De la Patria del Criollo a la Patria del Shumo: whiteness and the criminalization of the dark plebeian in modern Guatemala
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This dissertation explores how the bipolar order of the Republica de Indios and the Republica de Españoles in Guatemala, created an Indian self as docile and hardworking servant in opposition to the Mestizo caste stigmatized as lazy and rebellious. I analyze the constitution of a paradigmatic Mestizo self as a successful middle class subject, symbolically placed above Indians and Blacks and the efforts aimed at creating a homogeneous nation in Guatemala with the help of US applied anthropology. I describe the proliferation of anti-Indian and anti-mestizo sentiments in current times as a result among several factors, of transnational migration to the US, which is modifying patterns of consumption that favor social mobility, and the socialization of English language in popular settings. In addition, I examine the taxonomy that divides Guatemalan society in mucos, shumos, choleros, fresas, caqueros and normales; and perceptions about what would happen in Guatemala if Mayas gain more access to the State. As part of my argument that Ladinos should be understood as non-whites, I describe the interactions between popular Ladinos and indigenous residents in a Guatemala City colonia, established in the early 1950s on top of the pre-Hispanic city of Kaminal Juyu. Finally, in the context of the absence of mestizaje indigena as an official unifier of national identity, I explore the cultural universe of hijos de la gran puta, and the way they develop verbal strategies that combine malas palabras, grotesqueness, cosmic fear and popular religiosity about the entities of the non-visible world.