African Mexicans and the Discourse on Modern Nation

African Mexicans and the Discourse on Modern Nation

University Press of America
June 2004
136 pages
Paper ISBN: 0-7618-2858-3 / 978-0-7618-2858-7

Marco Polo Hernández Cuevas, Asssociate Professor of Spanish
North Carolina Central University

In African Mexicans and the Discourse on Modern Nation, author Marco Polo Hernández-Cuevas explores how the Africaness of Mexican mestizaje was erased from the national memory and identity and how national African ethnic contributions were plagiarized by the criollo elite in modern Mexico. The book cites the concept of a Caucasian standard of beauty prevalent in narrative, film, and popular culture in the period between 1920 and 1968, which the author dubs as the “cultural phase of the Mexican Revolution.”

The author also delves into how criollo elite disenfranchised non-white Mexicans as a whole by institutionalizing a Eurocentric myth whereby Mexicans learned to negate part of their ethnic makeup. During this time period, wherever African Mexicans, visibly black or not, are mentioned, they appear as “mestizo,” many of them oblivious of their African heritage, and others part of a willing movement toward becoming “white.” This analysis adopts as a critical foundation Richard Jackson’s ideas about black phobia and the white aesthetic, as well as James Snead’s coding of blacks.

Table of Contents

  • Foreword
  • Preface
  • Acknowledgments
  • Introduction
  • The Revolution and Invisibility: African Mexicans and the Ideology of Mestizaje in La raza cósmica
  • The Erased Africaness of Mexican Icons
  • La vida inútil de Pito Pérez: Tracking the African Contribution to the Mexican Picaresque Sense of Humor
  • Angelitos negros, a Film from the “Golden Age” of Mexican Cinema: Coding Visibly Black Mestizos By and Through a Far-Reaching Medium
  • Modern National Discourse and La muerte de Artemio Cruz: The Illusory “Death” of African Mexican Lineage
  • Conclusion
  • Bibliography
  • Index
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