Discrimination in Mexico

23 Oct

            Have you ever discriminated against someone because of their social status or how they look, or where they buy? Try and think, maybe you have done it without knowing.  In Mexico people are discriminated because of their social status. There’s a song called La Carencia by Panteón Rococo, it has a part that goes,

Después de ocho horas de andar laborando desesperanza se siente en el hogar, pues con la friega que hay a diario ya no alcanza para progresar. Y así han pasado decenas de años, pues en un mundo globalizado la gente pobre no tiene lugar. (2002)

(free translation: after eight hours of work, despair is felt at home, because of the daily hard work there’s no more progress. And that’s how it’s been for dozens of years; poor people have no place in a globalized world.)  This last part, poor people have no place in a globalized world, remembers me of people who make depictive remarks or discriminate people by simply looking at what they buy or where they buy, you can see that only certain people go in to certain places, jokes come and go between us like “oh, that doesn’t work, you must’ve bought it in Waldo’s”, Waldo’s Mart is like a 99¢ store in the U.S. and for the general public is a good thing, because is affordable, but for others it’s shame even if you get close to one. Why is saving money a bad thing? It doesn’t necessarily mean that the person is poor; sometimes people just like to save, yet, to many people it is., the opposite reaction is when people are seen buying something in a Versace store, only complements are made like “she (or he) must live a good life”. Why can’t people say the same thing about people that buy at Waldo’s? Why can’t they say “That person sure knows how to save money” or something like that?  Just to make a point. Other cases of discrimination or depictive comments come when people see a woman or a man going inside an expensive store and by their looks people think “what’s this ‘naco’ doing here?”, just by looking at their face or skin color. This happens a lot in Tijuana, probably because we border the U.S. and the majority of the population have access to what American brands offer, and that’s another issue that leads lo racism. Is having a visa to cross the border only for certain parts of the population, or social circle? Discrimination in Mexico is so common to everyone, it comes natural to us Mexicans to think and act with the discrimination switch on.

On another hand, and keeping  a line of actual events that expose the way racism is practiced in many ways, over the course of this year news got out of a new trend in Mexico, the EMO’s had just come out to shout at the world of their arrival. EMO comes from the word “emotional” and is derived from a genre of rock; it became a stereotype later on with several characteristics like use of skinny jeans, hair dos and makeup. What happened next is truly shameful, for me even to mention. Other social tribes like punk’s, raster’s and rockers, united against this new trend arguing that they were a shame for society, also that these people had “taken” some areas in major cities. After that, a campaign went on nation wide with the slogan “if you see an EMO beat’em”, news broadcasts all over made headlines with “EMO boy got beaten up by a group of people”, other television programs made fun of them, for instance, on even made rude remarks, it was a television show on cable programming channel Telehit, the presenter’s name is Kristoff.  

El Emo es una mamada, es una cosa para niñas de quince años, que apenas les salieron pelitos ya saben en donde, se acaban de emocionar porque les encanta el cantante del grupito y no tanto porque les gusta la música, numero uno. Numero dos, ¿es necesario crear un Nuevo genero para expresar emociones? osea ¿no nos sirve con el death metal, no tenemos suficiente con el punk?, ¿no tenemos suficiente con Camila, Sin Bandera, José José?, es necesario crear un Nuevo genero,  que diga wey, todos los demás están equivocados, emocionalmente no nos llega.  ¡Fucking bullshit niños, no hay movimiento, no hay una manera de pensar, no hay músicos, ustedes confunden el punk, el hard rock, y confunden el screamo, juntan todas las corrientes nada mas para darle un significado a su estúpido y pendejo movimiento! (2008)

(free translation: Emo is bull, is something for girls of which hair has just begun to grow in their parts, you know where, and they just got excited because they like the singer of the group and not because they like the music, number one. Number two, is it necessary to create a new genre to express emotions? I mean isn’t there enough with death metal, don’t we have enough with punk? Don’t we have enough with Camila, Sin Bandera, Jose Jose? Is it necessary to create a new genre that says: hey dude everyone else is wrong, emotionally we don’t feel it. Fucking bullshit kids! There’s no movement, no way of thinking, no singers, you confuse punk, hard rock and confuse scream, you pull together all of those streams just to give a meaning to your stupid and asshole movement)

This last quote was taken directly form the show, it made headlines and many Emo’s where outraged about it, some Emo’s where interviewed, and there even was a debate of two hours in the same cable channel, it was a big deal. Then as the days passed, and the country began to wonder and search all about EMO’s, they began to see more and more news about them, videos on the internet and so on; then, and this is I think the most awful thing I have ever seen, a video got out on news casts that showed dozens of teenagers beating up one of the EMO boys passing by a street in Querétaro, their arguments where the same, they just didn’t like EMO’s, and only for that reason decided to hit him, for me that was the most stupid act of racism I’ve ever known about, I felt angry and sad not just because of the poor teenager beaten up by a bunch of ignorant people, but also because of the level of collective unconsciousness, how people can act like a bunch of sheep because of one person is dissatisfied of some else’s identity.

A sheep is content with being a sheep and being a part of the group because the sheep sees no need to be any different than a sheep and sees no reason to strive for more or break with the herd. Within the herd there is no one who is any higher than anyone else, so there is perfect contentment. There is no need to strive for more because everyone is on the same level. (Nietzsche, 1996, p. 43)   

Collective unconsciousness is a dangerous thing, in this case with the campaign sent nation wide and being EMO’s targeted, they weren’t safe. Many cases of beatings went on in the media, until the same media icons started to call the dogs off, including the same Kristoff! Pleading to the people responsible of the beatings to stop and think of their beginnings as punks or rockers, “se meten con los Emo’s porque no se defienden wey, porque estan en su pinche mundo” (Kristoff, 2008) (free translation: they get the Emo’s because they don’t defend themselves, because they live in their own fucking world) they too fought to be accepted, and they too suffered from racism. So they did and there hasn’t been a case since then. Other cases of collective unconsciousness have been about

Now, how could a problem of that magnitude go such a long way? I remember a few weeks ago writing to Ms. Yuri Kageyama, we were having a sort of discussion about what drives people to discriminate other people, she argues that “It is really difficult to understand what divides people, why some people want to hurt others, why they can’t mind their own business, why they believe they must see others lose to win.” (2008)  I think she is right, if only people minded their own business, if we could only see our flaws and not everyone else’s maybe we wouldn’t have so many problems in the world. It’s hard to keep our mind’s focused on positive things; minding our business is not just acting carelessly around other people, minding our business is also being conscious about our acts and having respect towards others.


Espacio Telehit: Debate sobre Emo’s (2008) Retrieved from http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PfS7_opcsRg (October 16th. 2008)

Ibarra L. R. (2002). La carencia [Recorded by Sony BMG Latin]. In Compañeros musical [CD]. Mexico D.F

Kageyama Y. (2008) Retrieved from http://yuri-kageyama.blogspot.com/2008/09/sun-sept-28.html (October 16th. 2008)

Kristoff television series, (2008), Mexico, D.F.: Telehit.

Nietzsche, Frederick. (1992), Ecce Homo, España, Madrid, EDAF.




One Response to “Discrimination in Mexico”

  1. markkrris October 23, 2008 at 4:16 am #

    Nice post. I agree 100%. here’s some more info on emo boys

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