RE: (Article) 'Tu Black Mama Tambien'
Yes, I saw a documentary at the Schomburgh
center a few years ago on the Afro-Brazilians
and how they are treated in the media, etc.
Basically, all the light skinned Brazilians think they
are pure White (in some cases, I supposed this is true
if one can trace all their lineage back to Europe).
One guy in the doc. stated in Brazilian that most of
the people there are Mixed-Race rather than pure White.
"We shall oooo-ver-come some daaaa-aaayyyyy", LOLOLOL.
[mailto: Generation-Mixed@yahoogroups.com ]
On Behalf Of multiracialbookclub
Sent: Sunday, November 26, 2006 2:44 PM
Subject: (Article) 'Tu Black Mama Tambien'
OPINIONY Tu Black
Latinos have racism, too.
Just turn on the TV
By Ernesto Quiñonez / Newsweek Web
Exclusive / Updated: 8:15 a.m. PT June 19, 2003
In a meeting held in 2001 between
George W. Bush and Fernando Henrique
Cordoso, who was then Brazil 's president,
President Bush, according to some
reports, put his foot in mouth by saying,
----"Do you have "blacks", too?"----
APOCRYPHAL OR NOT, you almost couldn't
blame him for thinking there are no "blacks" in Brazil .
From the images the Latin American media
exports to the rest of the world, it's as if
all Latin Americans were of European
descent, if not of Northern European descent.
Take Brazil 's blond, blue-eyed,
sexpot Xuxa of the early '90s,
who sang and danced in front
of White carbon copies of herself.
Even in the audience there
were no "black "children.
The Latin American media
shamelessly hides the Latin
continent's "black" and Indian presence.
It keeps the "aguelita" in the kitchen (like
all dark secrets), where no one can see her.
The megastars of Latin America who are about to
"cross over," heartthrobs such as Diego Luna and
Gael Garcia Bernal of "Y Tu Mama Tambien" and
Eduardo Verastegui of "Chasing Papi," look like
Anglo actors that Aaron Spelling dug up for his
next teen show, "90201: The Next Generation."
Mexican soap stars such as Paulina Rubio
and Ana Claudia Talancon sport looks that
are more in line with White Vogue models
than they are with the indigenous population
that makes up the majority of Mexico .
I would love to see one, just one, of these Latin
American megastars speak out against the
lack of black people in Spanish TV and movies.
Do a Chris Rock and really say it.
Latin Americans love to talk about racism in
the United States , "those Yankees," but
do we acknowledge our own prejudice?
As racist as the United States media can be, the
Latin American media doesn't lag too far behind.
There are few, if any, Latin American
celebrities who look like a Rosie Perez.
One has to wonder if Latino-American stars
such as Rosario Dawson, Gina Torres and
Lauren Velez, all of whom have dark features,
would be the stars they are today if they
had started their careers in Latin America.
Because while U.S. television is crowded with
black shows, there isn't one on the three Spanish
networks, Telemundo, Univision and TeleFutura.
Even commercials lack black people, as if only
White Latin Americans bought necessities
such as toothpaste, toilet paper and soap.
The same can be said for Latin American nightly
newscasts, which are full of Anglo-looking anchors;
if you switched on the mute on your remote, it would
seem no different than watching the news in English.
But the programs where the absence of color is
most telling are the novelas, Spanish soap operas,
the most popular programs in Latin America .
These soaps are a hotbed of
blond and blue-eyed couples.
Has there ever been an on-screen
interracial kiss on any of these soaps?
Has a Spanish soap ever produced a Halle Berry ?
It is actually an embarrassment that soaps on the
American networks have more starring roles for
people of color than the novelas of Spanish networks.
Even the racist Yankees have found
out the beauty of dark skin.
What about us?
Our version of Oprah is the
White, blond, blue-eyed Cristina.
Because the Spanish media bombards its screens
with White images, Latin Americans of color find it
difficult to increase their self-esteem and value.
The "ideal look," meaning White, is never attainable.
Those White Latin Americans who own the
ideal look don't want to "impure" their families
by keeping company with darker people.
This twisted philosophy of Blanquesismo,
--- or "whitening" --- is nothing new.
It has plagued Latin America for centuries.
The denial of "black" blood that runs through
our veins can be traced back to Spain .
When the Spaniards conquered the
New World , they weren't as white-bread
as they made themselves out to be.
They had been invaded by the Moors, centuries back.
The Spaniards were a Mixed race;
---- they, too, had dark blood.
This self-hate was passed down to
our Latin American countries.
In fact it is a common saying around
Argentina , Paraguay , Uruguay and Chile ,
"In my country there are no "blacks"."
They say it with pride and of course they are wrong,
but what makes it even more ignorant is that all of
those countries were safe heavens for fleeing Nazis.
Now in the new millennium, due to the lack of
discrimination laws in Latin America , the Spanish
media continues to hide black people by crowding
the screens with as many White images as they can.
They'll try to cover up their racism by throwing
a "black" Latin American actor a bone.
They'll have one dark-skinned
anchorman give us the weather.
One dark- skinned actress in
a supporting role in a soap.
They'll say what about Ronaldo?
He's our Michael Jordan.
We love our black heritage, as the saying goes
"to call someone Negrito is to call him love."
But what we are really witnessing is Media Apartheid.
Because over all, it's the few Latin American
Whites who are throwing those bit parts,
those bones to the Latin American "blacks".
Bones even dogs won't chew.
Ernesto Quiñonez is the author
of "Bodega Dreams" (Vintage).
His second novel, "Chango's Fire," is
forthcoming from HarperCollins's Rayo imprint.
© 2003 Newsweek, Inc. / © 2006 Newsweek, Inc.