Gender is a lens through which slavery can be studied and understood. Cuba’s slavery system was gendered in a way that some duties were performed only by male slaves, some only by female slaves. Female slaves in the city of Havana, from the sixteenth century onwards, performed duties such as operating the town taverns, eating houses, and lodges, as well as being laundresses and domestic laborers and servants. Female slaves also served as the town prostitutes. (General History of the Caribbean, Vol III, p. 141).
Some Cuban women could gain freedom by having children with white men. As in other Latin cultures, there were looser borders with the mulatto or mixed-race population. Sometimes men who took slaves as wives or concubines freed both them and their children. As in New Orleans and Saint-Domingue, mulattos began to be classified as a third group between the European colonists and African slaves. Freedmen, generally of mixed race, came to represent 20% of the total Cuban population and 41% of the non-white Cuban population (General History of the Caribbean, Vol III, pp. 144–5).
I see MANY indigenous people, most of who are unaware/disconnected from their true identity, claim to be “MESTIZO”, and they do so believing this terminology is somehow a term that respectfully & accurately describes indigenous people who happen to be “mixed” (even if they aren’t) with Spanish-blood. And i guess in today’s age “mestizo” just means someone who is European/native mix, so people don’t really see it as a degrading term.
But the ORIGIN of the word “Mestizo” (and Mulatto) are both created out of racism. When Europeans, specifically Spaniards raped indigenous women, and the women gave birth, the Spaniards did NOT view the child as his son/daughter, nor as a human, but rather half Spaniard, and then half dog, since Spaniards did NOT view indigenous people as humans, but as dogs who were cursed by their Christian “god”, which is why they labeled the “mixed” children “Mestizo/Mulatto”, not just because Europeans viewed indigenous people as less than humans, but also with the intention to detach the indigenous people from their true identity, and then tricking them into adopting a racist-terminology that would further disconnect and/or ethnically cleanse indigenous people, and have them claiming an identity that NOT only detached them from their origin, but is also a term born out of hatred against indigenous people. Mestizo is NOT an ethnicity, nor a race, nor anything at all, so claiming it means to claim to be NOTHING; “I am a NOTHING”, and/or claiming to be what the Spaniards saw in you: A half-breed dog; not human enough to be looked and/or treated like a human, which is why the “half-breed dog” was either enslaved by the Spanish father or sold to other European slavers, and afterwards killing the indigenous mother.
Mulato, pobre, orfão na adolescência, autodidacta, Machado de Assis aos 25 anos já era jornalista, poeta, crítico literário, autor dramático e personalidade a ter em conta nos meios intelectuais do Rio de Janeiro.