In reply to a classmate, cite evidence from these readings or course laectures to discuss what broader opportunities were available to people identified with these castas. How could people make their way in a world whose formal policies seemed to work against them? Did this vary according to gender, for example?
Afrodescendant castas were negatively impacted by the sistema de castas because it amplified the exclusivity of colonial institutions towards them. This classification structure advanced the idea of purity policies, or policies that limited the ability of certain castas to be involved in particular institutions and activities. Some of the most common purity exclusions, referred to as “stains,” that affected Afrodescendants included descent from black and/or indigenous individuals or having an enslaved person as an ancestor (Martínez, 2008, 244). Examples of institutions that would institute these policies included but were not limited to local administrations as well as educational and ecclesiastical organizations (Martínez, 2008, 244). In addition, if excluded from institutions such as guilds, the economic opportunities for Afrodescendants would be further limited. To illustrate, before the 18th century, opportunities to work as an artisan were more restricted due to the process of guild membership and its regulations (Vinson III, 2009, 111). Overall, Afrodescendants lost out in the sistema de castas because it reinforced restraints for Afrodescedant engagement in social, political, and economic organizations.