To be or not be mestizo
Mestizo is a term commonly used in Latin America to classify a person that has a Spanish and Amerindian ethnic background.
There’s been an interesting debate in Bolivia recently that suggests that the country, whose inhabitants are mostly Amerindian, are mainly mestizo. An article published July 1 in La Paz daily La Razón reported that 64% of Bolivians identify themselves as mestizo.
Guatemala is another Latin American country where the majority (about 80%) of its inhabitants are Amerindians.
The debate in Bolivia, whether its population is mostly Amerindian or not, is odd. Are they debating the issue because the “minority” mestizo and European “white” population see themselves threatened by MAS (Movement Towards Socialism) President Evo Morales’ government?
I’ve always been amazed by how Latin Americans classify themselves ethnically.
If anything, the debate in Bolivia shows how underdeveloped the region is. How do you explain that being “white” is a zillion times better than being Ameridian or mestizo? If you don’t believe me, take a fast look at any Latin American soap opera. Normally the dark person is the servant and the white person the master.
This is pretty incredulous considering that the so-called Latin American whites are a minority compared to the mestizos, who are a majority.
The situation is a bit like South Africa, when it imprisoned the Black majority with the help of apartheid. In most of Latin America the same thing is happening with the help of lack of education, human rights and endemic poverty.