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Are we whitewashing Mexican culture?

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Over the past few years, “whitewashing” has become a more prominent issue in media throughout the world.  

“Whitewashing” is seen predominantly in magazine publications as well as a lot in the movie and TV industry. The concept of “whitewashing” is usually seen in films where Caucasian people are playing the role of non-white characters. The actors in films are usually seen downplaying roles that are historically fit for people of other ethnicities. In magazines and other forms of media, people of color are usually seen photoshopped.

Dior AD Campaign

with a lighter skin color.  Many find the act of “whitewashing” extremely offensive to people of all ethnicities, even those not involved in the instance.  

After being asked her stance on the topic of “whitewashing”, senior Michelle Guzman said, “I just feel like cultures are being diluted when they are represented by white people.”  

A recent instance came up with a Dior magazine featuring Jennifer Lawrence as the model. Jennifer Lawrence was seen portraying an equestrian of Mexico. The ad campaign was seen being portrayed by women of other ethnicities. 

“A culture shouldn’t only be represented by a person of that specific origin, it would then go into stereotypes. Just because the campaign was based on Mexican culture does not mean that a Mexican must represent it. We should learn to convene over our differences, accept other cultures and participate in them in order to come together as a society,” an anonymous teacher at Morton East said.  

On the contrary, some people feel that the ad campaign overall is controversial and should have been portrayed by Mexican women.  

“I just feel that big companies like Dior aren’t taking into consideration the background behind their campaigns. If they want to portray a typically Mexican tradition they shouldn’t be surprised when they get backlash for doing so by using models of other ethnicities. They should have taken into consideration the effects of wanting to portray a Mexican tradition without Mexican women,” former Morton East student Jessica Hernandez said.  

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4 Responses to “Are we whitewashing Mexican culture?”

  1. J. Dundek on December 12th, 2018 11:50 am

    So when black actors play the role of historical figures who were white in the musical “Hamilton” is that “Blackwashing”? Is that wrong?

  2. adviser on December 12th, 2018 12:08 pm

    No, I think the perspective is different because “blacks” have been omitted so much from the traditionally taught American History picture. There, we are trying to become more equitable. White people have traditionally held positions of power and influence. I guess it’s almost like affirmative action — giving roles to minorities because they have traditionally been omitted.

  3. J. Dundek on December 18th, 2018 11:09 am

    So we shouldn’t expect to see Brad Pitt playing MLK in a major motion picture?

  4. Jacky Olvera on January 10th, 2019 9:40 am

    My personal opinion on things like this is, don’t trip. I think people just looooove to be controversial nowadays for the attention. I totally agree with the whole “whitewashing” thing, I agree that characters should be portrayed by such ethnicity, but with the Dior ad, I feel just as long the culture itself isn’t being disrespected, people should be happy that culture is being portrayed and shared with today’s society.

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The student news site of Morton East High School
Are we whitewashing Mexican culture?