A Nation Divided

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Racism is one of the most despicable evils that plagues this world. Every time that I think mankind has made progress against racism, it once again rears its ugly head. Whether it is an Indian child in a private school, an African business associate, a Jewish woman in the grocery store, or a Colla in Santa Cruz, Bolivia.

As I have discussed before, Bolivia is very divided both culturally and geographically. The indigenous population tends to live in the western highlands of the country and they are referred to as collas or cholos. The Bolivians that are of ancient Spanish descent and live in the eastern valley and Amazon basin are called cambas. Without going into too much detail, a very strong racism exists between the two cultural groups. It has caused political strife, economic issues, and even deaths.

The following photo is of an indigenous colla woman selling something on the side of the highway.

1 - A Nation Divided

She is wearing a traditional skirt, called a pollera, as well as a hat and long braids.

I do understand the racist sentiments between the two groups; and both have their share of faults. But I also recognize that both groups have great, positive strengths. I believe that Bolivia, as a country, will take leaps forward the day that they learn to appreciate and overcome the differences.

Can a country ever make progress if it is divided against itself?

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