Monday, August 1, 2011

The Master's Narrative: Memes of Caste and the Anomaly of Histories

Opening Argument
Anchor Babies of 1492

The acceptance of the Doctrine of Discovery into United States law held profound implications for future relations between the federal government and the Indians. The Doctrine of Discovery’s discourse of conquest was now available to legitimate, energize, and constrain as needed white society’s will to empire over the North American continent.

The doctrine confirmed the superior rights of a European-derived nation to the lands occupied by “infidels, heathens, and savages,” encouraged further efforts by white society to acquire the Indians’ “waste” lands, and vested authority in a centralized sovereign to regulate the Indian’ dispossession according to national interest, security, and sometimes even honor.

Perhaps most important, Johnson’s acceptance of the Doctrine of Discovery into United States law preserved the legacy of 1,000 years of European racism and colonialism directed against non-Western peoples.

White society’s exercise of power over Indian tribes received the sanction of the Rule of Law in Johnson v. McIntosh. The Doctrine of Discovery’s underlying medievally derived ideology – that normatively divergent “savage” peoples could be denied rights and status equal to those accorded to the civilized nations of Europe – had become an integral part of the fabric of United States federal Indian law.  The architects of an idealized European vision of life in the Indians’ New World had successfully transplanted an Old World form of legal discourse denying all respect to the Indians’ fundamental human rights.

While the tasks of conquest and colonization had not yet been fully actualized on the entire American continent, the originary legal rules and principles of federal Indian law set down by Marshall in Johnson v. McIntosh and its discourse of conquest ensured that future acts of genocide would proceed on a rationalized, legal basis.

The American Indian in Western Legal Thought, Robert Williams (p. 316-317)


Origins of Racial Profiling in the State of Arizona

Precedents of the policy of preferential racial profiling fundamental to the establishment of “white” political power systems, illegal and discriminatory practices of affirmative action institutionalizing colonization to the benefit of European American constituencies, in violation of Civil Rights, Human Rights, and Indigenous Rights in the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo Territories.

(US-Mexico 1848)

The International Personality of the Mexicano Peoples
and the Law of Exceptions


The Mexicans who, in the territories aforesaid, shall not preserve the character of citizens of the Mexican Republic, conformably with what is stipulated in the preceding article, shall be incorporated into the Union of the United States. and be admitted at the proper time (to be judged of by the Congress of the United States) to the enjoyment of all the rights of citizens of the United States, according to the principles of the Constitution; and in the mean time, shall be maintained and protected in the free enjoyment of their liberty and property, and secured in the free exercise of their religion without restriction.

Article XI

Considering that a great part of the territories, which, by the present treaty, are to be comprehended for the future within the limits of the United States, is now occupied by savage tribes, who will hereafter be under the exclusive control of the Government of the United States, and whose incursions within the territory of Mexico would be prejudicial in the extreme, it is solemnly agreed that all such incursions shall be forcibly restrained by the Government of the United States whensoever this may be necessary; and that when they cannot be prevented, they shall be punished by the said Government, and satisfaction for the same shall be exacted all in the same way, and with equal diligence and energy, as if the same incursions were meditated or committed within its own territory, against its own citizens.


31st US Congress, Chapter 49

September 9, 1850

US Territorial Act for the formation of the Territorial Government of New Mexico, through which the State of Arizona became admitted into the jurisdiction of the United States of America.

Sec. 6.  And be it further enacted, That every free white male inhabitant, above the age of twenty-one years, who shall have been a resident of said Territory at the time of passage of this act, shall be entitled to vote at the first election, and shall be eligible to any office within the said Territory; but the qualifications of voters and of holding office, at all subsequent elections, shall be such as be prescribed by the legislative assembly: Provided, That the right of suffrage, and of holding office, shall be exercised only by citizens of the United States, including those recognized as citizens by the treaty with the republic of Mexico, concluded February second, eighteen hundred and forty-eight.


Before the
Human Rights Commission of the Comités de Defensa del Barrio

The Spirit of Justice, the True Light of Law


The Master's Narrative:
Memes of Caste and the Anomaly of Histories
They would have us submit to the Rule of Law, when all they offer is the Law of Rules.

When the Adivasi, Indigenous Peoples of the Indian subcontinent, relate their experiences under the colonizing regimes that have swept their homelands, even references to Alexander the Great are preceded by the invasions of the Aryans and the introduction of the “white” concept of human cultural identity and superiority as the determinant for the caste systems that continue to plague the cultural landscape of India even after five thousand years.

To fast forward to the current dialogue on race and institutionalized racism in US society that was intensified by the 2008 presidential campaign, everyday we see and HEAR echoes of the memes of caste that are reinforced every time the phrase “white people” or “white” is used to describe the European American populations of the United States.  That perpetuation of a caste based society would be completely antithetical to the precepts of the “American Experiment of Democracy,” yet remain embedded in the vernacular of public and private discourse regarding social relationships has roots in the Indo-European histories, but is codified in the US Civil Rights statutes as follows:

United States Code


Equal rights under the law

(a) Statement of equal rights

All persons within the jurisdiction of the United States shall have the same right in every State and Territory to make and enforce contracts, to sue, be parties, give evidence, and to the full and equal benefit of all laws and proceedings for the security of persons and property as is enjoyed by white citizens, and shall be subject to like punishment, pains, penalties, taxes, licenses, and exactions of every kind, and to no other.

The term WHITE CITIZEN is contextualized further by the language of the 14th Amendment to the US Constitution which states:

Section 1. All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the state wherein they reside.

Thus the connection is made institutionally and culturally via the jurisprudence of the Master's Narrative, between concepts of white citizen and WHITE PERSON, establishing legal personality within the US social construct as a function of relationship to the dominant “white” power structures of rights and obligations.  The anomaly being the Nican Tlacah Indigenous Peoples who supercede the US jurisdiction as sovereign confederations of nations holding treaty relationships with the US and other government states of the world.


The historical moment of crisis and transformation which is evident nationally and globally, provides the opportunity to suggest a clarification in terms:

Specifically, TO EXCHANGE use of the term “WHITE”, “white citizen”, and “white person” with the term European-American in the public discourse on race and racism, citizenship and immigration. If the term “Black” can be correlated with African-American, why cannot the same principle apply for the “whites”?

What prevents us from clarifying one of the terms of the social discourse involved in the experiment in American Democracy and let’s see what happens. After all, the first victims of racism are the racists themselves, for what have they done to their own families and innocent children to produce such a culturally twisted and dehumanized constituency such as "white people" generation after generation?

Shall we collectively continue the experiment in democracy in this hemisphere, without perpetuating the institutionalizing of a continental affirmative action program of racism and superiority for one sector of society, the descendants of the European colonizers of the 15th century?

Tupac Enrique Acosta

1 comment:

  1. All those free in spirit and mind must become an epicenter of activity, this energy is an integral part of what is prophesied by our ancestors. Es nuestro tiempo. Desde Chiapas, Juan