Whiteness on the Boarder: Mapping the U.S. Racial Imagination in Brown and White (2016)

…notes from an Identity and Conflict Analysis class

In the scholarly accounts of The Genealogy of the Mexican Other found in Lee Bebout’s 2016 text Whiteness on the Boarder, what I find most intriguing is that the identity of the Mexican Other is largely made with “depictions of Mexican-descent people [as images] within specific historical moments and thus [it] implicitly reinforces an emphasis on change over time” (Kindle location 982 of 6139).  I understand that boarders between nations to have become little more than imaginary lines in the ground drawn with fiat monies, lawful value by unlawful representation.  This schism in the human psyche creates a false and unnecessary sense of competition between peoples.  Economic competition is then radicalized and sensationalized with Hollywood images such as the typical Mexican, of whom writing like de’ Leon script as thematically indolent, morally defective, un-American, and savagely violent” (Kindle location 1032 of 6139).
Shelly Streetby, as the book proclaims, later links those Hollywood images however to the U.S. expansion and political propaganda that influences in and beyond the American people.  According to Bebout, Streetby readings alongside the like of Nericco, confirm my suspicions suggesting the all-too-common sense tropes can be expanded upon in every-which-way imaginable as they are resituated beyond the visual.  They become, as Bebout suggests, “deployments of a vast symbolic reservoir” (Kindle location 994 of 6139).
This symbolism puts, at least in my view, the oppressors of the Mexican Other at the center of the studies while the Mexican people are seemingly marginalized.  I say this because these studies do what they can to identify the source through which the image of the Mexican Other is viewed, which is, in these cases, almost exclusively the non-Mexican, especially Anglos and white persons.
Some questions that I believe these studies leave me, for example, are how far back in history do the implications of prejudice verses favoritism go?  It seems they are largely centered only around the Mexican-American boarder when the Spanish conquistadors have a just as large if not larger an influence on the identity of the Mexican Other as does their relationship to the white community.  According to Sarah Horton in a work published with The Public Historian entitled Where is the “Mexican” in “New Mexican”? Enacting History, Enacting Dominance in the Santa Fe Fiesta, (2001, p. 41), “there appears to be no consensus among public officials or historians on how to best commemorate the history of the Spanish empire,” as is the case even in communities that were known for having a particularly Spanish legacy.
The discourse on the Mexican Other has largely underwritten Anglo actions as well as being somewhat biased in making its contrasts.  I can see how this makes it more challenging to bring the studies together for a clear comparison unless we were to throw out the concept of “the Other” altogether in sort of an anti-racialized, cross-cultural analysis.  Such an analysis would be more honest foundationally as economic and climatic conditions will highlight the cultural conditions more equally.

Chapter 2 of Bebout’s book Whiteness on the Boarder: Mapping the U.S. Racial Imagination in Brown-and White (2016) reveals very significant historical accounts of what happens when cultures collide.  These moments in time, as this class’ professor Angel mentions, form “a basis for collective experiences to become what they are and how they wish to continue to be.”  If, in the U.S. imagination, all weapons and biases thrown down, “unassimilability” (Bebout, 2016, Kindle location 1611 of 6139) of ‘so-called’ non-American identities should no longer be necessarily un-American as they are called.  The tropes have been fading in terms of severity.  However, the clash comes when the fear and paranoia about colonial history repeating into some endless, downward spiral of Mexican governmental aggression and “radical Latino” (Ibid.) politics.  However, sometimes, there have literally been tunnels dug to override what I will call legal propaganda spoken in coded languages.  I point out here that lawful and legal are not the same things but respectfully, express verses implied connotations.  This is where the written word facilitates the exchanges in very particular ways.
In textual-accounts, in general it is legalism that any name or phrase spelled in ALL-CAPITAL-LETTERS is considered yelling and is somehow improper.  However, patterns can show us how any incorporated entity into capitalism will usually spell its’ name like so and will spell living-peoples’ names all it caps too, assuming they are or want to enter into contract.  It is a subtle in acceptability and a revealing example of how territorial rights and property laws have been morphed into some neo-genesis of artificial intelligence, so everything that is not black and white becomes a shade of grey.
The language differences in sensuality might also be an indignation to those considered to be “Others.”  The language of love and kindness is a universal sign of honor and appreciation.  This is echoed by characters like the Latin lover like Don Juan DeMarco but paralleled in Anglo-cultures by the likes of the skunk, Pepe Le Pew from Warner Brothers.
Etymologically, English is a sharp and perhaps broken mixture of all previous languages.  It is much more seductive and cunning in elusiveness.  The Anglo supremacists have certainly, even today, profited more off of their neighbors, again due to inherited, semi-hedonistic conditioning.
The multi-media conglomerates that began with word of mouth was recorded, and this is what now fashions the mainstreams of conscious awareness.  Critical to erasing dissonance as collective responsibility is awakened is the media, I suggest, to make the color-blindness of white-saviorism more apparent.  White is a however symbol of purity, and such a weaving together of cultural conditions presented in this chapter is difficult to respond to with anything other than awe and wonder, given to an intentionally pro-unity symbol.


Bebout, L. (2016).  Whiteness on the Boarder:  Mapping the U.S. Racial Immagination in Brown and White New York University Press.  New York.

Horton, S. (2001). Where is the “Mexican” in “New Mexican”? Enacting History, Enacting Dominance in the Santa Fe Fiesta. The Public Historian, 23(4), 41-54. doi:10.1525/tph.2001.23.4.41

effects of immigration capital

Photo Credit: Antioch University Connnected


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