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Race-Class-Gender Ideology in Guatemala: Modern and Anti-Modern Forms

  • Carol A. Smith (a1)

More often than not, women bear the burden of displaying the identifying symbols of their ethnic identity to the outside world, whether these be items of dress, aspects of language, or distinctive behavior. Men of the same ethnic group, especially when filling lower-order positions in the local division of labor, usually appear indistinguishable from men of a different ethnicity but in similar class positions. Thus in Guatemala, for example, one readily identifies a Maya Indian woman by her distinctive and colorful dress, her tendency to speak only the local dialect of a Maya language, and her modest demeanor when in public settings, especially those involving non-Maya. Most Maya men, in contrast, are not so easily distinguished from non-Maya (that is, Ladino) men of equivalent class in Guatemala.

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