The murder of George Floyd, on May 25, 2020, in Minneapolis, United States, as a result of the police brutality of a white officer, fanned the flame that had been burning for centuries and spread it to other countries, such as Mexico. The fight against racism took a new impulse and new actions.
However, in Mexico, where people whose mother tongue is indigenous are 140% more likely to work in a low-skilled, low-paying job, according to the study For my race inequality will speak, from Oxfam. The racism It is still “not well understood,” says José Antonio Aguilar-Contreras, founder and director of the organization RacismoMX.
The discrimination due to physical features, skin color or ethnic origin of people is a serious problem for access to rights, such as work. But so is denying, ignoring or disdaining this type of historical exclusion that causes a lack of income or earning very little.
According to the National Council for the Evaluation of Social Development Policy (Coneval), the 77% of the indigenous population is in a situation of poverty, which leads to another type of discrimination: classism.
“With all the wave of speaking and acting against racism in 2020, many companies had the slogan, from their headquarters abroad, to do something against” this type of discrimination in Mexicoexplains José Antonio Aguilar.
“Transnational companies sought us out to understand what actions they should take to be truly diverse and not only focus on issues that are traditionally known, such as the LGBT+ community, women or, very few, the population with disabilities.”
“With the Job Bank for Racialized Talent there are no excuses for not being inclusive”, says the economist. In this database, companies will find people with different profiles, who have not had the same opportunities for reasons as absurd as their skin color or ethnic origin.
How does the job bank work?
Almost two years ago the movement RacismoMX It came up on social media. Since then they have created various initiatives, such as Poder Prieto, from which they have brought together actresses such as Yalitza Aparicio or actor Tenoch Huerta, filmmaker Luna Marán, as well as artists from different disciplines and activists. From that platform they also held a first music festival.
Last year they were constituted as a civil society organization and have undertaken other actions. In 2020, the RacismoMX team began to train, educate and sensitize the staff of different companies. “But now we are at the stage of implementing projects that really change those structures”, that is, facilitating the labor relationshipl of that population.
The organization is calling on people of color, whether they are “Afro-descendants, brown people, indigenous people or from some other group, such as the Roma (or Gypsy) community or the Asian community” to register using a form found on their social networks. @Racismo_MX on Twitter and @racismomx on Instagram and Facebook.
This database will be available to allied companies, or those that want to be, with vacancies for different positions.
» Consult here the form of the Racialized Talent Pool
According to the study Discrimination in the Mexican labor market: A field experiment, by Eva Arceo and Raymundo Campos, “a woman with a European appearance receives 20% more calls than a woman with an indigenous phenotype” when sending her course of life (CV) to a company.
For their investigation, they sent more than 8,000 fictional hp with the image of people with European, mestizo and indigenous phenotypes. “So our test consists of finding out which candidates receive the most calls to arrange a job interview,” they explain in the introduction.
“Are historically excluded groups of jobs. But now we want to occupy those places, typically reserved for white people or people of European origin”, because it is their right, first of all, they have the training or the talent to develop for it, the specialist points out.
The lie of meritocracy
Something they often hear from the staff of the companies they have advised is: “in Mexico there is very little Afro-descendant people”, as if the more than 2.5 million people, according to the latest Census of the National Institute of Statistics and Geography (Inegi), did not count. Or “indigenous people hardly ask for work”, that is racism, says the activist punctually.
Making this population invisible, stereotyping it with the idea that they only work in the field and do not want and cannot be employed in a technology company, for example, is racism, emphasizes José Antonio Aguilar.
There is another recurrent expression among those in charge of recruitment and that applies to almost all discriminated populations: “It’s just that there isn’t” women, people of color or with disabilities who meet the profile of the position.
And an almost made and common phrase is: “I look at the talent and not at the person”, alluding to the meritocracy. “But in such an unequal society, where the development of skills is related to the advantages of origin”, such a system strengthens discrimination.
“We want work places much fairer, much more diverse, where the majority of the Mexican population is reflected.” Because those that now exist pay brown people 15% less, compared to what they pay white people, and 43% less those with darker skin, according to a study by Raymundo Campos.