Being Black In Mexico…How To Rise Above It’s Racism
October 9, 2019
I have been dreading writing this blog today but I feel it’s important to get this perspective out there. All I can do each and every week on Metal Mouth Style is be honest about my current personal life & style experiences. I think this should also include a personal experience that may be teachable moment. Being A Black Woman In Mexico is more so for those who are not black to understand the subtle nuances that occur when your perceived as “less valuable” based on your race. I will never fully understand what it is like to be white and you will never understand fully what it is like to be black. However, we can learn from each other here and try to understand each others perspectives. Understanding leads to empathy and empathy leads to kindness but you cannot have one without the other. So let us try to understand today and see what that leads to.
Today we will also include:
1. Realistic Tiny Bags
2. 3 Ways to Rise Above Racism
3. My top 3 street shop deals of the week
California & I in Tijuana Sunday 10/7/2019
I have lived in Mexico for 2 years now in the state of Baja California Norte. I’m in a beach community known as Playas De Tijuana. For the most part people keep to themselves here. It’s fairly quiet in comparison to the madness of the city center of Tijuana. Divided by a Valley and 15 minute highway drive from the downtown core there’s less day to day crime here (although this area is not immune to it so always proceed with caution). The rent is much cheaper in comparison to those living in the U.S.A or Canada (about 50% less). Yet the proximity to the border is fabulous if you hate to fly and love to travel (Uber from Playas de Tijuana to San Ysidro Border Crossing into San Diego is 15 minutes total).
These are all reasons I live here and all the reasons you will find others tout this place as a great place to live outside of the U.S.A despite the insanely high murder rate due daily Narco wars. It’s why I still choose to live here despite the drug war and femicides. Believe me, I’ve had my fucking moments in this place but I haven’t let it get the best of me. Instead of letting it get the best of me I’ve let it make me wiser and inherently stronger. I see this place as the ultimate education of what not to do/how not to act in life right now.
Playas De Tijuana
What people won’t tell you is that Tijuana just like the vast majority of Mexico is a highly racist place to live. Whether you experience it personally or you are aware enough to notice that you almost never see darker skinned Mexicans (Afro Latinos/Mexican Indian Descendants) on TV or in Ad’s it’s absolutely undeniable. Mexico is racist and still stuck in an old, outdated, colonized class system based on skin tone. The whiter you are the more desirable and trustworthy you are perceived. The darker you are the less desirable and trustworthy you are perceived. This has been my personal experience since living in Mexico and guess what.. I’m not alone. Don’t just take my word for it there is plenty of evidence supporting this truth.
The Conversation article on white ad’s in Meixco Here
The current Mexican President AMLO admits it publicly Here
So long as marketers continue to feed into this racial cast system in Mexico this country will forever have this issue. That is why it’s of my belief that not only are the people to blame for the racism towards darker skin tones but equally the companies that continue to be non-inclusive of all races. What I’ve come to learn since living here as a Canadian is that Mexicans are perceived as darker more Indian decent from the outside developed world. Yet in Mexico, Mexicans are advertised to be White/Latino with dark hair not dark skin. Therefore why do they continuously perpetrate white ideals in an ever changing and evolving country and world? Why is white still the ultimate standard of beauty and wealth here (and elsewhere)? We know why White/European was the ultimate standard of beauty but why is it still being touted this way? It’s not relevant anymore because we all can see more clearly being more connected than ever with the Internet (a.k.a The Matrix) that it’s not. Beauty comes in all different skin tones. I repeat beauty comes in all different skin tones.
Tecate only uses light skinned Latino’s in all their ads old and new. Recently they used one with Sylvester Stallone. I know.. So diverse.
Italian… not quite white but not quite black either…
A brown beer but lacking any brown people in their ads
Indio based on Mexican Indian Heritage doesn’t use people of all skin tones to represent that. It only uses a logo of an Aztec Indian.
A popular one stop shopping store that carries clothes to appliances Coppel has always looked white from the outside.
Until this month I saw Yalitza Aparicio on their most recent ad campaign. Is that only because she was nominated for an Oscar? Is that how big of platform people of darker skin tones must get to on their own to be recognized as equal in mainstream culture?
White make up
DAX is basically a low end version of Sephora carrying a wider range of over the counter beauty items (no luxury items) and virtually no dark skinned shade ranges in store. I’ve had issues trying to buy make up there plenty of times and even E-mailed them about it. Yet, they still refuse to carry a more inclusive shade range in their cosmetics. The only color in their ads is the make up not the people.
Soriana is a popular grocery store chain here and apparently only white people shop there. Just kidding. I shop there! Yet it wold be nice to see more of Mexican races on these ad’s at places where all Mexicans shop.
White person with black hair…interesting.
Down to the Leave in Conditioner I personally use in my hair by Savile. A Mexican Skin/Hair care line that features all white skinned models across all of their packaging. Great products at a quarter of the price of traditional brand with terrible marketing. This product in particular is made for curly hair. It would be an opportune moment as a brand to feature an Afro Latino or darker skin toned model. Not one that looks like Shakira with permed hair. This could be a moment show the differences between different hair types and the different skin tones there are in this country and in this world.
The mass media seems to be skipping the most integral parts of systemic racism and lumping it into a “beauty comes in all different shapes and sizes” approach. I’m sick of that approach because it glazes over the fact that race/racism has always played the biggest role of all between culture and continues too. Not shape nor size. Race. Let’s get to the bottom of that flaw in our brains computing function first. If we can re-wire how we think about race then size, shape and gender will more easily fall into place after. One thing leads to the other. We cannot accept everyone if we don’t understand, empathize, and value those of other races first.
Some days I have shut in days where I don’t go outside to be very honest with you. This happens only once every few months but it’s directly tied to simply being emotionally exhausted by having to go that extra mile just to be treated kindly by the cashier at Wal Mart. Why? That cashier at Wal Mart has light skin and expects me to kiss her/his ass in order to be greeted and not give me unnecessary problems when letting me pay for my items. They will greet the white/light skinned people before me but they simply won’t greet me. They expect me to greet them. That gets exhausting as I don’t work in customer service. I’m a shopper at the store. Not ALL cashiers at Wal Mart do this to me but it’s something that I noticed I get a lot here. Some days it’s too much and those days that I don’t have the energy to be on top of my game and over and above what your average person is expected to do I simply stay the fuck home. I have some great tips on that Here from last weeks blog all about staying Inn (while being productive).
P.S We love realistic Tiny Bags that you can actually fit things in! Like this tiny wallet.
Click to enlarge
Each handmade bag (50 Pesos Each) fits a mini wallet, keys & iPhone 5
Vintage Silk Top TJ Street Shop: $3
Jeans TJ Garage Sale: $2
Hat TJ Garage Sale: $.50 Cents
Tiny Bag Made in Mexico TJ Boutique: $3
Flats Agaci: $5
Total Look Cost: $13.50
With all that being said previously let’s talk about 3 Ways You Can Rise Above Racism that exists in your culture. Whether your in Mexico, U.S.A, Canada or beyond. This applies to all dealing with this kind of oppression. We can’t change the world alone and we can’t expect the world to change on it’s own or for us. What we can change is how we move in our day to day lives by adjusting the small things to have a better quality of life overall. Living well with purpose will beat racism in the longer term if more people find their internal wealth to beat the struggle.
Step 1: Dress to impress
By this I really mean dress better than the 99%. If you can’t be in the 1% of financial wealth because you weren’t born into a rich family it doesn’t mean you can’t look it and feel it. Real wealth starts internally. Feeling good about yourself, what you stand for and how you choose to present yourself is KEY. Most people, no matter what race lack personal style. Putting in that extra 10 minutes it takes to actually put together an outfit and style yourself already has you leaps and bounds ahead of the majority.
Step 2: Be Kind to the unkind
This is bar none the hardest step I have to take and remind myself constantly to take each and every day. Shut in days are usually caused by me being tired of having to be kind to the unkind. I’ve been unkind to others before but not based on their race. Based on how they treat/approach me is what will bring out my less than kind treatment of others. Daily I’m forced to have to be kind when those are judging me for being black and not looking like most of the people that live here. If I wasn’t kind I’d never get anything done in Mexico or I’d be constantly depressed and angry with the world. When someone is giving you flack you have to cut them some slack. If they don’t accept your kindness then remove yourself from the situation. If your tired of being kind then remove yourself from the situation. Knowing when to be kind to the unkind and what your bandwidth is for enduring the unkind are both keys to this exercise. Let’s put it this way. If someone is judging you based on your skin tone then be nice to them. If that doesn’t work to break down the initial racial barrier and their still being dick. Then leave. If it’s work/school this can get tricky but still.. leave. You have more power than weak minded people when your strong in your self. Remember that.
Step 3: Be Unafraid & Speak Out
It’s the easiest step of all. Tell others about your experiences! Not on social media. Don’t get on a cancel culture train or outrage culture train. Get on an actual train and talk to people. Ask them about their views on Race regardless of their race. Share your experience that way. Keep the conversation going in and out of friend circles. This isn’t about boycotting or shutting down companies not being inclusive. It’s about showing people how to be more inclusive so we can all evolve. Forcing inclusivity isn’t genuine nor is that changing the world. You can smell the desperation from brands that are currently trying to do that in the U.S.A miles away. It needs to be more honest conversations from people for people to people. A mindset shift to promote better communication not a marketing shift. Speak out not at people. Have more curiosity for others and they will naturally become more curious about yourself. That is where you can really start sharing your stories and learning from others.
Now let’s get into some of my favorite looks from this week shall we! Fun fashion time!
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