The Dynamics of Color

by Marina Sata Khan

Christina A. Sue writes on the perceptions of Mexican people regarding skin color, making apparent the tones of racism under the surface of their “mestizaje” society.

In her interviews, many Mexicans responded that they would like a lighter skinned partner, finding “white” features to be attractive. Many expressed their want to have a fairer partner lying in the fact that they wanted their children to have lighter skin. The preference towards whiter skin was more than obvious.

I grew up in Australia, a so-called “multicultural” nation. I would say “race” probably does not play a role as big as it does in the United States, however, I would find it more than wrong to say racism does not exist in Australia. I think it could even be said that it has one of the most legally racist histories in the world, especially to the indigenous Aboriginals.

The Stolen Generation refers to the Aboriginal children who were removed from their families and placed in missionaries and foster families. The idea behind this was to eventually eliminate the Aboriginal people, by encouraging intercultural marriages. If a “half-caste” married a White, and so did the next generation, eventually there will be no full-blooded dark skinned Aboriginals (although they were believed to die out anyway due to the popular belief of Darwinism). We see today that many Aboriginal cultures and languages have disappeared, and the Aboriginal people still continue to be underprivileged despite the apology by Kevin Rudd (then Australian Prime Minister) in 2007 for such actions by the government.

Although in the case of Mexican society people are simply ‘preferring’ to marry whites, there seems to be something similar. If all Mexicans choose to marry lighter skinned partners, would darker skinned African descendant Mexicans eventually disappear? Is this right? Is this natural? Is this wrong? Or is it simply something that would never happen with absolutely no similarity with the Stolen Generation example?

I think this would be a very interesting topic to discuss and think about, as not only does it apply in Mexico, but in most parts of the world where the undertones of white supremacy still seem to play a large role in societies today.

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