In October the L.A. Times ran a piece, by Mexico City-based correspondent Kate Linthicum, reporting the shocking news that Mexico is a racially stratified country. What a shocker!
To many American readers this may indeed be a new concept.
But VDARE.COM readers have known about this for years. We’ve run a number of articles on the topic.
Mexico is a racially stratified society. The higher one goes up the socioeconomic ladder, the whiter are the Mexicans. The lower one goes, the darker-skinned they are.
Many Mexicans have denied this. But it’s being discussed more now, even in Mexico.
Here’s the article: Mexico’s new racial reckoning: A movement protests colorism and white privilege, by Kate Linthicum, Los Angeles Times, October 20, 2022.
For the vast stretch of Mexico’s modern history, many denied that racism existed in the country at all.— Los Angeles Times (@latimes) October 20, 2022
But a growing social movement is challenging that thinking, bringing discussions of discrimination based on skin color to the fore. https://t.co/IDrcTU5OVK
It begins with the story of a steakhouse in Mexico City:
A few months ago, several employees of an upscale Mexico City steakhouse came forward with a damning allegation: The restaurant had a policy of segregation in which the best tables were reserved for the customers with the lightest skin.
The notion of whiter Mexicans getting preferential treatment was not surprising in a country where darker-skinned people have long earned less money, received less schooling and been all but invisible in the media. But the ensuing public outrage was.
Within days, activists mounted a boycott and the city launched an investigation into the restaurant, Sonora Grill Prime, which denied the accusations. Multiple public figures highlighted the scandal as evidence of pervasive bigotry. “Racism is real,” Mayor Claudia Sheinbaum told reporters, using a word long regarded as taboo. “We have to accept that it exists and fight it.”
Once again, faithful readers of VDARE.COM have known this for years.
For the vast stretch of Mexico’s modern history, many denied that racism existed here at all.
They embraced the nation’s foundational myth that its people are mestizos, a single blended race of indigenous and Spanish blood, insisting that there could be no prejudice if all Mexicans were the same.
But a growing social movement is challenging that thinking, thrusting discussions of discrimination based on skin color to the fore.
Activists have pushed for more diversity in the film and television industry and have launched campaigns to end profiling by police.
Using Twitter and TikTok, they’ve called out companies and celebrities for discrimination and have popularized a new term—whitexican, a mix of the words white and Mexican—to refer to the nation’s wealthy, light-skinned elite.
The article even mentions the recent Los Angeles hullabaloo over what some Latinos on the Los Angeles City Council said when they didn’t know they were being recorded.
In recent days, activists here have watched a scandal unfold in Los Angeles that feels remarkably close to home.
When three Latino members of the Los Angeles City Council were caught on tape deriding Indigenous Mexicans as short, dark-skinned and ugly, “it didn’t surprise me at all,” said José Antonio Aguilar, the founder of the group Racismo MX.
“Of course the racism we experience here is exported to immigrant communities in the United States,” he said.
Ahem, let me quote myself from a 2018 article: ”And don’t imagine for a minute that importing more Mexicans is going to improve our already-existing homegrown racial problems. It’s just going to exacerbate them.”
The L.A. Times article mentions this incident:
The scandal reminded him of a secret recording that came to light in 2015, in which the head of Mexico’s electoral institute was captured impersonating the leader of an Indigenous group. The official kept his job, but in recent months student activists resurfaced the recording to protest his appearance at a university event.
Guess what? I had a 2015 article about that incident. Click here.
Mexico’s new racial reckoning has met resistance from parts of society, with some of the country’s top media personalities accusing activists of importing radical ideologies from the United States and seeking to divide the nation along racial lines.
“They’re just looking to tear us apart,” a light-skinned anchor with the news channel ADN 40 said this week during a roundtable about diversity in the media.
“How can they talk about not discriminating when that’s what they’re doing?” a guest responded. “There are redheaded Mexicans. There are whites. Now they won’t let them be in movies because they don’t represent Mexico? To me, that’s discrimination.”
The activists have to convince some Mexicans that there even is a problem.
Much of the work for activists has been focused on a basic first step: getting their compatriots to recognize that Mexico is a country with racial differences—even if it lacks the more rigid racial categories of a place like the United States.
Here’s some history:
The Spanish conquest of the New World five centuries ago established a caste system in which social standing was largely determined by a person’s racial mix. At the top of the ladder were people of European descent, followed by those of mixed colonial and Indigenous heritage. At the bottom were Indigenous people, followed by Black slaves.
After the Mexican Revolution, a bloody seven-year struggle that ended in 1917, the leaders of the new republic pushed an ideology that they hoped would unify a fractured nation.
At its core was the figure of the mestizo—a concept that would be embraced across Latin America.
Jose Vasconcelos, who championed the concept as Mexico’s first education minister, described it in 1925 as a “cosmic race” of the future, with all the “virtues of Indians and Europeans” alike.
Actually no. Vasconcelos did promote the emergence of a mixed ”cosmic race,” but it was one in which the European element was to predominate. By the way, Vasconcelos was a Nazi sympathizer. And not like Kanye West 80 years later. Vasconcelos was a Nazi sympathizer during World War II.
Mexicans were taught that they lived in a post-racial society. In 1994, the country’s representative to the United Nations Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination acknowledged that classism and sexism were prevalent but insisted that “the phenomenon of racial discrimination” did not exist in Mexico.
That’s a typical argument—that Mexico has class discrimination but not racial discrimination. That sounds logical until you realize that Mexican social classes are race-based!
In recent years, academics developed a new research method. Before asking about a person’s life, they categorize the respondent’s skin tone on an 11-point color scale that ranges from darkest to lightest.
I had a 2017 article that discussed that ”11-point color scale.” See here.
A 2017 study published by the Latin American Public Opinion Project at Vanderbilt University found that people with the whitest skin had completed 11 years of schooling on average compared with five years for those with browner skin.
Wealth also correlated to skin color, with dark-skinned people earning 52% less than their whiter compatriots.
I had an article about that too. Click here.
Not that any of this was much of a surprise in a country where the word “Indian” is routinely used to describe someone who is lazy and where grandparents cajole young people to find a light-skinned partner “to improve the race.”
Within families and friend groups, the lightest-colored person is often nicknamed guerito, or “little white one,” and the darkest negrito, or “little Black one.” Depending on the tone and context, the words can be insults or terms of endearment.
In films and on television, darker-skinned actors are often relegated to roles as housekeepers and criminals. A casting call for an Aeromexico advertisement in 2013 said “dark-skinned” people need not apply.
Racial inequality is just as visible in many homes, where women employed to cook, clean and nanny are often dark-skinned or Indigenous. It’s not uncommon for apartment buildings to bar such laborers from public areas, or for elevators to be designated specifically for the help.
The article discusses Afro-Mexicans.
Afro-Mexicans, who claimed their very existence had been erased by mestizo ideology, pushed the Mexican government to include a Black ancestry question on the national census for the first time in two centuries in 2020. It found that about 2.5 million of Mexico’s 127 million people identify as Black.
Hey, I had a 2017 article mentioning Afro-Mexicans. Click here.
At this year’s annual Independence Day celebration, in which the president traditionally shouts “Long live Mexico” before a screaming crowd, [President] López Obrador added a new phrase: “Death to racism!”
Another turning point came with the 2018 Oscar-winning film “Roma,” which starred Yalitza Aparicio, a Oaxacan who became a lightning rod for discussions about race.
I had an article about that too. Click here.
You get the message. We’ve been on this longer than the L.A. Times has.
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Allow me to close with this quote from one of my articles from 2018: ”Mexico has its own history and its own issues to deal with. The next time Mexicans lecture us on racial issues, we should tell them to take a hike.”