Wednesday, February 28, 2007

It Takes a Nation of Millions to Ignore a Month-Long Celebration

Well, just a few more hours left in Black History Month, and we're sure things will kick into gear here just as soon as the town's black guy gets back (we think he's visiting his mom.)

For a country that sits so close to the Caribbean, it's amazing how non-black Mexico is. It wasn't always this way - thanks to the slave trade, the black population of Mexico vastly outnumbered the whites (that is, the Spanish) from the time of the Conquest all the way to about 1800. The first black man in Mexico was a slave who belonged to Cortes himself - the Aztecs, having never seen anything like him before, assumed he was a god. (They also assumed Cortes was a god, and probably his horses, too. It's hard to think of any people in human history who got boned harder by their own religious beliefs than the Aztecs.)

But after the Revolution and the end of slavery here, blacks intermarried with the Mexcians and, over the centuries, essentially "disappeared," like water soaked up by a sponge. About the only substantial commmunity of black Mexicans is in a place called Costa Chica, near Veracruz.

This might explain why the only black-oriented literature we were able to find at the bookstore was the latest issue of Memin Pinguin, Mexico's beloved national pickaninny (seriously...he's got his own postage stamp.) No one finds this even slightly inappropriate, which makes us think that ignoring black history here is probably for the best. Can you imagine what the parade would be like?

Here's MLK's "I Have a Dream" speech with Spanish subtitles.


Anonymous said...

I know about the slavery in Mexico, but also I know that even back then it was easier for the slaves to get their freedom than in other countries, and I also know that since befor mexican independence slavery was forbiden, and that it was never a taboo to get married with someone from other race, that when the right where written those do not exclude blacks or indigenous people to vote or to own property.

So actually the idea of racism that we actually now is from US TV and cinema, of all the unfair things before Martin Luter K. about the special bathrooms for whites and blacks, that blacks used to "HAVE to seat" on the back of the bus, that they where not treated as equals, that still today there are race tags on other countries, that there are Black neighborhoods, Black colleges, Black TV shows as there are white versions of this too, that still today is a Taboo in other countries to married someone of other race, and as today there was not a single black president in other countries.

While in Mexico we had black presidents, indian presidents and white. That we don't tag people officialy, our census count people, not races.

So racism take another face in Mexico, classism. If you are rich you get better treatment than the poor.

Anonymous said...

People in the US get so mortified by stupid stuff that they ignore the real problem.

To have a cartoon is not the problem in Mexico, that kind of racism is not the problem in mexico as you said they don't disapear, they where treated equal and not seeing as different, so they where able to married people from other race.

Your "minority" laws only reinforce the racism. Even that word is racist, so people that are not white are minus... less.

Burro Hall said...

Yes, Mexico is completely color-blind. Just ask any indigenous person.