11 | DIC | 2019
Comedian mocks Yalitza Aparicio through brownface
Yeka Rosales wore brownface to play Yalitza Aparicio - Photo: Both pictures were taken from Yeka Rosales' Instagram account

Comedian mocks Yalitza Aparicio through brownface

EL UNIVERSAL in English/Gretel Morales
Mexico City
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Blackface and brownface are troubling as they were used to mock, ridicule and discriminate people of color

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Yeka Rosales, a comedian who works for Televisa and her show are facing backlash after it presented a parody of “Roma”. Criticism erupted after Rosales wore a prosthetic nose and used brownface to play Yalitza Aparicio, who is indigenous.

Blackface and brownface are troubling as they are used to mock, ridicule and discriminate people of color.

In a New York Times article, George Yancy explains the issue: “Blackface is a performance historically grounded in white supremacy and as such, an act of epistemological and ontological terror. In other words, blackface is a form of “white knowing” (in reality, of white unknowing), of white projection, and of stipulating through a performance of what it means to be black by way of lies about what it means to be white. Hence, to understand blackface, we must return to the white face that refuses to see itself in its own monstrous creations.”

Therefore, blackface and brownface dehumanize and appropriate what it means to be a person of color. By using dark makeup and a prosthetic nose, Rosales appropriates Yalitza Aparicio, disregarding all the challenges, obstacles, and discrimination she has faced.

The parody show's team, including both Rosales and the show producer, tried to fight back after being accused of racism against the indigenous community but only made the situation worse by using other actors and actresses as examples of blackface and asking why no one criticized them back in the 90s. The examples only showcase their ignorance in regards to racism, race relations, history, and blackface and brownface:

All the examples used by Rosales only highlight how Mexican television, and Mexican society, have been racist for a long time.

The show producer said that "Skin color shouldn't be a matter of controversy, Mexico is a melting pot where a large number of origins and beliefs melt together. Such a scandal wants to make it seems like the brown skin is bad and that's not the case, any skin color is equal and has the same value."

With this comment, he seems to disregard centuries of inequality in Mexico, especially the hardships faced by the indigenous community, who are still discriminated based on their appearance and skin color. 

Televisa's spokesperson, Alejandro Olmos, contradicted himself by telling The Associated Press that “We don't think that the production of “La Parodia” incurs in this type of practices” but then admitted that the characterization was “tacky”.

William Nericcio, a professor at the Center for Latin American Studies at San Diego State University, said that given Mexican media's historic treatment of indigenous populations, he isn't surprised by the Rosales' actions.

"The Mexican elite disposition has always portrayed indigenous people as funny and ugly," Nericcio said. "Networks like Televisa profit from this."

This is not the first time Televisa has used blackface. In 2010, it was criticized for presenting actors in blackface during the South Africa World Cup.


Yalitza Aparicio forces Mexico to acknowledge racism and class division

The majority of Mexicans celebrated Yalitza and “Roma”, as it finally put an indigenous woman at center stage but many others discriminated her
Yalitza Aparicio forces Mexico to acknowledge racism and class divisionYalitza Aparicio forces Mexico to acknowledge racism and class division


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