The birth of Latin American identity with two professors Martinez





As he stood beside the ornate tomb in Seville's massive cathedral in southern Spain, Rubén Martínez didn't know whether to curse or bless the man whose bones lie there.

"It's kind of like that classic mestizo dilemma," Martínez said, using the traditional term denoting people of mixed European and indigenous American ancestry. "He's my dad. I'm a bastard kid. I hate him, I love him."...

Martínez and filmmaker Carl Byker dig deep into the origins of Latin American identity, and the societies it shaped, in "When Worlds Collide," a 90-minute documentary that will premiere at 9 p.m. Monday on PBS channels across the country, including KCET in Los Angeles....

USC associate professor of history María Elena Martínez (no relation to Rubén), who served as the documentary's principal academic consultant, said the filmmakers' use of mestizaje was a powerful leitmotif.

While she has cautioned in her writings that concepts of ethnic "mixing" can be as misleadingly dangerous as those of ethnic "purity," Martínez said that mestizaje can help expand cultural dialogue in the United States beyond the "binary black and white" ethnic terms that are "so dominant."...



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