April 19, 1998
by Jose Agustin Ortiz Pinchetti
During the last 100 years, the racism in Mexico has shown 3 characteristics: 1) it has slowed the process of modernization; 2) it has contributed to the dissolution of public consciousness 3) it has damaged the moral assets of the nation.
1. During the Porfiato nobody hindered the subsistence of the racial social structure, or the heritage of colonization, and Mexico was pledging to overcome these things by "whitening" itself. From here the government was trying to directly structure itself around the descendants of the European colonists.
Today racism still subsists in Mexico as it did during the beginning of the 20th century and before during the period of colonization, all the while hindering the modern growth of its populace. There are indications of growth such as the increase in literacy, the expansion of elemental education, electrification, the introduction of telephone services and the Internet, laser computers, radios, televisions, etc… Mexicans, however, not only live with discrepancies of incomes directly correlating with race, but also live with the rest of the inequalities that are linked to the caste system present here. The original criollo (direct Spanish descendants) structure still has a hegemonic position within Mexico.
Some have defended the status quo, talking of how the racial mobility of Mexico has dramatically increased during this century. But as soon as they have the opportunity to proclaim the implicit supremacy of the "white race" in the process of promoting the sales of products and services, they never hesitate to do so.
2. Our racism is not up for debate. There is no political official to denounce it, confront it, or overcome it, and of course, this in no way worries the elite. The classical studies of Vasconcelos, Ramos, and Molina Enriquez aren’t circulating. Santiago Ramirez makes a freudian interpretation and speaks of our inferiority complex in the face of Europe, without realizing that this inferiority complex exists independently amongst Mexicans as a result of the racism present here. The study about the correlation between income and race done by Jose Iturriaga was an important study that was never followed or expanded upon. Bonfil Batalla has a book, "Mexico Profundo" that takes a look at some of the race issues in Mexico, but it has only stimulated a little interest. The official position is not so much one based on support of the Mestizo, but one based on the continuation of criollo dominance. The presence of an increasingly angry indigenous consciousness has unfortunately not led to a greater level of consciousness for the dominant class.
3. The worst damage as a result of the racism present in Mexico is the psychological and cultural damage. Agustin Basave in Mexico Mestizo, describes the results of the imposition of culture on the identity and improvement of Mexico . He points to the contempt of the achievements of the national culture, and the embrace of western culture, particularly that of North America. He continues by indicating that this attitude is impeding Mexico from making the necessary synthesis away from our racism, and creating internal security for ourselves. This embrace of western culture, according to Basave, is also breaking our internal images, and generating unequal dualities, making it nearly impossible to create a true national project. In total the racism present in Mexico, along with the embrace of western culture is dividing and debilitating our nation.
It is very difficult to attack the racism inherent in Mexican culture when those that suffer from it, mainly mestizos, seen to be accomplices in the process of discrimination. But it is possible to go at the dissolution of racism from a different angle. Of great importance is to accept that we suffer from racism in this country as a result of the caste system. It is absolutely necessary that the government and intellectual side of Mexico promote the expansion of this consciousness. They should prohibit the use of commercials in Mexico that promote racial dominance, or at the very least modify what already exists. Also of importance is to change the informal education system, particularly that which offers access to different types of media, such as books, newspapers, radio and television. They should all be attempting to create a type of race consciousness that directly goes at the problem of racism in Mexico.
The decadence of the public education system is currently greatly contributing to the augmentation of racism throughout Mexico. In private universities, the criollo population is being educated and taught to control the media for the particular reason of maintaining their dominance. Vicente Fox recently declared that the slowly increasing access to education for all, is at the root of the continuation and spread of racist ideology. This t