Which of the two dolls is the pretty one? Which of the two dolls is the pretty one?

The lighter your skin the better off you are

Study reveals skin color influences education levels, job opportunities

The darker a person’s skin, the more difficult it is to get ahead in Mexico.


A new study has determined that skin color has an influence on the level of education that people reach as well as the employment opportunities available to them.

The study carried out by the National Institute of Statistics and Geography (Inegi) has reignited a debate about levels of racism and discrimination in Mexico.

Previous studies have also shown that there is significant discrimination based on people’s skin color and culture.

One example is the latest National Discrimination Survey, conducted by the National Council to Prevent Discrimination (Conapred), which found that 20% of people in Mexico don’t feel comfortable with the color of their skin.

One out of every four respondents said felt they had been discriminated against because of their physical appearance and 5.5% thought that it was negative factor that society was made up of people of different ethnicities and cultures.

Furthermore, 23% of those polled said they would not be willing to live with someone of a different “race” or culture and 55% recognized that there is discrimination based on skin color.


“Discrimination against people of brown complexion has been normalized for a very long time,” said Evelia Reyes, a social and cultural history educator at the College of Mexico.

“A very clear example is to say that the race needs to be improved. This phrase [shows] there is a tendency to disparage a brown appearance. It’s seen as something bad and not something to be aspired to.”

Another study carried out last year by the National Autonomous University (UNAM) asked whether skin color influenced the way people are treated.

Fifty-one per cent of respondents answered yes with a further 33.4% replying yes, in part, while 72% agreed that racism does exist in Mexico and 47% said people of indigenous backgrounds don’t have the same employment opportunities as other Mexicans.

The problem also extends to Mexicans of African descent known as Afro-Mexicans, who make up around 1.2% of the total population and are especially concentrated in coastal communities in Guerrero, Oaxaca and Veracruz.

A 2016 study by the National Human Rights Commission (CNDH) found that just over 40% of Afro-Mexicans in employment were not receiving the benefits they should be.

Prejudice is not just confined to the behavior of adults, either.

Six years ago, Conapred ran a campaign to educate and raise awareness about racism in Mexico.

As part of the campaign, a filmed experiment (video below) was conducted where young Mexican boys and girls expressed their opinions about two dolls: one black and one white.

All of the children that participated indicated that they preferred the white doll because they considered white people to be more trustworthy, attractive or nice among other reasons.

The conclusion reached was that the foundations of racism seem to be ingrained from a young age.

Reyes believes that the Inegi study is reflective of problems related to race in the country but is hopeful it will serve as a tool to help diminish racism rather than promote it, but it is clear that there is still a long way to go.

Inegi president Julio Santaella fired up a debate about the issue when he commented about the study results on Twitter late last week.

“People with lighter skin are directors, bosses and professionals. Those with darker skin are artisans, operators or auxiliary staff,” he wrote.

He later added that the situation reflected the “sad reality of our country.”

The challenges of eliminating prejudice and discrimination based on race are many as it is so prevalent in society and in some cases goes to the core of people’s belief systems.

A 2012 document published by Conapred stated that there was an ingrained, unfounded sense of superiority of some social groups over others and also raised the point that racism can also manifest in a more “casual” way.

“Racism is expressed above all in jokes, comments and expressions that ridicule, disparage and put people down because of the color of their skin, their history, their culture, their traditions of their social condition.”

Source: Animal Político (sp)

Stories from our archives that you might enjoy

  • Güerito

    This is obvious to anyone who spends any time in Mexico.

    Just look at advertising and the media. The only dark faces you see on Mexican television are in a few public service ads. And the light skinned people you see in the media are not just light skinned. They’re blond with blue eyes. Watching the news with the sound muted, you could think you’re watching German or Swedish television.

    In more than 10 years, I’ve literally never seen a dark faced child or baby on Mexican TV.

    • gtodon

      This is obvious to anyone who spends any time anywhere.

      • Güerito

        Not really. I haven’t been to Europe in a while, but media, entertainment and advertising in the US contains a lot of minorities. In fact, they might even be overrepresented. I suspect it’s the same in Europe.

        In Mexico you’re talking about 80% of the population completely invisible in major media and advertising.

        • daniel pugh

          In Mazatlan they have a carnival Queen “competition”. You would swear they where all white. Such a joke. Actually, so sad. A young lady who regularly waited us at a palapa bar, shaved her whole body to look lighter. A young woman we knew, from a family of 4 daughters was the only dark skinned one. The other 3 went on to university education while dark skinned one received grade 12 only. Which I suppose is more than most would receive. Embarrassing is not quite sufficient to describe our feelings.

          • Güerito

            You’re correct. Very sad.

            Don’t get me started on Mexican beauty pageants…

          • Rocio Lavinia

            Very true. Mexican media portrays very well the level of racism and discrimination against indigenous and dark skinned people. I’ve spent some months now in the US and I agree, the people that you see in popular televisión and ads are much more diverse relative to mexican media and ads. It is indeed very sad. Also, the amount of racist jokes and sayings in Mexico appears to be infinite.

  • JayJohnson

    Just more Khazarian Frankfurt School/Critical Theory lies and misdirection to keep the people seeing each other as the enemy instead of the Khazarian fifth-column.

    “You’re getting sleepy, very sleepy. Whitey is blacky and browny’s enemy. And blacky and browny are whitey’s enemies. We, the plunderers and destroyers, are your saviors.”

  • cooncats

    Is this the country some of whose members violate U.S immigration law wholesale and then have the gall to go out in the streets, wave the Mexican flag and call American citizens racist?

    Yup it is.

  • Stylez

    To all the politically correct folks who think judging by color is bad. Why are you living in a white neighborhood ?

    Go live in the colored areas then come tell me how you feel in a year. After you have been robbed, burglarized and targeted for you light skin color.

    • daniel pugh

      Lived in a dark skinned neighbourhood in Maz. People where friendly and sociable. Never had a problem, except with barking dogs.?

      • Stylez

        I am assuming you mean you lived next to Mexicans. Dark skin is black, Mexicans are brown.

        • David Lucas

          Dark skin is brown too ….idiot

          • Stylez

            Brown Mexicans hate black people. Their is a difference.

    • mikegre

      Trick question because the possible responders have all been murdered.

  • TioDon

    The lighter your skin the better off you are……well, Duh!

  • mikegre

    Is it even remotely possible that the difference corresponds to innate intelligence?

    • Wanda