Land of the Cosmic Race: Race Mixture, Racism, and Blackness in Mexico

Paperback | February 20, 2013

byChristina A. Sue

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Land of the Cosmic Race is a richly-detailed ethnographic account of the powerful role that race and color play in organizing the lives and thoughts of ordinary Mexicans. It presents a previously untold story of how individuals in contemporary urban Mexico construct their identities,attitudes, and practices in the context of a dominant national belief system. The book centers around Mexicans' engagement with three racialized pillars of Mexican national ideology - the promotion of race mixture, the assertion of an absence of racism in the country, and the marginalization ofblackness in Mexico. The subjects of this book are mestizos - the mixed-race people of Mexico who are of Indigenous, African, and European ancestry and the intended consumers of this national ideology. Land of the Cosmic Race illustrates how Mexican mestizos navigate the sea of contradictions that arise when theireveryday lived experiences conflict with the national stance and how they manage these paradoxes in a way that upholds, protects, and reproduces the national ideology. Drawing on a year of participant observation, over 110 interviews, and focus-groups from Veracruz, Mexico, Christina A. Sue offersrich insight into the relationship between race-based national ideology and the attitudes and behaviors of mixed-race Mexicans. Most importantly, she theorizes as to why elite-based ideology not only survives but actually thrives within the popular understandings and discourse of those over whom itis designed to govern.

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Land of the Cosmic Race is a richly-detailed ethnographic account of the powerful role that race and color play in organizing the lives and thoughts of ordinary Mexicans. It presents a previously untold story of how individuals in contemporary urban Mexico construct their identities,attitudes, and practices in the context of a dominant...

Christina A. Sue is Assistant Professor of Sociology at the University of Colorado at Boulder.

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Format:PaperbackDimensions:256 pages, 9.25 × 6.12 × 0.68 inPublished:February 20, 2013Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:019992550X

ISBN - 13:9780199925506

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Table of Contents

Acknowledgements1. Introduction2. Mapping the Veracruz Race-Color Terminological Terrain3. Beneath the Surface of Mixed-Race Identities4. Mestizos' Attitudes on Race Mixture5. Inter-Color Couples and Mixed-Color Families in a Mixed-Race Society6. Situating Blackness in a Mestizo Nation7. Silencing and Explaining Away Racial Discrimination8. What's at Stake? Racial Common Sense and Securing a Mexican National IdentityEpilogue: The Turn of the Twenty-First Century: An Ideological Shift?AppendixReferencesIndex

Editorial Reviews

"In Mexico, the official ideology of mestizaje has provided a master narrative in which the mixture of Indians and Spaniards functioned as a powerful antidote to racism. In her innovative study of race and skin color, Christina Sue combines ethnography and discourse analysis to explore howpeople of different classes negotiate the contradictions between the mestizaje ideology and their everyday experiences. While avoiding the use of the term race, most of her informants express a 'non-racist common sense,' accepting the social value of light skin but minimizing its significance as afactor of negative discrimination. Sue dexterously argues that such common sense reflects the national ideal of unity and fairness, but also hinders the effective critique of crucial aspects of Mexico's social inequalities." --Guillermo de la Pena, Professor of Anthropology, CIESAS, Mexico