Professor Dennis R. Hidalgo

Spring 2012, Virginia Tech
http://www.history.vt.edu/faculty/hidalgo.htm
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nefermaathotep:

#AnotherGreatRead (Taken with Instagram)

fuckyeahlatinamericanhistory:

Here are all the Latin American medalists from day 10 of the 2012 Summer Olympics:

Dominican Félix Sánchez won gold and Puerto Rico’s Javier Culson won bronze at the 400m hurdles event yesterday. Sánchez, who was born and raised in the US, became the Dominican Republic’s first two-time Olympic gold medalist. (x)

Yarisley Silva of Cuba won silver at the pole vault competition. (x)

Luguelín Santos of the Dominican Republic won silver at the 400m race.(x)

Mijaín López Núñez won a second gold medal in greco-roman wrestling, after finishing first at the 2008 games in Beijing. (x)

Arthur Zanetti became the first Brazilian gymnast to win a gold medal at the Olympics, finishing in first place in the rings competition. (x)

saggx324:

Yun-Yun or Frio-Frio

Frio-Frio se le conoce en la Republica Dominicana. En Puerto Rico es, Piragüas. Sin embargo, en todas partes del Caribe significa lo mismo: el pobre hombre (pocas mujeres en esta linea de trabajo) le brinda a la gente alivio del calor con un sin numero de sabores tropicales y extranjeros también. No había preocupación por las calorias, porque todos estábamos afuera corriendo o caminando. Era un modo de vida que ya esta pasando. 

saggx324:

Yun-Yun or Frio-Frio

Frio-Frio se le conoce en la Republica Dominicana. En Puerto Rico es, Piragüas. Sin embargo, en todas partes del Caribe significa lo mismo: el pobre hombre (pocas mujeres en esta linea de trabajo) le brinda a la gente alivio del calor con un sin numero de sabores tropicales y extranjeros también. No había preocupación por las calorias, porque todos estábamos afuera corriendo o caminando. Era un modo de vida que ya esta pasando. 

(via lati-negros)

The Cazabe, cake made of cassava, should have been the most common bread-type of food product in the Caribbean, but instead, it became the mark of the lower classes. The European bread, made of wheat, is sought by all even when wheat does not grow in the region. The picture above shows the type of people who would consider Cazabe their food. Hardly would people of high social class would gather around, particularly in public spaces like this one, to share cazabe. 

republicadominicanavintage:

El mercado de La Vega. Nótese el cazabe, herencia taína y el miembro de la guardia civil. -1916- 

The idea that intelligence is linked to English pronunciation is a legacy from colonial thinking.
 Delalorm Semabia, 25, a Ghanaian blogger (x)

The following post relates directly with my class’ discussions on the evolution of the idea of Race as a determinating factor in classifying humans. You may remember that Jefferson entered in our conversations after reviewing the “Race” quizquestions. Some of you wanted to learn more about Jefferson’s contribution and I relished at the interest, not simply because it relates to my own research project, but because I welcome opportunities to work with primary sources in the classroom.

The relationship (between Jefferson and the post’s topic) is closer at the point when Jefferson wrote about Blacks’ emotive, but diminished reasoning powers. And this may be revealing in many ways because it may indicate the intellectual origins of the new enslaving culture, which patronized and enslaved Black people for “their own good” (this practice flourished in the U.S. and other countries that kept slavery even after the official abolition of the Atlantic slave trade in 1807-8). 

In the 1780s, the author of the Declaration of Independence figured that Blacks were largely emotional beings; that they would gravitate toward pleasure and bliss even when circumstances would not justify it. So, not much free time for Blacks, they should not be left on their own to reflect (they can’t, anyhow), but should be “employed” all the time, and kept busy even against their will (read: enslaved), for their “own good.” The following quote is one that you read out-load in class, where the idea is quite clear:

“A black after hard labour through the day, will be induced by the slightest amusements to sit up till midnight, or later, though knowing he must be out with the first dawn of the morning. They are at least as brave, and more adventuresome. But this may perhaps proceed from a want of forethought, which prevents their seeing a danger till it be present. –When present, they do not go through it with more coolness or steadiness than the whites. They are more ardent after their female: but love seems with them to be more an eager desire, than a tender delicate mixture of sentiment and sensation. Their griefs (sic) are transient. Those numberless afflictions which render it doubtful whether heaven has given life to us in mercy or in wrath, are less felt, and sooner forgotten with them. In general, their existence appears to participate more of sensation than reflection. To this must be ascribed their disposition to sleep when abstract from their diversions, and unemployed in labour.”

Thomas Jefferson, Notes on the State of Virginia, 205-6.

The Old Plantation, ca. 1790-1800. Watercolor ...
The Old Plantation, ca. 1790-1800. Watercolor by unidentified artist. Original painting in Abby Aldrich Rockefeller Folk Art Museum, Williamsburg, Virginia. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Jefferson’s quote is significant because it shows the rationale behind the ongoing process of differentiation (how people accentuate the differences among humans) based now not so much as it was before, on religion, language or even family name, but on perceived biological differences. People in positions of power, particularly slave-masters like Jefferson, imposed these differences, or better-said, biological markers, on all Black people. It did not matter how different would a Black be from another Black, in this new paradigm (relatively new for 1780s), they were all the same.

From this analysis we make sense of two uncommon, yet very descriptive terms, which we have mentioned in class before:

1- Essentialism: applied to our study of the history of race, it means that for every racial category there should be a specific set of traits that everyone in this race should, more or less, share (i.e., “Asian-Americans are smart people”).

2- Racialization: is the discursive process (continuous repetitions of an idea) in which groups of people are gradually categorized by racial markers even when they were not consulted or it was not this way before; when you impose or assume a “race” on somebody (i.e., “Your people…”).

The post that I am reblogging below helps depict how the new 19th Century enslaving culture linked Watermelons to the supposedly Black’s simplicity, and thus, a key justification for their enslavement. Do not lose sight, however, of the difference in timing: Jefferson wrote in the 18th Century and the new patronizing enslaving culture emerged in the 19th Century. In other words, the proliferation of watermelons accompanying Blacks did not happen until much after Jefferson. To be exact, around the time of the Haitian Revolution and the abolition of the Atlantic slave trade (1804-1808) we begin seeing an escalation of arguments justifying slavery and stressing differences according to physical and biological characteristics.

Jefferson’s ruminations (what he wrote in 1787) seem to link him to this transition in thinking about Blacks, and this about race. And thus, we can argue that “Race” as an idea is closely linked to the justification for slavery.  And it is only through digging back, in search of this idea’s genealogy, that we can find the link between the publication of the Notes of the State of Virginia and the supposed fondness Blacks have for watermelons.

Cheers,

Professor Dennis R. Hidalgo

vtafricandiasporahistory2012:

Jefferson’s “happy as slaves.” SLAVERY AND THE WATERMELON by Lisa Wade

amal-leila:

If you pay attention to racist portrayals of African Americans, you will notice the frequent appearance of watermelons.  Abagond has a nice collection that includes these:

Why watermelons?  According to David Pilgrim, the curator of the Jim Crow Museum, defenders of slavery used the watermelon as a symbol of simplicity.  African Americans, the argument went, were happy as slaves.  They didn’t need the complicated responsibilities of freedom; they just needed some shade and a cool, delicious treat.

Just look at these benevolent White people (sarcasm):

I think this is an interesting example of the way in which supposedly random stereotypes have strategic beginnings.  The association of Black people with a love of watermelon isn’t just a neutral stereotype, nor one that emerged because there is a “kernel of truth” (as people love to say about stereotypes).  Instead, it was a deliberate tool with which to misportray African Americans and justify slavery.

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This was the year of the anticipated invasion, when the U.S. Marines took over the control of the country; finally doing away with any appearance of representative democracy.  The entrance of the marines, which made of the Dominican government a virtual extension of a U.S. Navy division, happened only after about ten years of U.S. operatives failing to pay U.S. banks’ debts. For this purpose they had been seizing a large percentage of the revenues from the Dominican customhouses, the only secured source of hard currency (divisas) in the country. But control over the customhouses had not given these technocrats the power to pay back the debt as they had expected.  Keep in mind that these debts had been purposely bought from mostly European sharks-money lenders.

During those ten years, the country fell into the most horrific chaos in large part because the direct foreign intervention in the Dominican economy and politics even further destabilized the country. The U.S. neo-colonial administration could not understand why Dominicans (essentially the elite) could not put their act together and rule the nation “properly.” What carpetbaggers seemed to have missed was that the more they intervened in local politics and on the direction of the country, the more everything failed to work.

Since 1905, they had come down from the cold North on a Wilsonian mission to demonstrate Latin American Countries how to govern themselves. Little did they know that their efforts were meant not so much in achieving these goals, neither in protecting or improving the conditions of the majority of people in the U.S. Indeed, the service of the U.S. Marines was not “quell turmoil” or to “fight bandits,” in the Caribbean, as for many years U.S. textbooks have said. Their assignment did not resemble or had anything to do with the mission of any national armed forces.

Instead, from a crude economic perspective, the plan was to narrowly redirect the flow of revenues, the excess of capital, to emerging oversea U.S. markets, the babies of today’s multinationals. In other words, they were sent to protect, but not what you would have thought—they were to guard the value of U.S. oversea investments and to improve the credit base of internationally ambitious banks in the U.S. It would be now safer to invest on stocks with interests in the Caribbean. And since they ignored the negative effect of their uninvited procedures on the island, they could only explain their failure as a result of the Dominicans being exceedingly unruly and thus needing an even stronger foreign hand to lead them out of the debt mess.

Enter, then, the young men, mostly from the U.S. South, youths led by graduates from Virginia Tech, like officer Lloyd Williams. They would have seen the corner this picture captured in 1916. They would have not understood the irony of the U.S. consulate being above of the Listin Diario, still today’s most powerful newspaper. They would not have even given a second thought as to why they were there, as many of their friends would also be on the other side of the island, in Haiti, and farther to the west, in Nicaragua. They would not have understood that their participation on this invasion was linked to a broader hegemonic program that would change the course of history to many people in the Caribbean region (not to imply the people in the Caribbean did not have agency in their own destinies). They would look back at these years, however, as a training ground for their European expedition during the First World War.

I wonder what would have happened if these officers would have had a more thorough training in historical criticism? Up to what point would they have altered the way the U.S. invasion happened? If not; if people act only under the weight of the temporal circumstances, if they cannot transcend the shackles of their time, is there a point in teaching them the arts and sciences of history? 

These questions, of course, come as an end-of-a-semester meditation. Perhaps we should not pay much attention to them.


republicadominicanavintage:

1916. Oficina del Listin Diario, en la Isabel la Catolica, esquina Pellerano Alfau (detras la Catedral). El consulado americano se encuentra en el segundo piso custodiado por un militar de ese pais.

(via fylatinamericanhistory)

Though the illustration can be somewhat understood in any language (the helmets, the habit and the Indian aspects are universally recognized), it still helps to know what the caption says in Spanish: ”The signing of the first free trade treaty with Spain.”
Perhaps the message this pic wants to convey is that there is a strong resemblance between current free trade treaties and European colonialisms in the Americas. And this resemblance points toward an unveiled injustice sanctioned by supposedly benevolent institutions like the Church. The illustration serves as a warning to small-impoverished countries that the apparently friendly advances of more powerful countries (the entire courtship process, in fact) will lead to the same form of brutal submission.
Yet, though the picture is clearly (sensationalist) meant to impact with the unavoidable truth of the power behind unequal relationships, it is also deceiving, or better said, incomplete.  It looks rather similar to the way that Bartolome de las Casas portrayed the interaction of Conquistadores and Indian, a mistaken intellectual legacy that we today call "The Black Legend."
The broader truth is that the Spanish Church struggled with the question of the Indian’s rights and humanity like no other European religious institution did until the 19th Century. It also produced a minority of vocal activists that worked for the betterment of the Indians’ condition—they proposed reforms, admittedly, full of shortcomings and bent to benefit the Church over Indian religiosities. But the point is that the Church’s role was not as simplistic as it is shown here. 
Also, the Conquistadores and Spanish masters did not want to kill Indians indiscriminately. Instead, they wanted Indians alive and healthy, but submissive in order to have them as workers and servants. In fact, their idea for a social order among the Natives was a refurbished version of the European serf-like system. The main difference was that the Whites would be at the top of the hierarchy and the Indians would fill in the ranks below. So, aside from times of rebellion and conquest, they would not go around killing Indians; they would, instead, colonize them with oppressive institutions and laws.
The most problematic part of this pic, however, is that it shows Indians only as victims. There is no muscular or devilish-looking Indian; and the only one that is still alive is running away. The reality was that Indian forces fell more to the power of the new diseases than to European weapons. The little-know story of the Indian resistance shows that Indians were often more effective in their warfare than Europeans, and that they quickly adapted and even surpassed Europeans. Diseases, however, changed everything. 
Hidalgo


latinegro:

Not sure you need a translation for Colonialism.


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Though the illustration can be somewhat understood in any language (the helmets, the habit and the Indian aspects are universally recognized), it still helps to know what the caption says in Spanish: ”The signing of the first free trade treaty with Spain.”

Perhaps the message this pic wants to convey is that there is a strong resemblance between current free trade treaties and European colonialisms in the Americas. And this resemblance points toward an unveiled injustice sanctioned by supposedly benevolent institutions like the Church. The illustration serves as a warning to small-impoverished countries that the apparently friendly advances of more powerful countries (the entire courtship process, in fact) will lead to the same form of brutal submission.

Yet, though the picture is clearly (sensationalist) meant to impact with the unavoidable truth of the power behind unequal relationships, it is also deceiving, or better said, incomplete.  It looks rather similar to the way that Bartolome de las Casas portrayed the interaction of Conquistadores and Indian, a mistaken intellectual legacy that we today call "The Black Legend."

The broader truth is that the Spanish Church struggled with the question of the Indian’s rights and humanity like no other European religious institution did until the 19th Century. It also produced a minority of vocal activists that worked for the betterment of the Indians’ condition—they proposed reforms, admittedly, full of shortcomings and bent to benefit the Church over Indian religiosities. But the point is that the Church’s role was not as simplistic as it is shown here. 

Also, the Conquistadores and Spanish masters did not want to kill Indians indiscriminately. Instead, they wanted Indians alive and healthy, but submissive in order to have them as workers and servants. In fact, their idea for a social order among the Natives was a refurbished version of the European serf-like system. The main difference was that the Whites would be at the top of the hierarchy and the Indians would fill in the ranks below. So, aside from times of rebellion and conquest, they would not go around killing Indians; they would, instead, colonize them with oppressive institutions and laws.

The most problematic part of this pic, however, is that it shows Indians only as victims. There is no muscular or devilish-looking Indian; and the only one that is still alive is running away. The reality was that Indian forces fell more to the power of the new diseases than to European weapons. The little-know story of the Indian resistance shows that Indians were often more effective in their warfare than Europeans, and that they quickly adapted and even surpassed Europeans. Diseases, however, changed everything. 

Hidalgo

latinegro:

Not sure you need a translation for Colonialism.

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(via lati-negros)

I am proud of the colleagues I have at Virginia Tech.  
vthistorycolloquium:

Anthony Peguero’s research was highlighted at the Virginia Tech Library last week. His work studies the effectiveness of security measures and policies on the student population. His conclusions provides a sharp to the current educational model we are using in the U.S. He also works in connection with the Cartoon Network in developing a program to counteract the growing bullying culture on schools. http://mobile.lib.vt.edu/vsi/peguero-victims.html As soon as I have the link for the video, I will post it here.

I am proud of the colleagues I have at Virginia Tech. 

vthistorycolloquium:

Anthony Peguero’s research was highlighted at the Virginia Tech Library last week. His work studies the effectiveness of security measures and policies on the student population. His conclusions provides a sharp to the current educational model we are using in the U.S. He also works in connection with the Cartoon Network in developing a program to counteract the growing bullying culture on schools. http://mobile.lib.vt.edu/vsi/peguero-victims.html As soon as I have the link for the video, I will post it here.

fuckyeahlatinamericanhistory:

Today In Latin American History

Today is the 150th anniversary of the Battle of Puebla, which has become a popular holiday in the United States under the name Cinco de Mayo. On May 5, 1862, a Mexican army led by Ignacio Zaragoza, who was born in what is now the state of Texas, defeated a much larger French army during the time of the French Intervention in Mexico. A significant victory, it nevertheless failed to put and end to France’s designs on the country, and the French military forces were able to take over the Mexican capital some time later. Napoleon III eventually installed the Austrian Archduke Ferdinand Maximilian Joseph as Emperor Maximiliano I of Mexico in 1864. French involvement in the country would continue for the next few years, with a definitive end arriving with the ouster and execution of Maximiliano I in 1867. Future Mexican president Porfirio Díaz distinguished himself as a young military officer during the Battle of Puebla, and the holiday is said to have gained greater prominence in the country—and, eventually, in the neighboring United States—during his rule at the turn of the century, although the day is also said to have been celebrated by Mexican miners in California in the 1860s. The day of the Battle of Puebla is currently considered a regional event in Mexico, celebrated in the state of Puebla. In the United States, the holiday is often confused with the date of Mexican independence, which is celebrated on the 16th of September.

I want to know why this day has become so important in the US, so much more than in Mexico?

My colleague Kwame Harrison just shared this with me. The unwritten rule of three! There is no doubt that the US history with hyper racial animosity has something to do with the formation of rules like this one. How different are them from other places where the African Diaspora has also played a vital role in shaping popular culture?

lx-boricua:

“En la tierra hace falta personas que trabajen mas y critiquen menos, que construyan mas y destruyan menos, que prometan menos y resuelvan mas, que esperen recibir menos y dar mas, que digan mejor ahora que mañana.”

This goes directly against the current dominant culture of today.

lx-boricua:

“En la tierra hace falta personas que trabajen mas y critiquen menos, que construyan mas y destruyan menos, que prometan menos y resuelvan mas, que esperen recibir menos y dar mas, que digan mejor ahora que mañana.”

This goes directly against the current dominant culture of today.

fyeah-history:

Historic map of the Swedish Gold Coast, c.1650
The Swedish Gold Coast was a Swedish colony founded in 1650 by Hendrik Carloff on the Gulf of Guinea in present-day Ghana and Togo in West Africa. It lasted to April 1663 when the whole Swedish Gold Coast was seized by the Danes, and integrated in the Danish Gold Coast.

Now, that’s interesting. It fits perfectly with the plethora of mini colonization projects European nations were experimenting with at this time. An example of them, at the other side of the Atlantic, is the Scottish colony of Darien (1695-1701).

(via nefermaathotep)

Thanks to STS doctoral student, Mary Richie Mcguire, today I learned that Robert Lewis Dabney may have been an influence in the demise of anti-slavery sentiments in Hampden-Sydney College, and that David Minge, M.D., wanted to enter the Navy, but was regarded as mediocre. He had freed several enslaved Blacks in Charles City, given them silver dollars and had paid for their trip to Hayti in 1825. How much his anti-slavery sentiment may have played in his bad reputation? 

Thanks to STS doctoral student, Mary Richie Mcguire, today I learned that Robert Lewis Dabney may have been an influence in the demise of anti-slavery sentiments in Hampden-Sydney College, and that David Minge, M.D., wanted to enter the Navy, but was regarded as mediocre. He had freed several enslaved Blacks in Charles City, given them silver dollars and had paid for their trip to Hayti in 1825. How much his anti-slavery sentiment may have played in his bad reputation? 

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