What are Racial Politics like in Mexico City?

What are Racial Politics like in CDMX?
Photo by Will Ried


Progressive, but could be better

Due to its colonial background, it’s no coincidence that race and privilege are still directly related in CDMX. Segregation – as subtle as it is – is still present in society, and access to education and other rights have been hindered from specific racial groups.

As a semi-white-passing person, my experience regarding racism may be different to others. My friend Akeem, 26, POC artist from the USA who’s lived in Mexico City for a year, considers the city less racialised, and more progressive and inclusive than any back home “where anti-racism is more about words, than actions.” He feels there is a welcoming energy here, and whenever he senses racist attitudes – at airports for instance – speaking the language helps to eradicate it.

Romain, 30, architect from Netherlands, who lived in Mexico City for five years, recalls attracting some attention for being caucacian when going to specific areas –such as the subway, a market, Doctores or Centro – with a lesser “white” population. Even though he would cover his hair to avoid stares, he never experienced any sort of aggression.

According to Paco, 27, Mexican POC, discrimination is stronger towards local BIPOC groups than towards foreigners of colour. Even though Paco hasn’t felt personally discriminated against, they would not visit clubs or restaurants in areas such as Polanco or Lomas, known for their unspoken racist policies. In past months, subtle racism towards dark-skinned people has been uncovered; some restaurants would ask folks to sit inside instead of outside, so as not to be seen. However, in Paco’s opinion, Mexicans usually overlook race towards foreigners, as being welcoming is in their DNA.