Friday, November 30, 2007

Where are all the brown people... Mexican films and TV?

This question appeared to flummox Diego Luna at first. In fairness the old guy at the back who posed it was having microphone issues and the star of El Búfalo de la Noche looked as if he hadn't quite heard . After several moments where his mouth was clearly playing catch-up with his thought processes, Luna opted for a two-pronged response.

The first prong, "I'm a mestizo, we are all mestizos" is one of the oldest chestnuts in Mexican identity politics. (Carlos Fuentes pulls it in The Buried Mirror too.) Luna's own mestizaje includes his late mother's English anscestry.

The second was to re-cast the question as one of indigenous rights and to show where he stood on this by letting us know that he had once attended an important congress on this very thorny issue.

The trouble is that I don't think the old guy had invisible indigenes foremost in mind when he asked his question. His point was more like, why on channels like Telehit, where Diego's novia Camila has her own show, are all the presenters (and assorted culitos) generally the kind of Latins that could easily pass themselves off as Europeans (or worst case scenario, Argies).

On classic Telehit shows like El Calabozo and Guate's own lamentable Con Buena Onda the ordinary Mexican "brown faces" the questioner referred to usually make up the audience and have to wait to be offered a share of the limelight.

No comments: