Manifesto and Megapost

Cross posted from Professor Zero, where I am Xiuhtecuhtli. However, being Xiuhtecuhtli and being a skull on the tomb of the Mayan ruler 13-Rabbit are both games. The real life Professor Zero is a daughter of Iansã with Ogún and Oxúm at her back, although she does not normally discuss this as it is not a game. It is, however, why I wear white on Fridays, and why I wish you axé. Iansã and Ogún are both warriors.

Bound to the Masthead, or, Honorarium Slavery

I have an advertiser at $200 per annum who reminds me that I cannot stop posting. This means each post, at one post a day, is worth approximately $0.55 USD. I feel like Virginia Woolf, commenting on the economy of a small college for women in Three Guineas, or like Thackeray and other writers who were paid by the word. I myself know a writer in Uruguay who is paid by the character, that is, the worth of his output is measured in units comprised of individual letters and punctuation marks.

I recently read a book, and I am reading another. The first was the first novel of a former student of mine, now a friend; he is a creative writing person and this is the first novel he has had come into print. I bought it from a store, of my own free will, because I want to support this person’s work and also because I am interested. I read it and enjoyed it and it was recreational since I had no responsibility toward it, and I was also genuinely interested to see what a longer piece by him would look like, since we have discussed writers and writing a fair amount. I also read novels with new eyes now that I am writing one, so it was interesting. This is what it is to read the work of one’s friends and students for pleasure, without pressure or obligation.

The book I am reading is an edited collection of essays I agreed to review. One is well advised not to agree to review books, but I agreed to this for various reasons. But the book is further out of field for me than I’d realized it would be, and it is very uneven. I do not really have full authority to say that, and I do not want to alienate the authors or any of the related editors, in the case of this book and these texts.

For me to say anything I would actually like to say, I would have to undertake research to write this review. That is out of place and I am reduced to writing one of those dull reviews that describes and summarizes. I am reminding myself that these reviews are in fact useful. If you have not seen the book, a review that describes it with minor comment is a good substitute for standing in a bookstore or library looking at it. But this review, this kind of reading and writing, is a real chore.

Then I have a pile of books received. People write books or publish them and send them to me, because I can have them added to university library collections, or review them myself, or give distribute them to others who may review them and bring attention to them books in that way. I am glad that when people send me these books, they do not send specific instructions on what I am to do with them. I am happy do do all the professional courtesies I can, as I have often been a beneficiary of these; often, though, for reasons having to do with time, the best I can do is have their book catalogued and placed in our library.

Regarding professional courtesies — at least in the Mediterranean and South American venues I inhabit one does not decently press for them. This may be a major difference between the atmosphere I am used to and the way people function in more British, or North/West European, or “whiter” venues what was called “Anglo” where I grew up. I don’t really know how to word this but the image I have of this “Anglo” attitude is one of expansion: it marches in like an army, punches you in the face, and tells you what to do or say, or how, in general, you should function to promote it.

Another difference I notice between the venues I primarily inhabit and the ways people act in the English department, say — and this is particularly true of Americans — is that they never say anything even vaguely negative about anything they have been asked to read. They say laconic things sometimes, or use evasive formulae such as “I am so glad you are writing, I really want to support you in that;” but they do not say anything negative.

I also noticed the other day that it isn’t quite proper to be too positive: I told one of the English students last week that he should send his essay to a journal, and he laughed derisively in my face. It was an insecure reaction, I know, discomfort with praise, but it was interesting how condescending he, a student just past the M.A., suddenly became to me: tsk, tsk, little professor girl, you could not know how hard it is to publish and what kind of quality is really required, whereas I, a man, understand the wide world.

But back to having actual reactions, giving one’s point of view: in my venues, that’s what one does if one is genuine, even if it means telling someone something like, you know, I would omit this scene if I were you, it doesn’t seem to fit. Not to do this would be the sign of disrespect, and saying anything that indicates you have read and not skimmed, is a sign of respect even if it is not gushing praise.

It is hard for me to use the word Anglo, especially to refer to an Other, because it is a stereotype coming from a place and time I am not in; because in that place and time I was, at least technically and in terms of privileges held, a member of that group, and would not have presumed to allege otherwise; and finally, because from where I am now, I feel that to speak in a grossly negative way about “the Anglos” is to support the French colonial attitude, and I want no part of that. Nonetheless, I am about to use this word to refer to another, in a situation in which I feel the Anglo is the Other and I am not one.

One of my correspondents has been upset because I commented upon finished products as though they were near-finished. This person has been wounded by those who assume she will have certain attitudes because of her race and where she is from, and defines herself as a non “Westerner.” But my reaction to her upset — and it is not the first time I have had this reaction, I have just set it aside because I know it is likely to be seen by this person simply as the reaction of a “Westerner” to a “non Westerner” — but my reaction, the reaction I have had before, was to think:

Oh dear, I forgot, I am dealing with an Anglo here. I forgot that I need to be prepared for extreme aggressiveness on their part and for their expectation that others will subordinate themselves to them.

For this is my experience of Anglo behavior. I also note that when people do not subordinate themselves to the Anglo, they genuinely have their feelings hurt and are wounded. I feel responsible because their pain is genuine, and I am its immediate cause; but at the same time I am not responsible for their having been structured in this way and I cannot sacrifice myself to it. So these situations are awkward for me. There is actually something I would say to this particular person, though, and I will now practice saying it:

Stop worrying about what I or anyone like me thinks of your work. You have a Ph.D. now and two complete manuscripts, an academic one and a creative one, and both are good. If I were you I would be shopping them around to good presses — I mean Routledge, HarperCollins, White Pine, or for the creative manuscript any press no matter how small which will do distribution for you. Focus on what these presses think of your work and on what African writers and critics say about it.

As you know, there are several African literature series in good presses. There are more academic literary journals like Calaloo and more journalistic and creative cultural journals like Transition. You should be looking at venues like these. You should create a truly professional website — not just fool around with Facebook and YouTube. You should do these things whether you want an academic career or not, and you should consider getting an agent; because whether or not you decide to be an academic, you have already become a writer.

You need money for yourself and your projects; you might as well put yourself in a position to make some. Self-publication and guerrilla marketing have their place and I see the point of refusing to touch the “establishment;”  there are real dangers in professionalization, too, I know. At the same time there is a romantic quaintness to these ideas that may not serve you well. For instance, you should be discussing memoir, Bataille, and formlessness with a Leiris scholar.

My main department has, at this time, so far as I know, one transgendered person, three lesbians, two gay men, two bisexual men, and two members of polyamorous households; there may be more queer people in it I am not aware of. I am from San Francisco where everyone is gay, and I lived in Barcelona where everyone is gay, too. When we hired our fourth lesbian she was upset with us all because she wanted us to be upset about her orientation. She wanted to be our first. She wanted to experience discrimination from us and then teach us about it. She was frustrated with us because we as a group were not equipped to provide this experience. She was also a rather presumptuous person, and when she did not get the things she wanted, she understood this to be discrimination by reason of gender, and race, and sexual orientation.

She was right on a certain level. Our institution is a plantation and every woman, every non white person, and most if not all queer people are somehow discriminated against. And our field is discriminated against because we teach languages, literatures, and cultures of brown people. But this is a systemic situation and was not directed at her as an individual, and it was certainly not mobilized against her by any individual. Her attempts to accuse us of discrimination against her were self serving in the finest tradition of the exploitative American whiteness in which she also participated.

I am of German, British, and Russian descent and my family moved to what had been New Spain in the nineteenth century. Once a television repairman went to my mother’s house. He seemed foreign and she, out of friendly curiosity, asked where he was from. It turned out that he was literally from her property. He was Chumash and my mother’s house was on land belonging to his ancestral village. I am arguably more culturally Mexican, which means mestizo and “Indian,” than I am “American” but I hold a U.S. passport and when I am not speaking Spanish am usually taken for white. And on this weblog, I am a sculpted detail on a Mayan stela. I am assuming, however, that that man would like his land back, and I am sure the pinto beans and poblano peppers I am eating right now, having bought them in a nice supermarket,  were grown by actual Mexicans. There is a difference and I insist upon respecting it. By that I do not mean I insist upon preserving hierarchies; I mean I refuse to deny what class I am actually in, even if I do not like it.

Here is a trivial, yet telling example of that difference. At Christmas, I was at an apartment in Brazil that my friend had rented for her son. They had a star shaped hanging light fixture they were trying to install, very beautiful. The problem was that given the architecture and angles of the place, the way in which the fixture could be installed made it look like a pentagram. They were concerned about this — it looked good, but was it a good idea to hang a pentagram in one’s room? I said, go ahead and don’t worry. It looks good and it may attract nothing bad; if it does, deal with it then, but for now, I recommend putting up the pretty fixture and assuming the best.

They looked at each other and said: “She is a free Anglo-Saxon, that is why she is in a position to say that.” And it is true on so many levels, even though the dollar is now weaker in some ways than the Brazilian real.

It had been true eighteen months earlier, too, when I was in a bus accident in Peru. People wanted to complain to the bus company and the police but were so accustomed to being oppressed by authorities that they were not sure they would have the fortitude to hold their ground. By then they had figured out I was American and the man organizing the crowd said to me, “Look. As an American you will have had a civic education that teaches you, you have rights as a citizen and as a consumer. You also carry a passport which gives you a certain kind of protection the rest of us do not have. I know you will not forget these things when the police arrive. I know that formally, I have the same rights as you, but I also know that I will forget this fact sooner than you will. Therefore, when the police come and I negotiate with them, if you see me start to back down, please place yourself in my line of vision and look at me; I will understand you to be reminding me that I have rights.” I thought then of Toussaint l’Ouverture and his position in the morass of Western civilization.

When the police arrived, it turned out that they were Indians, too, and had no power against the bus company. We all laughed in Spanish and Quechua, and cracked jokes about the ideals of the French Revolution we have imprinted in our bones, and the wisdom of Adam Smith and Marx that was operating. The passengers in the car we had almost sent flying down the ravine, and who had originally armed themselves with rocks and keened in Quechua, as true senderistas might, preparing to attack so as to exact monetary reparations from the bus passengers, relaxed and laughed, too. And these people were all descendants of the builders of great Baroque churches, and of that famous defender of Inca culture and humanist and Latinist and scholar of Renaissance Italian literature when it was contemporary literature, the Inca Garcilaso de la Vega. And yes, this incident took place in some interstices of Western civilization and of the ancient culture of Markahuamachuco, and this area is quite remote, and the old culture lives.

And the world is wide. The hills are high, and the canyons are deep; every mountain is a god. And the rivers have many bends, and there are sacred stones at the way-stations, and at one of them you sit watching sheep and spinning. Next to you is a covered basket and you say, I have fresh bread, will you buy, Mother? Or you are wearing a business suit and waiting for a ride because yes, a bus has broken down and you have errands in town. And we are all mixed and we have been mixed for a very long time.

And I have up until now largely discounted as elitist and criollista the discourse of Ariel; I have found the evocations of the America of “Bolívar and Martí” nostalgic and in terms of class discourse uncomfortably close to the idearium of Sarmiento. But at this moment, speaking as a person from Greater Mexico; and also as a skull on a Mayan stela, I am turning decidedly Bolivarian (although not unreservedly Chávez-ian, you understand, unless we are talking about César Chávez).

I will also never again nod and smile when any white person, from any country, no matter how much they may have been mistreated by other white people and no matter whether they are just students with growing pains and moments of confusion, I will never again merely nod and smile when any white person decides to take it upon themselves to teach me certain things they imagine I do not know, namely, that I carry a passport from a country which is an imperialist power and which, despite deep inequalities, is one of the most opulent in the world, and that I ought to be aware of that fact and think about it for once; or that I am a white person and I have white privilege which I should learn to curb; or that I am a part of Western civilization and I should perhaps consider that there might be other civilizations.

I am a professor primarily of Spanish and Portuguese, and I work in Latin American literature; that means I have to be aware of several things. I am also a direct descendant of the masters of Wye House in Maryland, which in its heyday had over one thousand African and Caribbean slaves, and I have the papers of this establishment and could tell you a great deal about its economy. My uncles were faithful members of the International Workers of the World. My aunts worked for woman suffrage and went down to the docks in San Francisco to welcome Emma Goldman. The city was full of Chinese and they were heavily discriminated against. Then they became my roommates; that is how I picked up the habit of stirring all pots with chopsticks. They kept telephoning Shanghai and speaking in Chinese, but mixing in words and phrases like “registration” and “driver’s license.” I am not Hispanic but I learned the second national language of my country as a child, and I first picketed with the United Farm Workers when I was nine. All of these things and more are part of me and I, too, sing America. I will never bow down to any self righteous persons of European descent, no matter what their current nationality may be; colonialism is a world system and we are all implicated; I want liberty or death. I mean that I want liberty for the soft homeland, and for the great homeland, and for the sorrowing islands of the sea. I do not wish to think, or speak, or write, with moderation; I am in earnest; I will not equivocate; I will not excuse; I will not retreat a single inch; AND I WILL BE HEARD; and these are literary references the barbarians from the metropolitan colossi will not understand; so much the worse for them. I am beyond needing elementary lessons on the depravities of marauding Europeans and of U.S. policy (although I am of course always interested in new information), and I have heard of instrumental reason and the Cartesian “I.” I can give you details on our prison system and our arms industry, not to mention the question of petroleum; my information goes beyond nice pieties and beyond anything most People Sitting in Whiteness want to hear.

Speaking of buses, though, when I returned from Brazil in January I took a bus to Maringouin because my suitor had sequestered my car. I thought nothing of it because I was coming from Brazil where it is normal to ride the bus, but in the United States, at least this part of it, riding the bus is a down and out and very Black thing to do and the bus officials treated us like prisoners. I mean they literally treated us like prisoners; I have direct knowledge of what that is because I have been going fairly regularly to some of the less elite parts of the famous Louisiana State Penitentiary at Angola, and I have also been interpellated there as a participant in some ways and to some extent. And when I speak of my experiences in the United States of America generally, where in most spaces many lack visas, I am not always speaking of experiences involving people endowed with the first world Rights of Man and Citizen which were, of course, denied Toussaint in the end.

The reason I know peer review is not anonymous is that I have an essay I cannot publish; I cannot publish it because I have an Anglo name. It criticizes, from a left and South American point of view, the work of an American writer who is a member of at least three oppressed groups. It cannot be published, nice white reviewers from English departments have said again and again, because a person with an Anglo name cannot criticize the work of a person without an Anglo name, because such criticism is necessarily conservative and “racist.” It is actually one of the best things, if not the best thing I ever wrote, but it is condemned to circulation in samidzat. So I, too, am discriminated against by white people for being white, but you know, dem’s da breaks; I could be out working in the fields right now, too, but I am sitting on a nice couch in a pleasant living room in incandescent lighting with the air conditioning on since it was in the nineties today, and I am writing in a blog.

Back home in Greater Mexico, when I was young, I had friends who were blond like me and had learned Spanish like me, and they were chronically upset because in those days one, being Mexican, did not speak Spanish openly if one was undocumented, and one assumed, usually correctly, that blonds did not speak Spanish, anyway. “They do not trust me,” my friends cried. “I am not like those mean white people, why can they not believe this?” I always said look, they do not know you, they have good reason to mistrust you, and you do not have a right to their immediate trust because of what you represent, no matter what you may be like as an individual.”

I think I was right about this, and I do not expect the trust of persons sitting in situations and historical positions worse than mine, situations which exist because of the activities of my ancestors (of which I am not guilty, but for which yes, I am responsible). However, I also do not owe apologies or justifications to other persons who, like myself, sit in whiteness (no matter how culturally Other they may feel).

Not including the present paragraph this post has 3662 words, which is 14.68 pages. That is a lot for one day. I wrote it in a total of 5.5 hours — in the office, waiting for students who did not come; in a waiting room, waiting for an appointment, and after dinner; I did not know I could carve that much writing time out of this particular day, and this is the most I have written on any day, ever. It is worth $0.55, American. That means each page is worth 3.7 cents, American; so each word is worth .015 of a cent. In terms of time, I have been paid exactly 10 cents an hour for this post.

It is worthwhile, though, because this has been free labor undertaken on behalf of my hemisphere, which is the Western Hemisphere. My hemisphere has four oceans, two continents, one isthmus, one major sea, and many islands. It was the first hemisphere colonized by Europe and it is a major contributor to Western civilization, although only some of us are beneficiaries of this. I, as a person, am an effect of this situation, and I am proud of our many cultures, most of which are creole cultures. I am now a skull on a stela in a Mayan ruin, now a middle class white American waiting to be paid on Friday so I can buy groceries, always a daughter of Iansã-Oyá. Subjects and citizens of other continents also colonized by Western European powers, consider the references in this piece the next time you, feeling proud of your personal roots in, your political sympathies with, and your activism on behalf of some native cultures and the citizenry of a country which was once  one of the colonies we had when we were British, feel moved to deride me as “Western.”

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4 Responses to Manifesto and Megapost

  1. Wow. Your advertiser got more than their money’s worth this time. May I direct others to this post? I doubt that they could identify you, but they may be closer to others who might be able to. If that’s not a serious concern, this deserves to be read more widely I think. Or, less judgmentally given the content, say rather, I believe I know people who would be glad to have read this post.

  2. Z says:

    Hi Jonathan and thanks! Feel free to redistribute far and wide. On Facebook, I posted this as a note with this prologue:

    “I had an argument a couple of years ago with a European resident here who, not yet realizing how much money there is in this town, felt that my preference for New Orleans and for that matter, New York over any small to medium sized city was ‘snobbish.’ Now I have had a loosely related discussion with someone who put me down as ‘Western’ and I had something to say on the matter. It turned into a manifesto on what the poet called ‘Our America’ and I turned quite Bolivarian writing it.

    “I take my title from Mark Twain’s satirical piece ‘To the Person Sitting in Darkness’ which Nicky sent recently and which I reposted, having been quite struck by it. What I have to say is not about any one experience but about a whole lifetime dealing with Europeans and other subjects and former subjects of the Queen (yes, that Queen) about the fact that I am an American, of the U.S. variety. These people, it must be said, do not always realize that I am not only that — I have been that practically since the first boats hit the shore, and I and mine have had about four hundred years in which to think about what it means.”

    and this epilogue:

    “Forsooth, verily, I think I finally understand what people mean when they say I ‘do not seem American.’ I have always said they are merely operating with a stereotype but I think I see what they mean. That is, I think I feel what they mean, because I find myself in the position of trying to figure out how to communicate to Anglos, making allowances for their blind spots and weaknesses, and thinking of them as a them I do not really understand. I realize I am still one, too, but I also realize I do not understand them. This suggests I could become a stand-up comic telling stories about my encounters with my own race, the way Jewish and Black stand-up comics do.

    “The ability to do that without also saying one is no longer a member of the same race is not a typically ‘white’ attribute, because to be white typically implies an inability to see outside the contours of one’s identity — an identity one mistakes for the world. I refuse to say I am post-white because I am ornery and I refuse to make that white gesture of saying ‘oh, it wasn’t me, I was not aware of it.’

    “White people should watch out though because my vision is doubling like the vision of W.E.B. DuBois. I have three our four perspectives and several eyes. Some of these eyes are becoming as sharp as the eyes of those servants you fear, but I remain endowed as well with my own eyes.

    “This has been an exploratory piece. It is about nobody in particular and it is addressed to nobody in particular. Most importantly, nothing in it is to be construed as support for French as opposed to other colonialisms.”


    On Facebook, I put in the last line because I tagged my youngest brother in the post. He is a mixed Creole from Louisiana and a major promoter of Louisiana French. I disagree politically with his position and I also disagree with it from a scholarly point of view. However I have come to agree with him in the past 24 hours that there really is something about many of those Anglos.

    This post came about because one who has been misused by other white people for being a post African decided that, since I did not find their book perfect, it was because I could not understand it since I am “a Westerner.”

    I think that to bandy that term about as an insult is pretty poor, coming from one who feels so deeply about having been mistreated in the same way. I also think that if you’re white from one British colony and held a British passport, and then moved to a former British colony and hold a passport from there, and English is your language, and you are imbued with European philosophy, you do not get to go around announcing that you are an enlightened “non-Westerner.”

    I am also from the West Coast, where white people go to rest up and get enlightened. I am tired of listening people who to me seem like complete products of Western civilization suddenly decide they are shamans and things like that and are trying to teach about it. It’s fine if you’re working on it but REALLY … serious practitioners are not so vociferous, and the key is that they do not PREACH (now that, preaching, is quintessentially Western and Anglo and I should put it on the list of characteristics).

    I am interested in anything anyone can add to the list of specifically Anglo traits, because I am watching them so as to better learn how to deal with these barbarians.

  3. Hattie says:

    I’m an American too and have no problem with that. The notion that I would have some kind of identity problem on that score is laughable. Or that I need lectures on what America is about from people who don’t have the kind of kaleidoscopic
    perspective on this country that I do but view it through some kind of ideological keyhole. Like you, I’ve spent a lot of time and thought on what it means to be an American. Having a very mixed ancestry is part of that. Being culturally knowledgeable about a country that I have no ancestral ties to is another part of it. (Germany) Having moved a lot and lived in many places is part of it.
    I am terminally annoyed at people who 1) want to claim that they are better Americans that I am because they are such great patriots or 2) claim that I can’t possibly really understand things because I live in America and am protected from “reality.” I’d love to be protected from reality. Maybe I’ll go that route, considering the nature of reality today.

  4. Z says:

    So this is part of the conversation from Facebook that came on this.

    I’ve felt constrained by this east-west thing when speaking with you for years. It is why I’ve asked what you mean by “Western” — that’s why that remark was the proverbial drop of water. Certain ways of speaking also make sense to me, and others don’t, because of my historical background, which I have tended to put under some form of erasure with you because of your declared sensibilities. I have tried to undo that situation before but did not succeed. I’d much rather be able to speak as myself than as a Person Who Knows She Is Seen As “Western” and Limited, and Who Also Understands That Her Perception Of Her Interlocutor As Also Part Western, Although Hardly Evil Therefore, Will Be Seen As Cruel. I trust you can see what a double bind that is. I would prefer it be swept away.

    People of your historical background do have trouble with the term, “Western”, as they consider it to be a term of moral indictment, due to the history of struggles in the West during the 60s and onwards. People from Zimbabwe, however, hav…e a different understanding of the term. They consider it to refer to those Anglo-Saxon cultures of America, Britain and Australia.

    The problem is when the term is seen to have universal and moral implications (which is what I call “identity politics”), rather than being a cultural term of reference. Perhaps what is confusing is that I use the term primarily in a way that denotes culture, but sometimes in a way that denotes moral status? In any case, there probably is only minimal overlap between what the term means to me and what it means to you. I believe that if I were using the term primarily as a moral crucifix, then I would be using it in the same way as is most commonly used by people of your historical tradition.

    Anyway, I understand, in theory, why the term is so upsetting, but I also see that the way you understand the term in not the way in which I’m using it, usually.

    For the most part, I very much recoil from the association of fixed identities with moral statuses. I also resist the idea that I can’t use the term, “Western” — because of what it has come to connote to Westerners (culturally and historically speaking!!!)

    These two aspects of Western culture are precisely what I resist as being hobbling, limiting, and to some degree colonising of another culture’s mode of speaking.

    But, what I meant in your case was nothing to do with a moral critique of any sort. I was not morally criticising you. Just noticing the sense of your having a different historical background from mine. And mostly in terms of the stable social situation that is often mistakenly attributed to me, by many of your cultural background, when they do not see that I have also been “a minority”, a refugee (in certain senses) and that I have no home. It seems that there is a certain moral prohibition within Western culture against recognising that one who was a colonial and a white can actually not belong to Western culture as a whole, but can be very much discriminated against, within it.

    When you concluded that I must be a middle class Australian in the sense of having internalised such values, this was evidence of such denial of my actual reality. In fact, I have a stronger feeling of connection to the (blue collar) lower class of Australian society than I do to the middle class. But I am sure, from previous discussions, that you knew this already.

    So I eschew the idea that I am a Westerner because I have not found a place — at least not a very comfortable one — within Western society. It is clear that I don’t really belong here.

    The kinds of discussions that use a moral framework to insist that actually I do belong, and/or fit in perfectly, are actually further alienating, and confirm to me that whatever else I am, I am certainly not part of the mainstream culture.Mostra’n més…
    Fa 5 hores · M’agradaJa no m’agrada
    Aziz Krishna Salayanet
    OK, this is all good to know. I thought it was you-all that used it as a term of moral indictment and I did not understand this except in its association with conquest and colonization, Western imperialism, and so on. Earlier I had thought …you meant the Western philosophical tradition and was curious to know, from your point of view, what the most saliently “Western” features of it were.

    For me it is just a descriptive term, of a certain historical tradition. Like, “Is this painting part of the Western tradition or not?” “Well, yes, it follows certain European conventions; well no, it is from another tradition.” Western would be, to come from a place that has adopted the western civilization narrative, at least officially; using European languages, wearing Western clothes, eating at least some Western foods, studying Greek and Latin in school. Composing Western music, using Western architectural styles, claiming the Western rights.

    Because a lot of people have been denied rights in the American republics because of not Westernizing or not being considered qualified for Westernization. There are volumes to say about this issue. There are a whole other set of terms like “metropolitan” or “central” to mean centers of economic power worldwide, that are more common because they don’t have necessarily also refer to the Greco-Latin tradition and so on, and so they can be clearer.

    Anglo-Saxon, in Spanish or Portuguese, we’d call Anglo-Saxon, as it was called in English in the past, although in the US that has morphed to “white” as more people not specifically Anglo-Saxon started to join that culture at least to some extent. I don’t have as much intuitive understanding of Anglo-Saxon culture as I might, I realize daily, as I have never really lived in those parts of the country and wasn’t fully raised in it, although I have relatives who were. You and I have actually mused quite a lot on the question, “what are some of these people thinking, what are their presuppositions?” I think Calvinism is a big piece of it, though; that brings on a different world view than Catholicism does, for instance, although Catholicism is still a Western religion. But this “white” culture is the dominant US one although not really majority any more.

    So those are the things I think of in relation to the term — Greco-Latin, Western European; the question of how Western or not L. America and the Caribbean are, and on what day(s) is hard to answer, as one goes in and out of Westernness all day but it is Westernness which is in official power, e.g. the government, and capitalism seems to be Western and actually to inform modern Westernness.

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