Sunday, September 11, 2016

diversity and acceptance – close, but not quite there yet

So, recently I caught sight of these two posters. Both by the National Commission of Human Rights of Mexico (Comisión Nacional de Derechos Humanos, CNDH) for its 25th anniversary last year. The first one is cool, it lets lesbian, gay, bisexual, transsexual, transgender, cross-dressing and intersexual persons (yes, it lists all these) know that they have a constitutional right not to be discriminated against, that authorities are required by law to guarantee their rights, and that discrimination is a criminal offence. 

Now, even though it is often joked that in Mexico the legislation is not the problem, but the execution of the legislation is, this kind of information can and does empower people to claim their rights and to seek redressing of wrongs. And it's nice to see this kind of diversity included, going far beyond the traditional gay/lesbian trope.



But then, next to it was this other one. About diversity. Again, it reminds people that the Mexican constitution offers protection from discrimination in any form, be it due to gender, orientation, ethnic group, language spoken, religion, ability, etc. But this one poster fails where so many other Mexicans have failed to. It's about diversity. It has clearly advanced views of what constitutes discrimination. And yet, the people represented in this image produced by a Mexican institution for a Mexican public fails its public by representing 15 out of 18 persons as white, with one token black person, one token indigenous person (represented in traditional costume), and one token brown person. 

It's unbelievable that even the national commission in charge of human rights still fails to see that some 70% of the population would see itself reflected in just 2-3 persons out of 18 in this poster. Why is white still considered neutral or the default? A friend of mine half-jokingly said this looked like a fashion diversity poster for Polanco, a very posh part of town where many foreigners live.



Fortunately, at least we can say there is a move towards better acceptance of diversity, with the constitution as back-up. But the devil's in the (racist?) details...

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