BROWN

coyote.jpg

∞ Abraham Barragan

Being a person of color in the United States is difficult but what is strange is that even in my place of birth, being brown wasn’t easy. It would be a common assumption to believe that anyone would be accepted in the place where their culture resides but that was not my the case in Mexico. Growing up in Guadalajara Jalisco, Mexico allowed me to fully experience my culture and the people who are a part of it, which was great but not perfect.
Growing up, I never saw my skin color as an issue especially since there were many people who looked just like me. But it wasn’t until I grew older that I started to understand the many different comments that people would tell me. I remember very clearly one of the first comments on my skin color that was pointed out by my cousin. I was ten years old when I used to stay at her house on the weekends. She would play with me and have nice conversations with me although we were eleven year old kids. We were watching television when she suddenly mention “You would look better if your skin was lighter.” Although her comment was small and causal, it still had a big impactant on me as a young kid.
Many people may believe that a small comment will not have a big impact, but when you combine those comments with the racist interpretations on television, and the constant mocking of dark skin people in social media, it all together creates a social belief that, even within your own culture, being brown is a negative. Whenever I look back to my childhood it is inevitable to not notice the lack of dark skin people represented in television. One of my first reasonings about this was that Mexico is influenced by the United States but then I started noticing that many telenovelas have only light skin Mexicans represented as the wealthy landowner people while we, the brown people, were represented as maids or poor farmers from small low income pueblos. As I remembered this I could not avoid to question why we have colorism in Mexico and what we can do about it.
It is important that we do not put ourselves against each other. We need to stop colorism in our society in order for us to progress and continue to fight the injustices that the government has done to oppress us. But how can we unite and fight for what is right if we are divided by social prejudices that were forced into our minds?