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Hurts, betrayals among LA natives

Los Angeles – Bricia Lopez welcomed people from all walks of life to dine at her family’s popular restaurant for indigenous-influenced food from Oaxaca, Mexico.

Restaurant Guelaguetza has become an institution known for introducing Oaxaca’s unique cuisine and culture to Angelenos, attracting everyone from immigrant families to Mexican stars to powerful city officials like Martinez. increase.

But now, after a scandal erupted over Martinez’s recording of the making of Racist remarks against Oaxacan people Like Lopez, the 37-year-old restaurateur and cookbook author said she felt an overwhelming sense of betrayal.

Martinez resigned from his seat in Congress on Wednesday and apologized. Sadly, many said they weren’t surprised. After growing up in their home country and arriving in the United States, they say they’ve grown accustomed to hearing such stinging comments not only from non-Latinos, but also from light-skinned Mexican immigrants and their descendants.

“These people were lying to me every time they saw my face,” Lopez said. “We must not allow these people to continue to lie to us, tell us we are inferior or ugly, or make us laugh.”

Following Martinez’s resignation, two other Latino city council members also mocked their colleagues during a record a year ago plan to protect Latino political power in the council’s districts. Martinez used disparaging language for the black sons of white lawmakers and called immigrants from Oaxaca ugly.

Martinez said in the recording, referring to the predominantly Hispanic Koreatown neighborhood, “I see a lot of small, short black people.” “I don’t know where these people came from, what village they came from, how they got here.”

Growing up in California, Lopez said she heard racist comments, but wanted them to be a thing of the past so young immigrants in Oaxaca wouldn’t have to listen.

“I want people to see themselves in the mirror every day and see how beautiful they are,” she said.

Oaxaca is home to more than a dozen ethnic groups, including the Mistecos and Zapotecs. This southern Mexican state is home to famous hand-dyed rugs, pristine Pacific tourist beaches, smoky alcohol called mezcal, and mole (a thick sauce made from more than 20 ingredients). Known for its sophisticated cuisine.

Los Angeles is home to the nation’s largest Mexican population, with census data showing that nearly half of the city of four million people is Latino. Hundreds of thousands of Oaxacan immigrants live in California, with the highest concentration in Los Angeles, according to an informal survey, said Gaspar Rivera Salgado, director of the Center for Mexican Studies at the University of California, Los Angeles. increase.

Insults are often used against the indigenous peoples of Mexico. It’s a “colonial legacy,” Rivera Salgado said of Spanish rule long ago.

racism and colorism — Discrimination against darker-skinned people within the same ethnic group — has been deeply ingrained in Mexico and other neighboring Latin American countries for centuries. confronted actress Yalitza Aparicio. racist comments In her country — and after she appeared on the cover of Vogue México, she went on a derogatory rant online about her indigenous traits.

Odilia Romero said the scandal did not surprise her. Oaxaca community leaders pressed for the resignation of Martinez, the daughter of Mexican immigrants, and two other councilors in a recorded conversation. I was among the many people who were

Romero said that since the scandal came to light, she has responded to phone calls, including those from someone urging her not to make hurtful remarks so as not to distract her from her important work in helping immigrant communities. Said there was

“It’s a very paternalistic comment,” said Romero, executive director of the Comunidades Indigenas en Liderazgo or CIELO and Zapotec’s interpreter. “Tell the indigenous people what we don’t understand. Of course we do — we see this every day.”

Lynne Steven, a professor of anthropology at the University of Oregon who studies Mexican migration and indigenous peoples, says that the concept of mestizaje—a mixed, non-racial, united nation—is a way to uplift indigenous communities. He said it was meant to be extinguished rather than let go. It continues to this day. It is brought to the United States with migrants, but similar divisions exist in other Latin American countries, she said.

“This kind of comment, directed at indigenous peoples by non-indigenous peoples like Mexico or Guatemala, is another layer of racism,” Stephen said. We have to fight backlash and racism in Mexico, often racist from non-Latino, white American, sometimes other people and people where they live and where they go to school It’s discrimination.”

Tennant organizer Ophelia Plato recently went to the floor of the Los Angeles City Council to demand the officials resign. She said that Latino she has never experienced discrimination from within her community as much as discrimination from outside, but there is no such place.

“They think they have the power to stomp on people,” she said. “They are two-faced”

It’s not just hurtful remarks that sting Xóchitl M. Flores-Marcial, a Zapotec scholar and professor of Chicana studies at California State University, Northridge. She called it very telling about officials who make decisions that affect her community. , people are surprised that she is the leader of the research team.

“It’s very hard because they are result people,” she said. is hurting.”

Still, she said she has hopes for future generations in “Oaha California,” a close-knit community that has maintained traditions while embracing life in Los Angeles.


Taxine reported from Orange County, California.


This story corrects that Martinez is not a Mexican immigrant, but the daughter of a Mexican immigrant.

Copyright 2022 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed without permission.

https://www.local10.com/news/national/2022/10/13/racist-remarks-hurt-betrayal-among-las-indigenous-people/ Hurts, betrayals among LA natives

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