My present research explores internalized racism among Mestizas and takes place in the public spaces of Pereira, located in the Coffee Region in Colombia. It investigates the understanding that Mestizas have of their histories and identities in the context of postcolonialism; the ways, in which Mestizas express internalized racism; and how identity and power relations among Mestizas, Indigenous and Afrodescendants are negotiated in different public spaces of inclusion and exclusion. My initial argument affirms how whiteness is a privilege in Latin America and notes how Mestizas have been historically oppressed by racism. In spite of this, Mestizas align themselves closer to a white/European heritage in order to access the privileges and power of ‘whiteness’, ignoring their Indigenous and Afrodescendant ancestry. Processes of racialization imply the construction of opposite identities and in the Colombian and Latin American case, Mestiza identity has been constructed as a non-racialized category, closer to whiteness and separated from indigenous and Afrodescendants. I argue that the boundaries that divide racialized categories are not so clear given that race is socially, spatially and politically constructed. This abstract division provides the justification for the ‘thering of racialized subjects, which has profound implications in the understandings and stigmatization of the most marginalized people and regions, most particularly affecting internally displaced people by the social and armed conflict in Colombia.
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