I know some folks may not care about the topic because of whatever issues they have with Mexicans but I thought it was interesting read and me being me, I enjoy reading about different cultures in general.
MEXICO CITY — Flip
through the print publications exalting the activities of Mexico’s high
society and there’s one thing you rarely find: dark-skinned people.
No matter that nearly two-thirds of Mexicans consider themselves moreno, the Spanish word for dark.
has strong laws barring discrimination based on skin color or
ethnicity, but the practices of public relations firms and news media
lag behind, promoting the perception that light skin is desirable and
dark skin unappealing.
The issue came to the fore this month when a casting call for a
television spot for Mexico’s largest airline stated flatly that it
wanted “no one dark,” sparking outrage on social media and, ultimately,
“I’d never seen anything that aggressive
and that clear, all in capital letters: ‘NO ONE DARK,’” said Tamara de
Anda, a magazine editor. “I decided to go with it.”
elicited apologies both from Aeromexico and from the Catatonia public
relations firm, which blamed a modeling agency that issued the casting
“We offer a heartfelt apology and reiterate our
respect for all people without regard to gender, language, religion or
skin color,” Aeromexico said on its official Twitter account.
Anda wrote up her feelings on her popular blog, Crisis of the 30s,
saying the incident was part of a far larger phenomenon of
marginalization of a majority of the population.
swallowing Mexican advertising for 30 years of my life, 11,000 days,”
she wrote. Apart from government pronouncements and “folkloric” tourism
campaigns, she said, it’s as if “dark-skinned people don’t exist.”
might seem like a harsh judgment. After all, Mexican tourism campaigns
promote the nation’s multicultural heritage and its heritage as a home
of the Aztec and Mayan empires. The nation of 118 million people
includes 15.7 million who consider themselves indigenous. Moreover, an
estimated 450,000 Afro-Mexicans live mostly along the coasts.
amended Mexico’s constitution in 2001 to bar all forms of
discrimination and set up the National Council to Prevent
Discrimination. Twenty-two of Mexico’s 32 states (including the federal
district) now have anti-discrimination laws on the books. The nation has
signed more than two dozen international treaties and conventions
banning unfair treatment.
But the distance between legalities and
practice is substantial, said Mario Arriagada Cuadriello, a doctoral
candidate in comparative politics at the London School of Economics. He
is an editor at Nexos, a leading cultural and political magazine.
Arriagada published an article in this month’s issue about widespread
discrimination in Mexico, he received a flurry of responses.
wrote to say that if you are light-skinned, you get better treatment in
restaurants,” he said. One person told him that in an exclusive area of
the capital, residents ask that their dark-skinned domestic servants
not walk in the common gardens “because it is anti-aesthetic and makes
the areas ugly.”
One of Mexico’s most prominent intellectuals from
the early 20th century, Jose Vasconcelos, held up the mestizo, or
person of mixed Indian and European blood, as part of a superior “cosmic
race” with greater spiritual values.
Following the Mexican
Revolution that began in 1910, the government embraced the mestizo as an
ideal. Images of dark-skinned Mexicans appeared on items such as
lottery tickets. By midcentury, in an apparent effort to win over the
upper class, the then-ruling Institutional Revolutionary Party adopted
images of more European-looking Mexicans wearing Indian clothing. People
of all color filled the Congress, and still do.
At the end of the
century, Mexico had accepted global norms against discrimination. But
kiosks sagged with society magazines, such as Caras, Central and Clase,
published by some of the nation’s biggest tycoons and celebrating the
light-skinned moneyed classes, a distinct minority.
Mexicans rarely appear in media and are treated as a class apart,
although the discrimination is closely tied to economic conditions.
Indian is only accepted if he is decorative, wearing his traditional
costume. But not in jeans and a jacket because then (the perception is
that) he’ll rob you,” de Anda said.
On playgrounds and sidewalks, a fighting insult is to describe someone in racial terms as a dark indigenous person.
to a 2010 government survey on discrimination, only 13 percent of
Mexicans considered themselves light-skinned or blonde while 64.6
percent said they were “dark.” The rest described themselves as anywhere
from “cinnamon,” “swarthy,” “chocolate,” “brown,” “yellow,” “a little
tanned” to “black.”
Arriagada flipped through a copy of Clase, a
magazine-style supplement to the El Universal newspaper that gives photo
spreads to prominent families during their beach holidays, at weddings
or celebrating social events.
“Look,” he said of those portrayed in its pages, “it’s like Norway.”
his Nexos article, Arriagada counted the photos of light- and
dark-skinned people appearing in publications. In a May edition of Club,
a social supplement to the Reforma newspaper, he tallied 529
light-skinned people and 11 with darker skin. In a March issue of Caras,
published by the Televisa conglomerate, he found 340 light-skinned
people and four who were darker.
Even foreign media conglomerates
adhere to the pattern, he said. He pointed to Quien, a women’s jet set
and celebrity magazine published by Grupo Expansion, a subsidiary of
Time Inc., part of Time Warner Inc.
“It’s a white people’s magazine,” Arriagada said, “in a nation that is not white.”
the company’s website, Quien is pitched as a magazine aimed at the
Mexican woman who is “a trendsetter and opinion leader among her social
A spokeswoman for Grupo Expansion, Maria Fernanda Evia
Portillo, said in an email that the magazine has made efforts for “the
inclusion of different groups: gay community, activists, politicians,
and successful and influential people in Mexico.”
In addition to
articles about a Mormon activist, a Roman Catholic priest to migrants
and a poet who lost a son to hired gunmen, Evia sent a copy of a 2011
article on textiles made by the Otomi ethnicity and another on an
indigenous woman who has entered politics in the state of Oaxaca.
Advocates for greater equality say videos of abusive behavior posted on the Internet have helped spark an outcry.
video went viral last month that showed municipal inspectors in
Villahermosa forcing an indigenous boy to dump candies he was selling
from a basket onto the ground, and then taking three packs of cigarettes
from him. The Tabasco state governor pledged to give the Tzotzil boy a
scholarship, and first lady Angelica Rivera also pledged assistance.
week, a 31-second video of two city inspectors in Cancun harassing an
indigenous woman selling trinkets in the resort’s hotel zone led to
“The capacity for social indignation and
complaints to the authorities are much faster now,” said Hilda Tellez
Lino, the deputy director of complaints at the National Council to
Prevent Discrimination. “A lot of these cases were just ignored in the