I was talking to my friend, Kim, as we sipped cocktails at a bar in Hollywood. She followed my gaze. I nodded. She raised an eyebrow and slurped on her vodka cranberry. Some background might be helpful here.
For centuries, the United States has been engaged in a thorny, stop-and-go conversation about race and inequality in American society. And from Black Lives Matter demonstrations to NFL players protesting police violencepublic discussions on racism continue in full force today.
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Mexicans have divergent ancestry, including Spanish, African, indigenous and German. And while skin color in Mexico ranges from white to blackmost people — 53 percent — identify as mestizo, or mixed race.
In Mexico, inequality, though rampanthas long been viewed as a problem related to ethnicity or socioeconomic status, not race. Our new report suggests that assumption is wrong. We were fascinated to see that the Mexico data clearly showed people with white skin completing more years of schooling than those with browner skin — 10 years versus 6. Wealth, we found, similarly correlates to skin color.
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Overall, populations identified as having the lightest skin fall into the highest wealth brackets in Mexico, while those with the darkest skin are concentrated at the bottom. These dynamics, other studies have foundseem to persist across generations.
Similar disparities emerged when we examined other measures of economic well-being, such as material possessions — like refrigerators and telephones — and basic amenities. For example, only 2. Likewise, just 7. Our findings complicate the of numerous prior studies showing that Mexicans do not perceive skin color as a meaningful source of prejudice in their lives.
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According to a national survey on discriminationMexicans believe that age, gender and social class have a greater impact on their daily lives than race. The data paints a much less rosy picture. It is also five times greater than the urban-rural divide reported in the poll. We even found that skin color has a ificantly greater impact on wealth and education than does ethnicity — that is, indigenous versus white or mixed-race Mexican.
A recent report from the National Institute of Statistics, for example, finds that white people comprise 27 percent of all white-collar workers and just 5 percent of the agricultural sector.
Unequal in every way
More often, though, racism is ignored or explained away. Many Mexicans, for example, argue that dark-skinned Mexicans tend to belong to ethnic, cultural and linguistic minorities and live in historically disadvantaged areas, like the rural south and the heavily indigenous high mountains.
Since this is the case, they reasondata that appears to show race-based inequality in Mexico is actually capturing class, ethnic and regional inequalities. Although the premise of this argument holds true, the conclusion is incorrect. Our study ed for gender, age, region of residence and ethnic origin — and still skin color emerged as a powerful determinant of wealth and education levels.
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A second critique of racism in Mexico is that yes, it exists, but it is not as bad as in other places in the region, like Brazil or the United States. Our study runs contrary to that argument. On the relationship between race and lower levels of education, Mexico moves up one spot to trail only Ecuador and Trinidad and Tobago.
Indeed, the sole place in the Americas where people of color seem to fare worse overall than in Mexico is Ecuador, where Americas Barometer data shows that having dark skin reduces educational achievement by one year more than it does in Mexico.
This is in stark contrast to countries like Chile and Costa Rica, where race appears to have only a minor impact on wealth and education. Our analysis unambiguously disprove the notion that Mexico is somehow so mixed race — so mestizo — as to be race-blind. Quite to the contrary: Racism is a severe social challenge that people in society and government would do well to take more seriously. Going forward, our research will focus on examining the origins of this problem, from employer discrimination to access to health care.
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That should help lawmakers de policies to reduce inequalities based on skin color. Plymouth Contemporary — Plymouth, Devon. Edition: Available editions United Kingdom. Only 5 percent of agricultural workers in Mexico are white, while almost 30 percent of white-collar workers are.
Racism Inequality Mexico Latin America racial inequality.