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EVERYONE IS MESTIZO TO SOME DEGREE
The American Society of Human Genetics affirms: Genetics exposes the concept of “racial purity” as scientifically meaningless.
Founded in 1948, the American Society of Human Genetics (ASHG) is the primary professional membership organization for specialists in human genetics worldwide. Based on the value of genetic diversity and genetic knowledge related to ancestry and genomic diversity, the ASHG affirms the following:
- Genetics demonstrates that humans cannot be divided into biologically distinct subcategories. Although there are clear observable correlations between variation in the human genome and how individuals identify by race, the study of human genetics challenges the traditional concept of different races of humans as biologically separate and distinct. This is validated by many decades of research.
- Most human genetic variation is distributed as a gradient, so distinct boundaries between population groups cannot be accurately assigned. There is considerable genetic overlap among members of different populations. Such patterns of genome variation are explained by patterns of migration and mixing of different populations throughout human history. In this way, genetics exposes the concept of “racial purity” as scientifically meaningless.
- It follows that there can be no genetics-based support for claiming one group as superior to another. Although a person’s genetics influences their phenotypic characteristics, and self-identified race might be influenced by physical appearance, race itself is a social construct. Any attempt to use genetics to rank populations demonstrates a fundamental misunderstanding of genetics.
- The past decade has seen the emergence of strategies for assessing an individual’s genetic ancestry. Such analyses are providing increasingly accurate ways of helping to define individuals’ ancestral origins and enabling new ways to explore and discuss ancestries that move us beyond blunt definitions of self-identified race.
AND THE NEW WORLD
by Arturo Uslar Pietri
Since the eighteenth century, at least, the dominant concern in the minds of Hispanic Americans has been that of self-identity. All those who have turned their gaze, with some care, to the panorama of these peoples have agreed, in some way, in pointing out this feature. Some has argued about an ontological anguish of the Creole, searching relentlessly for himself, between contradictory inheritances and dissimilar relationships, at times feeling exiled in his own land, at times acting as a conqueror of it, with a fluid notion that everything is possible and nothing is given in a definitive and proven way.
Successively and even simultaneously, many representative men of the Spanish and Portuguese-speaking America naively believed, or pretended, to be what they obviously were not and could not be. There was a time they thought of themselves as noblemen of Castile, as there was later to imagine themselves as Europeans in exile in unequal struggle against native barbarism. There were those who tried with all their soul to appear French, English, German and North American. Later there were those who believed themselves indigenous and set out to claim the fullness of an aboriginal civilization irrevocably interrupted by the Conquest, and there were also, in certain regions, those who felt possessed by a black soul and tried to resurrect an African past.
Culturally they were not European, much less could they be 'Indians' or Africans ...
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…Hispanic America is perhaps the only great area open in the world today to the process of creative cultural "mestizaje". Instead of looking at this extraordinary characteristic as a mark of backwardness or inferiority, it must be considered as the most fortunate and favorable circumstance for the New World vocation that has been associated from the beginning to the American destiny to be affirmed and extended.
It is on the basis of this fruitful and powerful "mestizaje" that the personality of Hispanic America, its originality and its creative task can be affirmed. With everything that comes to it from the past and present, Hispanic America can define a new time, a new direction and a new language for the expression of mankind, without forcing or adulterating the most constant and valuable of his collective being, which is his aptitude for living and creative "mestizaje".
It is now open and ready to receive and transform in a great attempt at unity and synthesis the living present of its multiple heritages and to carry out, on the eve of the 21st century, a feat of renewal and cultural rebirth similar to the one Rome did in its time, or did the West.
Its vocation and its opportunity is to carry out the new stage of cultural "mestizaje" that is going to be that of its time in the history of culture. All that deviates from that will be to divert Latin America from its natural path and deny it its manifest destiny, which is none other than to fully fulfill the promise of the Garcilasos, the Bolívars, the Daríos, the builders of cathedrals, for the work of a New World.
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