "flexible class narratives" I saw dark-skinned maids unable to use the front door to the houses where they worked, and countless other indignities imposed on certain groups of people because of their cultural, linguistic and ethnic backgrounds, and because of the resulting economic inequities that they and their children are still forced to endure generation after generation, because the group(s) in power choose a similar ignorance to what you've professed here: that Peru's problems aren't nearly as bad as those in the US, and hey, they probably don't really exist anyway.

Sorry, but calling out wrongs in order to fix them is not really an indication of a problem, when you really think about it -- it's evidence of the beginning of that problem's solution. Peru is a long, long way from arriving at that point.

And you probably grossly misunderstood your professor's point. Any university professor worth their salt -- in any discipline -- knows that algebra came from the ancient Arab world. Perhaps your professor was stating that science and technology are currently dominated by privileged whites, specifically males? Because that would absolutely be true -- for my work I am deeply entrenched in the tech industry and I work closely with many of the companies that are currently changing the world. I would say it's far more likely that your professor defined science and technology in that (modern, unfortunate) context as opposed to suggesting, as you seemed to think, that they have somehow emanated from white culture.
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Re: In Praise of Lima: Cultural vs Racial Identity

Postby Rivers67 » Tue Feb 23, 2016 9:01 am

A bit of rose tinted glasses going on by the poster in my view. I've know of couple having to divorce because the black person was not accepted by the family and was ignored at family reunions.

Andean people don't get treated well either. People have their photos on their resume and some employers will just look at the picture on the application and bin it for that reason alone if it is an andean person.

Also people won't use the same toilets as the lower class because of race which leads to a maid having to use a maids bathroom.
Integration at it's finest!
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Re: In Praise of Lima: Cultural vs Racial Identity

Postby ardilla » Tue Feb 23, 2016 11:07 pm

I think the original poster made an important point about how colonization differed (and continues to differ) based on the type of colonization process. The Spaniards (have) had one way of thinking about how to colonize (official strategy was via "mestizaje" but with European elites who were in power roles, taxed the population, enslaved, etc and shunned or restricted education, access to land, etc to most people in the "colonies"). The British had (have) another way of thinking about how to colonize: divide and conquer, primarily by taking over people's land or removing people from their land and enslaving or indenturing people, sending Native people's children to boarding schools to become "educated" against their parents' traditions, and more.

We live the consequences every day, all across the Americas. New forms of colonization -- via economic free trade processes for example-- happen against the backdrop of other colonization histories.

Colonization attempts to define reality: what is possible, what is real and what can and cannot happen between and among people. Colonization uses concepts such as race and culture to divide along "difference" for the benefit of power elites.
Kratistos

Re: In Praise of Lima: Cultural vs Racial Identity

Postby Kratistos » Thu Feb 25, 2016 9:44 pm

Thank's everyone for your replies.
I wish I could answer to all of you individually. More importantly your posts inspired me to make some conceptual distinctions that are useful to our discussion.

First, the idea of flexible status. I saw some of you brought the example of a maid. While it is true that a maid can be treated unfairly her treatment can improve. A maid is performing role within Peruvian society. If she abandons this role and she can become more integrated.Her status consists of race+class. She can leave her old job,dress better and learn Spanish. In contrast, in America that integration is not possible. A person has a fixed status based on their race. A black professor can have the education, manners and nice clothing. But these traits won't stop the police from profiling him at night.They identify him as a black individual, therefore, the same stereotypes that might be associated with a black person lacking all these positive traits will apply to him. I call this essentialized self, where only one trait,skin color, determines a person's treatment.

Second, the idea of "multiracial" versus "multicultural." A multiracial society would be ideal. Multiculturalism on the surface is a good idea, but it inherently has a negative aim. It pronounces differences between groups that inevitably lead to conflicts. We are seeing this development in Europe, especially, in England where Muslims are creating Sharia Law only zones. Extreme right wing groups like the National Front arise from immigrants refusing to integrate to the mainstream culture. Why would the immigrants refuse to adopt the values of their host country? Yet you can never speak about this at liberal colleges in America. There is the pervasive "demarcation of discurse" were professors vehemently refuse to acknowledge any responsibility for immigrants and blame everything on Western culture. Not to delve into conspiracy theories, but the Professors' action further aid the "divide and conquer' narrative. The professors drive the students to look for answers in right wing circles, were these ideas are openly discussed.
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Re: In Praise of Lima: Cultural vs Racial Identity

Postby tomsax » Sat Feb 27, 2016 5:08 pm

Kratistos wrote:Thank's everyone for your replies.
I wish I could answer to all of you individually. More importantly your posts inspired me to make some conceptual distinctions that are useful to our discussion.

First, the idea of flexible status. I saw some of you brought the example of a maid. While it is true that a maid can be treated unfairly her treatment can improve. A maid is performing role within Peruvian society. If she abandons this role and she can become more integrated.Her status consists of race+class. She can leave her old job,dress better and learn Spanish. In contrast, in America that integration is not possible. A person has a fixed status based on their race. A black professor can have the education, manners and nice clothing. But these traits won't stop the police from profiling him at night.They identify him as a black individual, therefore, the same stereotypes that might be associated with a black person lacking all these positive traits will apply to him. I call this essentialized self, where only one trait,skin color, determines a person's treatment.

Second, the idea of "multiracial" versus "multicultural." A multiracial society would be ideal. Multiculturalism on the surface is a good idea, but it inherently has a negative aim. It pronounces differences between groups that inevitably lead to conflicts. We are seeing this development in Europe, especially, in England where Muslims are creating Sharia Law only zones. Extreme right wing groups like the National Front arise from immigrants refusing to integrate to the mainstream culture. Why would the immigrants refuse to adopt the values of their host country? Yet you can never speak about this at liberal colleges in America. There is the pervasive "demarcation of discurse" were professors vehemently refuse to acknowledge any responsibility for immigrants and blame everything on Western culture. Not to delve into conspiracy theories, but the Professors' action further aid the "divide and conquer' narrative. The professors drive the students to look for answers in right wing circles, were these ideas are openly discussed.


Why should a maid have to change the way she dresses, change her job and learn Spanish to be able to be treated fairly. I don't see why you have put the versus in the title of this post. Why should we discriminate on the basis of either race or culture. I love multiculturalism.
Tom
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Re: In Praise of Lima: Cultural vs Racial Identity

Postby lizzym » Sun Feb 28, 2016 1:10 am

While it is true that a maid can be treated unfairly her treatment can improve. A maid is performing role within Peruvian society. If she abandons this role and she can become more integrated.Her status consists of race+class. She can leave her old job,dress better and learn Spanish. In contrast, in America that integration is not possible. A person has a fixed status based on their race. A black professor can have the education, manners and nice clothing. But these traits won't stop the police from profiling him at night.

I'm sorry, what??? A maid can abandon her method of dress, learn Spanish and then she can move up in society? Are you actually serious about this comment?

My ex, the father of my child, was raised in a maid's room, in the house where his mom cleaned and took care of the family's babies instead of her own. She spoke fluent Spanish -- her own grandmother was sure to prevent any Quechua from negatively affecting her offspring ... she pretended not to know any Quechua at all, despite speaking almost no Spanish herself (the grandmother) so that her children and grandchildren would be forced to speak only Spanish. (This, in itself, is a terrible shame.) And you talk about the clothes they wear? She wore maid's clothes, and my ex, her son, wore whatever rags she could afford. During her off hours, she collected trash in the street that she could resell. Yeah, one of those people foraging through your trash that you see in Surco or Miraflores or San Borja that you wish would just go away.

Your ignorance is of that peculiar type that still imagines that one's wealth comes from individual choices. There's something to be said for that, and then there's the rest of reality. At least here in the US we're actively creating and pursuing that dialogue that recognizes problems, that throws them out into the open. Because that is the one thing that angered me most about Peruvian society: there can be so many problems in plain sight, there for everyone to see, and yet no one allows the dialogue to happen .... that invaluable dialogue that says "THIS is the problem, THIS is wrong, THIS must be fixed. So, how as a society do we fix THIS."
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Re: In Praise of Lima: Cultural vs Racial Identity

Postby lizzym » Sun Feb 28, 2016 1:40 am

Also, I'm sorry but your "multiculturalism vs. multiracialism" comment is just stupid. I have to call it like it is.

You say that multiracialism is ok, but multiculturalism is problematic (in a less articulate way, but I think that's what you were getting at.) And this, of course, either ignores or is ignorant of sweeping racial and cultural realities. I won't go into a deep explanation -- after all, it's not my job to educate you. I'll just say that, on balance, if you accept multiracialism but reject multiculturalism, then you're essentially endorsing cultural hegemony in which the dominant or "preferred" culture reigns, in which case any race associated with the "less desired" or "minority" cultures get oppressed and forced out of the mainstream society/economy/education system. Do you see a pattern here? Also,can you recognize that you're essentially supporting the status quo in both the US and Peru (and, for that matter, most of the world)?

So yes, your particular ignorance on this particular subject is particularly important ... to a lot of people who suffer oppression, poverty, and injustice every day through no fault of their own. So much for individual choices.
Kratistos

Re: In Praise of Lima: Cultural vs Racial Identity

Postby Kratistos » Sun Feb 28, 2016 6:29 pm

tomsax wrote:
Kratistos wrote:Thank's everyone for your replies.
I wish I could answer to all of you individually. More importantly your posts inspired me to make some conceptual distinctions that are useful to our discussion.

First, the idea of flexible status. I saw some of you brought the example of a maid. While it is true that a maid can be treated unfairly her treatment can improve. A maid is performing role within Peruvian society. If she abandons this role and she can become more integrated.Her status consists of race+class. She can leave her old job,dress better and learn Spanish. In contrast, in America that integration is not possible. A person has a fixed status based on their race. A black professor can have the education, manners and nice clothing. But these traits won't stop the police from profiling him at night.They identify him as a black individual, therefore, the same stereotypes that might be associated with a black person lacking all these positive traits will apply to him. I call this essentialized self, where only one trait,skin color, determines a person's treatment.

Second, the idea of "multiracial" versus "multicultural." A multiracial society would be ideal. Multiculturalism on the surface is a good idea, but it inherently has a negative aim. It pronounces differences between groups that inevitably lead to conflicts. We are seeing this development in Europe, especially, in England where Muslims are creating Sharia Law only zones. Extreme right wing groups like the National Front arise from immigrants refusing to integrate to the mainstream culture. Why would the immigrants refuse to adopt the values of their host country? Yet you can never speak about this at liberal colleges in America. There is the pervasive "demarcation of discurse" were professors vehemently refuse to acknowledge any responsibility for immigrants and blame everything on Western culture. Not to delve into conspiracy theories, but the Professors' action further aid the "divide and conquer' narrative. The professors drive the students to look for answers in right wing circles, were these ideas are openly discussed.


Why should a maid have to change the way she dresses, change her job and learn Spanish to be able to be treated fairly. I don't see why you have put the versus in the title of this post. Why should we discriminate on the basis of either race or culture. I love multiculturalism.


Because that is the reality of Peruvian Culture. We should help her be more integrated and these changes would allow for more positive change to her. I actually want her to have a voice.
Kratistos

Re: In Praise of Lima: Cultural vs Racial Identity

Postby Kratistos » Sun Feb 28, 2016 6:44 pm

lizzym wrote:While it is true that a maid can be treated unfairly her treatment can improve. A maid is performing role within Peruvian society. If she abandons this role and she can become more integrated.Her status consists of race+class. She can leave her old job,dress better and learn Spanish. In contrast, in America that integration is not possible. A person has a fixed status based on their race. A black professor can have the education, manners and nice clothing. But these traits won't stop the police from profiling him at night.

I'm sorry, what??? A maid can abandon her method of dress, learn Spanish and then she can move up in society? Are you actually serious about this comment?

My ex, the father of my child, was raised in a maid's room, in the house where his mom cleaned and took care of the family's babies instead of her own. She spoke fluent Spanish -- her own grandmother was sure to prevent any Quechua from negatively affecting her offspring ... she pretended not to know any Quechua at all, despite speaking almost no Spanish herself (the grandmother) so that her children and grandchildren would be forced to speak only Spanish. (This, in itself, is a terrible shame.) And you talk about the clothes they wear? She wore maid's clothes, and my ex, her son, wore whatever rags she could afford. During her off hours, she collected trash in the street that she could resell. Yeah, one of those people foraging through your trash that you see in Surco or Miraflores or San Borja that you wish would just go away.

Your ignorance is of that peculiar type that still imagines that one's wealth comes from individual choices. There's something to be said for that, and then there's the rest of reality. At least here in the US we're actively creating and pursuing that dialogue that recognizes problems, that throws them out into the open. Because that is the one thing that angered me most about Peruvian society: there can be so many problems in plain sight, there for everyone to see, and yet no one allows the dialogue to happen .... that invaluable dialogue that says "THIS is the problem, THIS is wrong, THIS must be fixed. So, how as a society do we fix THIS."


The example you give is not applicable, the maid is a job she has. She can always abandon that job and get a better one. I know maids who have done this in the past. My former maid used her money to buy land and now has a comfortable living. Same with my gardener who invested his money on getting an education and has become a limousine driver. It means they worked hard and left that role.

It's not ignorance but based on evidence that individual choice is possible. You are depriving people of agency and claiming that because someone was born a maid they are stuck in that role, which is not true.
Kratistos

Re: In Praise of Lima: Cultural vs Racial Identity

Postby Kratistos » Sun Feb 28, 2016 7:02 pm

lizzym wrote:Also, I'm sorry but your "multiculturalism vs. multiracialism" comment is just stupid. I have to call it like it is.

You say that multiracialism is ok, but multiculturalism is problematic (in a less articulate way, but I think that's what you were getting at.) And this, of course, either ignores or is ignorant of sweeping racial and cultural realities. I won't go into a deep explanation -- after all, it's not my job to educate you. I'll just say that, on balance, if you accept multiracialism but reject multiculturalism, then you're essentially endorsing cultural hegemony in which the dominant or "preferred" culture reigns, in which case any race associated with the "less desired" or "minority" cultures get oppressed and forced out of the mainstream society/economy/education system. Do you see a pattern here? Also,can you recognize that you're essentially supporting the status quo in both the US and Peru (and, for that matter, most of the world)?

So yes, your particular ignorance on this particular subject is particularly important ... to a lot of people who suffer oppression, poverty, and injustice every day through no fault of their own. So much for individual choices.


My ideas are not based on ignorance but on deep reflection. Why does Cultural Hegemony entail that certain people will be oppressed? And why does culture needs to be so tied up with race? Why can't people of "indigenous" backgrounds embrace Western Culture? I think a lot of the ideas you advocate for are the standard narrative of liberal arts colleges. These ideas are the one's that end up hurting minority groups. For instance, an academic thought that black people should not learn Standard American English because that would be embracing the "dominant cultural" group. These leads black people to have less job opportunities. Instead, I advocate that African Americans should learn SAE, thereby, they will have access to more jobs. I don't equate SAE with whiteness, because it was a small minority that created the dialect and I bet poor whites had to learn it too. Therefore, it is a mistake to think of the "dominant cultural group" as a cohesive and uniform group. Rather there are various groups within it. Of course, these are fine distinctions that will never be made. Since it is easier to say, "All men are rapists," "All white people are evil"....etc.
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Re: In Praise of Lima: Cultural vs Racial Identity

Postby tomsax » Mon Feb 29, 2016 3:08 am

Kratistos wrote:Because that is the reality of Peruvian Culture. We should help her be more integrated and these changes would allow for more positive change to her. I actually want her to have a voice.

Why doesn't the maid get the "this is the reality of Peruvian culture' pass card. Why can't her employers 'integrate' also.

I think you should expect better behaviour from people who employ maids and not condone bad beahviour by saying 'its just part of the culture'. A spade should be called a spade.
Tom
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Re: In Praise of Lima: Cultural vs Racial Identity

Postby Polaron » Tue Mar 01, 2016 6:32 pm

tomsax wrote:
Kratistos wrote:Because that is the reality of Peruvian Culture. We should help her be more integrated and these changes would allow for more positive change to her. I actually want her to have a voice.

Why doesn't the maid get the "this is the reality of Peruvian culture' pass card. Why can't her employers 'integrate' also.

I think you should expect better behaviour from people who employ maids and not condone bad beahviour by saying 'its just part of the culture'. A spade should be called a spade.


I originally wasn't going to get into this conversation but Tom's comments changed my mind. Tom I'm afraid I have to disagree with you because you're imposing your values your anglo-saxon perhaps values on a situation and through which is a country that if you are like most foreigners you don't really understand. Things here are what they are and as foreigners we're not going to change Peru. We're not going to change Peruvian behavior or Outlook.

Just look at Donald Trump as your example. No matter how righteously former Mexican President Vicente Fox bellowed, "yo no voy a pagar ese pinche muro," the fact remains that he's not going to change Donald Trump and he's not going to change the fools that support Donald Trump.

But Mr Fox is wise enough to know that nothing he says or does will change Donald Trump. He has a right to his opinion and that's as far as he takes it. So Tom while you and I believe that made should be treated better than they are in many cases the cold truth is that it's none of our business unless we're the people who are treating the maids.
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Re: In Praise of Lima: Cultural vs Racial Identity

Postby tomsax » Wed Mar 02, 2016 1:23 pm

Your're probably right in that I'm not going to change Peru. Imposing my views? I wish I could impose my views on how Peruvian treat maids but I don't have that much power. All I might be able to do is nudge slightly at Kratistos views to perrsaude him he might not being completely fair.

But I wasn't imposing my values/views on him or anybody any more than you are imposing your views on me or anyone else or the inital poster was imposing his values. We are just having a discussion about some moral points of view. I think if anyone thinks others are treated badly they have a right, and indeed a duty, to give their opinion. Even if they are wrong.

I think I understand enough about Peru to give that opinion. Just my opinion.

As for Donald Trump. He's dangerous, but that is not an opinion, its a fact.
Tom

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