ERIC Number: ED254598
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 1983
Reference Count: N/A
Contrasting Portraits: Integrating Materials about the Afro-Hispanic Woman Into the Traditional Curriculum. Working Paper No. 120.
Images of Black women in Hispanic literature tend to be the work of White authors or Black male authors who, however well-intentioned, cannot articulate the direct, lived experience of the black, Hispanic woman. Moreover, the image of the Black woman in Spain and Latin America is the result of a slavocratic, patriarchal system and, therefore, plagued with racist and sexist assumptions. How language is used reveals much about how a society views racial heterogeneity. In Spanish literature even before the conquests, for example, efforts were made to mask the presence in Spain of Blacks, especially Black women: to take Blacks seriously was a threat to the social order. Black women appeared only as comic foils to White women, whose beauty and whiteness were thus enhanced. The presence of Black women in the social order thus affected the way in which White women were viewed. More studies on this dialectical relationship are needed, and courses on Hispanic women must explicitly refer to it. Of course, in a patriarchal culture, women of all races are subjugated. But the differences in the treatment of White and Black women in Spanish and Hispanic history (e.g. the "chaste White woman," the "sexually powerful Black woman") must be understood, and related to the existence of racism and slavery. Rosario Ferre's short story, "Cuando las mujeres quieren a los hombros" (When Women Love Men), specifically concerns the conflict of Black and White Women, and reveals the economic bases of both racist and sexist images. It is exactly the type of work that should be used in courses on Hispanic women. (KH)
Publication Type: Information Analyses; Opinion Papers
Education Level: N/A
Sponsor: Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, New York, NY.
Authoring Institution: Wellesley Coll., MA. Center for Research on Women.