It’s been over 500 years since the European colonization of Latin America began. I sometimes wonder if anyone back then thought about, what the identity of the Mexican people would become one day. As a half Mexican, I claim that to some extent, being Mexican has and always will be part of my cultural identity. But what do we Mexicans see ourselves as?
Are we the descendants of Spaniards from Europe, who conquered over the wild Indigenous people, or are we in our hearts the Indigenous people who mixed with some Europeans? From my personal experience, Mexicans feel the latter and are proud of the rich history of the past. But this history is complex and full of civilizations engaged in brutal warfare over centuries and a Mexican people did not exist before the Europeans arrived. At the same time, calling someone an “indio” (indigenous person) in Mexico is considered a rude insult because it implies lack of civilization and culture. How does that make any sense?
I have no answer to this question. What I have to offer instead is an image gallery that manifests the split cultural identity that lies within the Mexican people. We see groups of ordinary Mexicans, dressed up as indigenous people, dancing in ecstasy to the beat of the drums how they believe their ancestors danced centuries ago. It’s a spirit of going back to their true nature. And where does this scene take place? Every single day in front of the holiest catholic cite in the country, the Basilica of the Virgen de Guadalope. Will contradictions like these always be a part of Mexican identity. Or perhaps this isn’t necessarily a contradiction after all.