Race wars are over space, and segregation of space, and the naturalization of this. The origin of all race thinking is land. Thence the liberal contradiction: one wants equal rights for all, but one also wants to concentrate wealth for capitalist development. This makes inequality necessary, which means dividing space unequally, which makes race necessary as a category. This is, I say, where the “raise, then elide” move on race in 19th century writing around race and nation, comes from. The authority of capitalist penetration and the rights of individuals and groups are in constant tension; this tension must be discursively resolved, pushed out of sight, but it remains present and actually structures events.
Castellanos is the storyteller of the ideological dissonance that gets churned up in the process of nationalization. And the relationship between race, nation, and the Indian as “problem” lies at the center of all this, but is still at the margins of theoretical discussion about Mexico.
This chapter has a long and interesting discussion of the development and contradictions of indigenismo and how it works, against its intentions, to create state racism. And Oficio de Tinieblas is the story of the race war without end. And the real struggle of the novel is not between indios and ladinos, but between Chiapas and the state.
ORDENANZAS MILITARES is what everyone sees at the end, and these are what are running the place, directing both indios and ladinos, all of Chiapas, into the state.
Note: there are many parts of this chapter I did not read, but only skimmed, and that I must go back to if I am to work well on this evoke-and-elide theory I have had for so long and need to work out.