When I was younger, my dad told me about a dream he had. His uncle, who had recently passed away, talked to him in a dream and said something like “Amaris has the most perfect skin color for a Mexican”. As a young child, of course it was a great compliment to me as any compliment was nice. However, now that I’m older, I realize how terrible the compliment was.
In this first place, we should note that my skin color is pretty tan and brown. Telling me I have the perfect skintone for a Mexican is kind of like saying that all other Mexicans should aspire to have a skin color similar to mine. It’s like saying a darker skin color is ugly, while a light skin color is not Mexican enough, which is what typically is said. The problem is that there is no just one Mexican color. When you say that brown is the Mexican color, you’re essentially rejecting any other Mexican with a skin tone that’s not brown. It creates a dilemma with self-identity.
I know that brown is typically used as symbol for Mexican proudness, such saying “brown power”, and I obviously have no problem whatsoever with having pride in oneself culture. The problem is that it may sometimes make other Mexicans who aren’t brown outcasted or irrelevant. For example, we often forget about Afro-Latinx, and then this is a huge problem when it comes to anti-blackness in Latinx communities. Similarly, “La Raza” is a term that was also used as an anti-black strategy, as well to reject indigenous people. There is also definitely white privilege even in the Latinx community. One instance is Eurocentric beauty standards, with the praise of small noses, light colored eyes, straight hair, light skin. You can see lighter-toned models, but you rarely see indigenous models in any Latinx magazines.
You, of course, do not have to agree with me. It’s just an idea I have going on inside of my head. Personally, I do in fact love my skin color. It reminds me that I am in fact Mexican, and I am very proud of it. However, I didn’t always think like this. I used to hate being Mexican for some weird and odd reason. I used to hate being brown. People would often tell me that I have a sort of accent when I speak, and I hated it. And now, I could never think of feeling like that ever again. I come from a beautiful culture, and I would ever deny it from now on. I’m glad I have had the opportunity to learn more about my heritage because it represents who I am.
If there’s anything that you could have learned from this article, even us in the Mexican community have a lot of problems to address. Anti-blackness is one of them. We also have machismo, classism, anti-LGBTQ+. We have a lot of problems, but I believe that we can also fix them. Because “we're MexiCANS, not MexiCAN'TS”. One point for you if you know where that’s from.