The second post revolving about Mexican Independence Day.
After yesterday’s post I became more interested in all the racial distinctions made in colonial Mexico, most of which I had never heard of. Onlymestizo was I familiar with, which is a word often heard within la raza, usually in discussions of how we need to embrace our mestizo –ness and all. Turns out that the racial distinctions was a lawful caste system, imposed by the Spanish government. At the top were the guachpines (also knows as peninsulars) and at the bottom were negroes. This is a table explaining the different castes, from Mr.Donn.org:
|European born whites|
|Criollos||Colonial born whites|
|Mestizo||Mixed blood (Spanish-Indian)|
|Mulattos||Mixed blood (Spanish-Negro)|
So everyone who was not a guachapine was not only socially inferior but also legally inferior as well. One was assigned to a caste, for life, at baptism by the priest. Since the caste was based on race one could not “move up” to a better caste. So there was literally no way to improve one’s lot. You – and your children (if you didn’t manage to marry someone of a better caste) – were fated to live a very harsh life if you were Indian or Black and an inferior life if criollo, mestizo, or mulatto.
Is it any wonder that Mexicans- of all the inferior castes- were ready for a revolution, as the only way to make their lives better?