Oct 30, 2009, 11:20 AM
Post #52 of 83
Chiapas is an anomaly within Mexico (Mayan, historically and culturally more Guatemala than Mexico, etc.) and is the exception to the rule -- which is not to deny that discrimination doesn't exist. There was in the Mayan region legal discrimination against Mayans until after the Revolution, and the "usos y costumbres" of 500 years are not going to disappear within a few generations.
Re: [Carron] Questions and Concerns about Foreigners in Mexico
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Consider the way some people North of the Border still are hung up on the fact that the country elected a non-white President, and even those who support the man find it remarkable. Considering Mexico has had Afro-Mexican and Indigenous (and part-indigenous) Presidents throughout it's history here one asks, "what took them so long?".
There has never been any taboo against what we call by the negative word,"miscegenation", and for which the Mexicans use the value-neutral term "mestiaje". To be considered "indigenous" after all is more a matter of lifestyle and language than bloodlines. As it is, "indigenous" is defined in the Constitution as an "ethno-linguistic" matter: in other words, if you stay home speaking Zapotec you're indigenous... if you move to the city, speak Spanish you probably aren't.
I got a negative lesson in this one afternoon on the Mexico City Metro when a blue-eyed, blonde drunk lost bowel control -- grossing everyone out -- and was called a "sucio indio" by a dark-skinned, roman-nosed, short and very proper Chilango. The point being that "indio" (not a term normally used in polite conversation except by the most reactionary of nacos) and stereotyped indigenous BEHAVIOR is what people object to. I think there's a reason beyond his political and historical importance that Benito Juarez is a central figure in Mexican thought.... born an "indian" he became Mexican.
Not to say that there is not color prejudice in Mexico or Latin America, but that WE -- coming from societies that made "race" central to our way of thinking about people -- see "race" where Latin Americans often see something else. Physical appearance does indicate family, of course, and -- much as north of the border one assumes brown skinned people are "foreigners" and black-skinned ones came from a less-wealthy background -- there is an assumption that the more dark skinned and short and "indian" one looks, the more likely one came from a rural, uneducated, family.
The alleged "white" control of the economy and politics is partially due just to the fact that people tend to find their life partners, and pass on their economic control (as well as their DNA) among their own social class. If anything, the Revolution led to an INCREASE in Europeans at the wealthy end of the social spectrum, having made Mexico a refuge for European capital and people in the 1930s and 40s. Look at their grandchildren, though, and they look and act pretty much like any other spoiled rich Mexican kid.
None of which says anything about foreigners bragging about "getting away with something" here. Not that I haven't used my "gringo pass" on occasion, and not that I haven't occasionally bought an officer of the law a refresco to simplify legal procedures, but it's not something I would take pride in, nor in any way would consider honorable behavior. And certainly not something I'd defend on the grounds that "everybody does it".