Mestizaje and skin color

by Jun Sakakibara

According to the reading, “mestijaze” is a racial concept and national ideology lies in Mexican society. Mexican people understand that Mexico is such a multi-race nation and since everybody is mixed race, there should be no discrimination against racial differences. They prefer to use the word of “color” than “race” when they describe other people.

The reading also brought the fact that it may not be a complete racism, however, at least a sort of preference towards lighter skin color exists in society. People want to be their offspring white, people think white people are more attractive, and some seeks whiter skin colored partner for marriage. Mexican women try to whiten themselves and being white could be a part of beauty for them.

I guess Japanese people also have same kind of preference towards white as Mexicans do. For instance, many Japanese women are addicted to get whiter skin (“bihaku”) and they put a lot of medical efforts to get it. Since in Japan there is only one race, even though we hold preference to whiter skin people, it never is a serious problem and it never is a source to judge people. While Japanese its tendency can be seen just as “preference”, I think Mexico’s case goes a bit further than that. There would be status exchange issue behind. The image of white people can be such as “good people”, “socially better status” or “wealthier”. As I mentioned above, if you are not white and if you have dark colored skin, you want to get married with whiter skin colored partner not only for you own benefit of getting higher social status but also for your offspring. In this sense, it goes over the preference.

The discussion point was whether Mexico should have affirmative action and change to white supremacy. The book of psychology, which I am reading these days said we create oneself by interacting with other people in society and we see ourselves as how others see us. Thus it is a normal thing that we always want to be better than others and we want to be seen better and higher by others. Also, in my opinion their preference is too strong but I do not think they do as much racists’ discriminations compared to US, for instance. So I am not sure if I agree to take affirmative actions in Mexico. In addition, it sounds such a contradiction that Mexicans say they are not racists at all and in reality they do things, which seem like a racist, though, can we say Japanese people are not racists at all? We think we are not racists either, but for example, none of us would be happy to marry with burakumin unless you are burakumin. Isn’t it same kind of discrimination as Mexicans do? In fact, Mexican people’s preference can be much more stronger than Japanese’. However, for me it seems that Japanese society has contradiction of national race concept as well. I feel if we say Mexico needs change, Japan needs change too. The difference is that In Japan, this kind of racial topic is a taboo to talk whereas in Mexico it could be an open topic to discuss. In this sense, I think Mexico has a bit more process towards race issue than Japan.

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One thought on “Mestizaje and skin color

  1. Hello, This an interesting article. I think in the case of “burakumin” it`s a “class” issue and so “classism” might be more accurate. Thank you for allowing comments. Keep up the good work.

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