In Mexican film “Tizoc: Indian Love” (1956), Ismael Rodriguez portrays a naive Indigenous man in love with a white woman.
For decades Mexican cinema has been representing Indigenous people as caricatures that are infantile, irrational and violent, according to a Mexican cultural anthropologist.
“What has prevailed is a rather cartoonish and distorted image of the Indigenous person as an ahistorical and infantilized figure,” Francisco de la Peña, researcher at the National School of Anthropology and History, told news agency EFE on Thursday.
Indigenous people appear in hundreds of Mexican films as “irrational, superstitious, violent, naive or passive,” added the researcher, author of “Imaginary film, culture and subjectivity: towards an anthropological analysis of cinema.”
This tendency to reduce Indigenous people to flat, one-dimensional stereotypes has taken root in Mexican cinema because those behind the camera and writing the scripts are not themselves Indigenous, the researcher said.
How an El Sereno charter school fought for (and won) the right to teach in an indigenous language
On a main thoroughfare in East Los Angeles, there’s a brightly painted public school: Anahuacalmecac International Preparatory High School, part of the Semillas school network. Semillas — Spanish for “seeds” — teaches teenagers about their indigenous roots and culture.
It was a soul-searching moment. And then, said Principal Aguilar, students made an appeal.
“The students organized a town hall and … their message to us [was] to not give up, to defend the school and to stay in the community because they believed in it, they believed in the mission and they wanted to graduate from Semillas.”
The students stepped up the organizing and began using social media and multimedia. They created little music viral videos. The fight took up much of the academic year, and between organizing, students continued academic work at their sister high school that operated under Semillas’ other charter school license.