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RACISM IN MEXICO: ENGRAINED SO DEEP, WE CHOOSE NOT TO SEE IT

 

Alejanda Aguirre

June 16, 2020

The relationship between Mexico and the United States has always been beyond trade, the economy, treaties, etc. The relationship between both countries is very wide due to the fact that they share many cultural aspects and depend on one another in several ways. After the murder of George Floyd, a black man, a huge conflict on racism in the United States was revived, unleashing protests, and raised the voice of citizens in order to fight for everyone's human rights. Mexican citizens, after learning about the abuse of power by the American police and the violation of black people's rights, showed compassion and support towards the neighboring community. But, haven´t Mexicans realized that the same thing happens in their own country?

According to the National Council to Prevent Discrimination, more than 50% of the Mexican population has declared that they have been or are victims of racism due to their skin color. The Mexican society and probably many others´ mentality is that racism is based around the black community, when in reality racism involves any community. In Mexico, denigrating words such as “indio”, “naco”, and even “negro” are used as adjectives to describe indigenous people or people with darker skin color for no reason other than their physical appearance or culture. These acts, which have already become common and habitual, have affected areas of work and opportunity for those discriminated against, as well as caused emotional disturbances.

"Instead of supporting a woman from their country for the great professional achievement she had, most citizens took it as an opportunity for ridicule and racism because of her appearance, skin color, and how unusual it is to see a woman like her in such a position."

"According to the National Council to Prevent Discrimination, more than 50% of the Mexican population has declared that they have been or are victims of racism due to their skin color."

After Mexican society´s support toward the Black Lives Matter movement, the actor Tenoch Huerta published a Tweet in which he asked Mexico to realize that racism also exists in its territory and that he, as part of the film industry, has been a victim of this. Through the same social network many public figures supported the actor's comment, while some others rejected it. On the other hand, Yalitza Aparicio is an indigenous, Mexican woman with dark complexion who was nominated for the Oscars 2019 for her participation in the film Roma. Many conflicting comments were unleashed after this by Mexicans themselves. Instead of supporting a woman from their country for the great professional achievement she had, most citizens took it as an opportunity for ridicule and racism because of her appearance, skin color, and how unusual it is to see a woman like her in such a position.

These type of acts of discrimination not only occur with public figures, but with ordinary people. The problem here is that their cases are not known because they are people who do not live under a spotlight. On May 4th, in Jalisco, Mexico, Giovani López, a bricklayer, was killed by police officers who arrested him for not wearing a face mask. Although it is the police force´s duty to report and arrest those who do not follow with the sanitation measures established by the government, they do not have the right to kill an innocent man. There is a good chance that if the man who did not wear a face mask was a great businessman, a man with much lighter complexion, he would not have been arrested, much less murdered. Mexico is full of the well-known “white privilege”, where all those with fair complexions are glorified and seen as good people while those with darker complexion are seen as poor, “nacos'', or criminals.

"Mexico is full of the well-known “white privilege”, where all those with fair complexions are glorified and seen as good people while those with darker complexion are seen as poor, “nacos'', or criminals."

"In order to put an end to the normality that racism has in our community, we must begin to focus on the attitudes and problems that are carried out between us every day and put ourselves in the place of others."

Since George Floyd´s death, the Mexican community showed solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement and the American society, without realizing that the same inequalities, abuse of power, and discrimination occur in their own country. After many individuals expressed their feelings not only about the current situation in the United States, but the situation in Mexico, many people began to come to their senses, changing their habits and giving much more importance to the circumstances in their country. This is why the case of Giovani López came to light, because people began to focus on the damage that many suffer in their country due to their origin, culture or appearance. Change begins in ourselves. Despite the fact that there have been dark-skinned presidents in the Mexican government, the idea that black and whites are equal has never been instilled. In school books, dolls, and even television shows, white people are always seen and if there is any person with dark skin, it is portrayed as bad or inferior. In order to put an end to the normality that racism has in our community, we must begin to focus on the attitudes and problems that are carried out between us every day and put ourselves in the place of others. We have to learn to defend what we believe in and what is fair and necessary, even though it is not a “trend”, because we are very used to raising our voice only when something becomes “popular”. We are all equal and we all deserve respect to our human rights. If you have the ability to raise your voice, do it for yourself and for all those who cannot.

 "We have to learn to defend what we believe in and what is fair and necessary, even though it is not a “trend”, because we are very used to raising our voice only when something becomes “popular”."