Boa Aparência (Good Appearance): How Colorism Plays Out in Latin America

Posted in Articles, Caribbean/Latin America, Media Archive, Social Science on 2012-11-22 00:04Z by Steven

Boa Aparência (Good Appearance): How Colorism Plays Out in Latin America | Fueling Conversation

Dash Harris

“Go to the banks and you’ll see how racist, this country is.” This was a sentiment expressed ad nauseam in my interviews about how colorism drives societal treatment. Interviewees in every country I visited for the docu-series always cited airports, banks and TV shows as representations of the aesthetic their particular country strives for:
It was true, I only saw one tanned bank teller throughout my travels, in Honduras. For any of the others jobs that were pointed out, the standard was homogenous, light skin and straight hair. This preference is blatant even within advertisements and postings for jobs…

…White supremacy and the aspiration to be the closest you possibly can is rooted in the idea of ‘mejorando la raza’ or improving or bettering the race by marrying white, if not white then light. Almost all of my interviewees have heard this phrase from a family member or friend as advice in the dating and marrying game. One Honduran, whom her friends call her ‘negra’ because she is dark skinned said her family said she hit the jackpot when she started dating her current boyfriend, a redhead very pale skinned Honduran. On the other hand when someone who is light or pale chooses to date ‘dark,’ families insist they are ruining or damaging the race. To preserve the privilege of being light, some have even resorted to marrying within their own family, like actress Michelle Rodriguez found out about her kissing cousins. Many of my interviewees came from mixed family backgrounds where their parents different colors caused a lot of fighting, drama, discontent, and familial problems that still persist to present day. The most common, was a dark skinned father and light skinned mother…

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