Jun 21, 2010, 8:48 AM
Post #15 of 55
No doubt discrimination against indigenous people exists in several parts of Mexico and among some Mexicans throughout the country (and discrimination against non-indigenous by the indigenous), but is "race" -- as the term is used in English -- the factor? Since "race" has only a secondary (actualy seven-dary in the RAE) meaning in the sense of human blood-lines, it may be that it's just our category of understanding that makes us assume "race" is the factor on which discrimination is based. It may be -- and probably does -- have more to do with the historic tensions between modernity and traditionalism in this country. An "indigenous looking" person who speaks Spanish and dresses in store-bought clothing is treated much differently than a mostly-European looking campesino in homespun.
As a matter of interest, I always mention that one of the few times I've heard "indio" used as an epithet was by a brown-skinned, relatively short, wide nosed fellow absolutely outraged by the drunk who just shat upon himself in the Metro. The drunk being pale-skinned and blond. "Indio" -- in the sense of dirty and disgusting -- might be "racial" or might not be.
While Benito Juarez was "pure" Zapotec, he is hardly the first president of visibly minority lineage. Vicente Guerrero and Juan Alvarado were both blacks, and several have been visibly indigenous. Besides, what makes Juarez such a seminal figure in Mexican historical thought was not his Zapotec lineage, but the fact that he OVERCAME he presumed cultural backwardness of his heritage to become a modern Mexican.
The Mayan regions have been cultural different than Mexico forever... much of Chiapas was part of Guatemala which is not the same as Mexico by a long shot. The Mayans have been looked down on as inferior at least since the Aztecs rolled into town, and probably before... yes, that is "racial" in the same sense that the British are "racist" in their attitudes towards the Irish, but I don't think one can make a blanket statement that people are "anti-indigenous" when Nahuatl people also treat Mayans like dirt.
Since the Revolution was basically a Norteño affair, it's only logical that norteños -- who are more European than sureños -- have dominated the political and social environment. Especially with PAN administrations, PAN being a norteño party since its inception. You also have to figure in that much of the wealth in Mexico since the 1930s has come from European immigrants, and the rich tend to marry among themselves.
The "reverse discrimination" may be xenophobia or it may be classism, but "race" seems to have little to do with out.
This isn't to say that discrimination and bigotry don't exist, but that WE may be projecting our own culture's obsession with bloodlines onto the unfortunate tendency of human beings to act like dicks.