Malinche´s Cry, Lamentation from a Professionally Downtrodden Person
By Eduardo Mora
“Forgive me Tenochtitlan
Because I betrayed you
I helped the conquerors
And the sons of this land
Are still crying.
So forgive me Tenochtitlan
Because I betrayed you”
According to the legend, the natives from this land were proud to be the sons of corn, who showered in chocolate their golden skin. They were the chosen people. Warriors, blood ran through their veins, for they were descendants of Aztec gods. But the day they were conquered, a shameful disgrace fell upon their people: the shame of being of indigenous background, the shame of the dark skin, the shame of being the sons of La Malinche, the shame of becoming the humiliated race, dominated by the foreigners, by the superior race.
A few weeks ago, I wrote a satire about the discrimination of Mexicans towards Mexicans, but I decided to keep it to myself because I was afraid to be called a professionally downtrodden person. In that satire I mentioned some of the stereotypes and cold phrases that we as a culture have created throughout the centuries. Popular phrases like “no tiene la culpa el indio sino quien lo hace compadre,” which literally means, “it is not the indigenous people’s fault. It is your fault for making him your child’s godparent,” or phrases like “marry a white person to improve your race.”
Many of my friends are foreigners (which is very common in San Miguel) who have blue eyes and light skin, and it saddens me to see that I am treated differently when I go to restaurants with them than when I go with my brown-skinned friends. A few days ago a group of friends and I decided to go have a drink and enjoy the sunset at a rooftop bar, but we were told that they had “a private event,” so we were not allowed to go up. A few minutes later, a blue-eyed, light-skinned friend of mine went to that same bar and got a table without a problem. One can argue that was just a one-time incident, but talking about it I have heard of different people having the same experience. What is worse is that that is not the only place. The owner of a restaurant here in San Miguel once told me he puts “Reserved” signs on all his tables so that he can pick and choose what people go to his restaurant.
Some people may say that I am reacting in the wrong way, that the simplest solution is to stop going to those businesses. Maybe they are right, but I think that is a reactionary action that would not solve the problem. I refuse to run away from restaurant to restaurant, putting my head down and just hoping one day things will change. I will not let my skin color dictate what establishments I am allowed to go to. I will not tolerate this because this is my country.
I would like to clarify that I am not saying only brown skinned people suffer discrimination. I went to college with a friend who has blue eyes and light skin, and he told me stories of how he was bullied for being “the white-boy.” I know many people who tell me that they feel that workers take advantage of them because they are “gringos.” I would not be so bold as to say that everyone has been discriminated against, but I would say the vast majority of us have witnessed discrimination in one of its many forms. Unfortunately, we have become so accustomed to live with this cancer that has invaded all our society to the point that we see it as “normal.”
Please do not call me a professionally downtrodden person, I would rather you calling me a man who feels indignation. Please do not call me an agitator, but if you must I prefer to be called an agitator rather than to be called indifferent. I demand discriminators to hear the Malinche’s cry, and let us not forget that those who discriminate someone are in fact betraying their own people and will be cursed with an eternal cry that will haunt them even after their death.