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More Life in the Skeleton

More Life in the Skeleton

Caballero and the Teleology of Race

(p.120) 4 More Life in the Skeleton
Chicano Nations
Marissa K. López
NYU Press

This chapter focuses on the difference between the lived experience of race and the political expediency of racial abstraction. It begins by analyzing two different artistic renderings of a skeleton present in Jovita González and Eve Raleigh's novel Caballero. The artistic differences described by the narrators articulate the significance of race, a project taken up also by José Vasconcelos in his essay “La razacósmica” (1925). Vasconcelos is concerned with the future possibility of race; he sees mestizaje (racial mixing) as the key to human improvement and is not concerned with what it means to actually live as amestizo. Like “La razacósmica,” Caballero, is mostly read as making elitist and assimilationist arguments about race and nation because it critiques Mexican nationalism and does not reflect an easily oppositional Chicana/o politics. The chapter reads Caballero in the context of Vasconcelos' essay in order to highlight both texts' internationalist arguments.

Keywords:   Caballero, La razacósmica, José Vasconcelos, race, lived experience, racial abstraction, Mexican nationalism, Chicana/o politics

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