Tue, 07/20/2010 - 03:48
Mexico is indeed a racist country
A little more then a week ago, I came across an article titled “Racism in Mexico rears its ugly head” written by Tracy Wilkinson, journalist from Los Angeles Times. Mrs. Wilkinson opens her article using Televisa’s morning coverage of the World Cup “Primero Mundial” as an example of Mexican racism. She considers racist, the fact that behind, where the co-hosts are sitting and chatting, a group of “actors in blackface makeup, dressed in fake animal skins and wild "Afro" wigs, gyrate, wave spears and pretend to represent a cartoonish version of South Africa”. The TV network, according to the article, considers it as a “harmless spoof ”. Is clear that humor and stereotypes could be a double-edged sword, so the question is, to what extent these exceed the boundaries of racism?
Footage of Televisa's World Cup coverage morning show
Despite this, overall the article gives some truth about this social aspect that many here don’t want to accept that exists in this multicultural country. Mrs. Wilkinson pointed out a big truth, that the indigenous communities, which represents 10% of the national population, are the primarily target of racisms attacks. Back in May, the website of the Mexican newspaper “El Universal” published a series of photographs, where it shows two indigenous women, being watch in a derogatory way, while they were walking around in a shopping mall located in Polanco, an exclusive district in Mexico City. Is not clear if the newspaper took these photos red-handed or it was all planned to see the reactions of everyone there. Whichever way the photos were obtained, this caused a huge reaction on the micro-blogging site Twitter, expressing their outrage. The truth is that, many here use the term “indio” (Indian) as a pejorative term to insult.
What is unacceptable is that the police sees the indigenous people as an easy target to committee abuses and falsely incriminate them, especially indigenous women, due to their vulnerability and the fact that many of them don’t speak Spanish. The most recent case was that of the three indigenous women accused of kidnapping six agents of the former Federal Agency of Investigation (AFI). After four years behind bars, they were set free a couple of weeks ago, due to lack of evidence.
What the article doesn’t mention, is that racism in this country also goes hand in hand with social status. Is very common that people of high income refers to the working class and of low income, as “naco”, which is a pejorative term. In the 2002 Mexican film, “Amar te Duele” (Loving you hurts), gives an insight of this social problem among the youth.
The plot of the film is basically the Mexican Romeo and Juliet version. Two teens, from two different social classes falls in love, but their relation is not approved among their family and friends, and they will do anything to keep them apart.
Amarte Duele (Loving you hurts) TV Trailer
Another aspect of racism in this country is seen daily in the Mexican television, specially in the soap operas, commonly known in Latin America as “Telenovelas”. Most of the actors that have brown skin and indigenous appearance will normally play the roles such as: maids, thieves, indigenous, indigent and pauper. The Mexican actress, Maya Zapata, during an interview with U.S entertainment media, while promoting her latest film “Casi Divas” (Almost Diva) in that country, stated that Mexican soap operas discriminates, actors and actresses for their skin color.
Maya Zapata interview statement (English)
Is curious, while everyone here expressed their outrage with the Arizona immigration law, here we mistreats our own people and the Central American illegal immigrants, that crosses the southern border of Mexico with their only goal, to reach the northern border. Is Mexico a hypocrite country as well?
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