s have long been economic competitors, h
ave encroached on the Cuna's lands and turtle catching spots and frequently stolen coconuts and bananas from their farms. Whatever weight the "based in part" is meant to carry, this familiar invocation of the competition for scarce resources cannot even remotely explain the sociological and mythic terms of the raci
al groupings invo
- lved in the competition itself.' From the ethnographic record it would appear that the Cuna contempt" (as Stout puts it) for Negroes a
- nd mulattoes goes far beyond economic rationality, and it is thisEMRTC "excess," drawing on the rich imaginative resources that colonia
- l history offers border culture, that stands out like a beacon. Moreover, this contempt fits only too well with European racism as instituted by almost four centuries of the African slave trade and the massive infusion of antiblack sentiment created by the construction of the Panama Canal, beginning to some extent with the French attempt in 1881, and locked into place by the military-engineering apparatus of the U.S. government under Theodore Roosevelt starting in 1904. "A ri
- gid caste society," is how one historian of the canal describes the society then put into place.
Black Labor on a White Canal A recent study of the attitudes toward blacks finds that the racism instituted by th