Taking a knee — during a football game in Mexico.
Before the NFL game in Mexico City between the Oakland Raiders and New England Patriots, Raiders running back Marshawn Lynch demonstrated an historic cluelessness.
Lynch, a regular kneeler this year during the playing of the national anthem before the games, actually stood for the Mexican national anthem — before protesting the U.S. flag by taking a knee.
What black football running back Lynch does not know about skin color and racism in Mexico — skin color dominates Mexican society.
Overall, one’s skin color is the major determinant of that person’s place in Mexican society- educationally, occupationally, connection-wise and status-wise. Dating back almost 500 years to when the Spanish conquistadors’ blood began mixing with that of the indigenous population, in Mexico lighter skinned people have been considered to be more desirable, more worthy and more beautiful than darker skinned individuals.
Just take a look at who is employed where. Generally speaking, the most sought after, best, most important and highest paid jobs are disproportionately filled by those that have the lightest skin. Lighter skinned persons dominate such professional fields as medicine, dentistry, engineering and architecture. The same can be said about the upper echelons of politics and in academia. Conversely, the lowest paying jobs and those with the least social status such as housekeepers/maids, construction workers, street vendors, restaurant kitchen workers, and public transportation employees are unfortunately the “birth right” of those with darker skin.
Nowhere is this racial/ethnic discriminatory dichotomy in Mexico more visually apparent than in the worlds of entertainment and advertising. In the country’s numerous and popular telenovas/soap operas usually the lead roles are portrayed by light skinned performers with darker skinned persons normally portraying “subservient” roles as maids, cooks or gardeners or “villains” such as criminals.
How could that running back not know? Get a bite to eat for an hour in any small taco/ burrito shop in the U.S. with Mexican music and TV playing. One does not have to go to Mexico to see how light skin is depicted via TV.
Firenze Sage: It is not racism that is the problem. Let us start with ignorance.