Whiteness and the Casta System in Colonial Latin America

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The colonization of Spanish America resulted in the mixing of Natives, Europeans, and Africans and the creation of a discriminatory casta system. Still, members of mixed races could potentially free themselves from such restrictions through the purchase of a gracias al sacar – a royal exemption that bestowed the privileges of whiteness. For more than a century, this possibility of purchasing whiteness has fascinated scholars as a marker of historic differences between North and Latin American treatments of race. Dr. Twinam will present from her book Purchasing Whiteness and discuss the history of race and the negotiation of inclusion and exclusion in Latin America.

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