New PDF release: Café con leche : race, class, and national image in

By Winthrop R. Wright

An exploration of even if ancient evidence really help the preferred belief that Venezuelans have accomplished a racial democracy during which humans of all races stay loose from prejudice and discrimination.

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Extra info for Café con leche : race, class, and national image in Venezuela

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To begin with, he viewed the behavior of multiracial Venezuelans through the lens of his own deeply held prejudices against blacks. "50 Though many of his statements about racial warfare reflected his own misgivings about Venezuelan society, they also mirrored the views of many of the elites he knew.  The perceived threat far exceeded the Page 33 probability of a rebellion against whites, but elites believed such an uprising could occur.  Allegiances occurred either with the Conservatives who rallied around Páez and his coalition of banking and commercial interests or with the Liberals, who in 1848 wrested power from Páez and set up a dictatorship under José Tadeo Monagas and his brother José Gregorio Monagas, representing the indebted planter class.

Although these groups often professed loose political affiliations with national parties, they expressed no clear­cut ideologies.  They, too, lacked an adequate work force and always found themselves dependent upon wealthy bankers and merchants, as well as subject to the vagaries of world markets.  But, they also suspected that slaves and free blacks would join revolutionary political bands whose intentions included the extermination of whites.  Venezuelans experienced an extended period of alternating anarchy, despotism, and civil war in various parts of their nation, but especially on the llanos.

But even though ethnicity and caste played central roles in determining social status, race entered into the equation by readily identifying the subservient castes, which comprised Africans, Indians, and their mixed racial descendants.  To socially conscious whites this behavior obviously posed a basic threat, particularly to their status. While they did not necessarily oppose social mobility, they were offended seeing descendants of African slaves dressed in apparel similar to their own. By the later eighteenth century, the elites' antipathy toward blacks and pardos took on an emotional quality akin to modern racism, but different in important ways.

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Café con leche : race, class, and national image in Venezuela by Winthrop R. Wright


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