November 9, 2010

Mark Twain: Afro-Americans, indígenas

I had been thinking for a while how to post the story of Cecilia and Petrona, but I just couldn't find the right words. Memo sent me a piece by Sarah Churchwell. And eureka! There it was: Mark Twain has always the solution for any problem you might have.

Churchwell talks about Mark Twain and his approach to racism:

"He also paid for the tuition of a young African American who wanted to attend Yale, saying that 'he was doing it as his part of the reparation due from every white man to every black man'".

That is exactly what we Mexicans (and Latin Americans, and many other people, like arrogant post colonialist Europeans first of all!) should do: We all have a certain debt to every indígena (or person from a former colony): historic debts, like Adam's.

There is still such a huge amount of racism in Mexico towards indígenas. Like Cecilia and Petrona, two tzeltales (mayas), who went shopping to upper-class Polanco district, as part of a deal with a newspaper. And they were asked by security personal to abandon the stores due to their clothes.

Ah! But how nice it is to go to Chiapas and buy artcraft and see Palenque, Montebello, Sancris and the jungle... Or to buy old haciendas and establish a nice hotel. Or whatever.

There is a part to be done of the reparation due from every mestizo man to every indígena. Ask Mark Twain, if not.

 Fotos: Ramón Romero

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