Saturday, August 17, 2013

Race in Mexico

For many years, the Mexican government proclaimed that the country was color-blind, unaffected by the problems of race commonly seen in the United States. The Mexican revolution, after all, empowered both mestizos and indios.

Yet sometimes the racism is open. A Mexican blogger posted a picture of a casting call for Aeroméxico, which explicitly said "no dark-skinned people." When called on it--via the power of Twitter--the company apologized for offending anyone, assuredly just figuring they would weed out the dark-skinned people on the spot rather than get them to self-select out prior.

In the article, Julio Ricardo Varela writes:

This whole story is the perfect example of the bigger issue: how light skin will always be better than dark skin when it comes to advertising and mass media. @plauqeta’s tweet has re-opened the dialogue as to why such an embedded cultural and social construct continues to exist in Latin America, as well as in U.S. Latino communities.

Whites comprise only about 9% of the population, but dominate media images. Viva la revolución!


Anonymous,  9:38 AM  

"Yet sometimes the racism is open." C'mon, Greg. It is there everyday and always has been. Mexico and most Latin American countries inherited a logic of caste based on skin color from Spanish colonial society. Mexico's predominant system of racial hierarchy does not conform to the US one because it is not binary and includes many gradations of mestizo. It has a deep foundation in economic relationships. So to repeat the self-deception of Mexican elites as if it is making an appearance "now" in a media story is trivializing. The Mexican culture has numerous unifying stories that emerge from cultural nationalism, but the social reality has always been rather at odds with the supposed aspirations.

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