Updated: Oct 6, 2019
Indigenous people continue to be the butt of the joke, even with the success of a critically acclaimed Netflix movie.
By Monserrat Solis, Co-Editor-in-Chief
Academy Award nominee and Mexican Indigenous actress Yalitza Aparicio cannot escape the constant racism, surprisingly, coming from Mexican people.
Aparicio has received attention – both positive and negative, after starring in “Roma,” a Netflix film written and directed by Alfonso Cuaron. The film set in 1970s Mexico City follows two domestic workers; Aparicio plays one, Cleo. She bonds with the family she works for after the patriarch runs away with his mistress.
Aparicio is facing a lot of criticism in the Mexican media. Most are attacking her for the color of her skin, and it is ridiculous. Newsflash – there are people who look different than the standard light-skinned Latina bombshell. Racism within the Mexican culture is an issue that has been going on for years.
“Consequently, internalized racism remains one of the most neglected and misunderstood components of racism,” stated Sage Journals, an online journal.
This happens in many cultures; in this situation, the criticism comes from envy because Aparicio, a former pre-K teacher, has broken through in Hollywood.
The Mexican media has not greeted Aparicio with open arms. Many outlets use her name and image to gain attention, not in a positive way.
Television hosts and Mexican actresses have taken shots at Aparicio. Yessica Rosales, a presenter from Televisa’s show, La Parodia (spanish for parody show), was a part of a promo in ‘brownface,’ described as makeup used by white performer playing a South Asian, Latin American person. In the promos for the television show, Rosales, a light-skinned Latina, poked fun at Aparicio.
This is an example that confirms there is still internalized racism.
The show’s whole idea is parodying celebrities, but they could have simply gotten someone who looks like her instead of parading a lighter latina and putting a nose prosthetic on her.
Mexico.com, a digital and collaborative website, reported a story of Mexican actor Sergio Goyri who has starred in numerous Mexican soaps and made racist and rude remarks about the Academy award winner. In a video, Goyri called her “una pi---he india…” (translates to f---ing Indian) when talking about her various nominations.
Another example is a rumor started of a group chat between Mexican actresses who were organizing to keep Aparicio off Academia Mexicana de Artes y Ciencias Cinematograficas’ radar. The AMACC is the most prestigious award show in Mexico.
The rumor was confirmed by Mexican film director Maria Jose Cuevas on Twitter, after she was asked about it. “ Si. Confirmado por varios lados,” (translates to “yes, confirmed through various sides”) wrote Cuevas.
Racism does not always include a white person against a person of color. Sometimes it can be an issue within a culture. It can be extremely hurtful seeing as Mexico is one of the two largest countries in the Americas that is populated by Indigenous groups, according to CulturalSurvival.org.
MinorityRights.org reports the Indigenous population in Mexico is about 12.7 million people — that’s 13 percent of the national population, speaking 62 languages.
For the young boys and girls who do not see themselves on screens or magazines, Aparicio
is a beacon of light.
“Roma,” won three out of the seven Academy Awards it was nominated for and has been praised for showcasing how beautiful Mexico and its people are. With all the success, we should focus on the representation for Indigenous people not bash them.