|Emmy Award-winning journalist|
"I was always the dark kid in class. The negrito, moreno or indio and they never said those words as terms of endearment. My New Mexican heritage blends Spanish, French, German, Pueblo Indian and Apache Indian over 400 years in northern New Mexico. Some of my family is white, blonde and blue-eyed while others are dark or darker than me.
"The whiter you were, the higher value my community placed on you. It wasn’t just society, it was families. My mom would always say, 'Stay out of the sun, hijo! You don’t want to get too dark.' She wasn’t worried about my health, she was worried about how I would be perceived.
"She had good reason to be worried.
"All media, for generations, have placed a higher value on the more Anglo-Saxon looking individuals.
"Back in the 1940s, actors Anthony Quinn and José Ferrer got more work because they looked white and for years did not address their heritage in publicity. Later on, Jo Raquel Tejada changed her name to Raquel Welch and Ramón Estévez changed his name to Martin Sheen to avoid type casting. More recently, director Robert Rodríguez said his own sister felt compelled to change her name to get acting work in Hollywood. She looked white, but her last name was Spanish.
"All that impacts how you look at others and more importantly, how we look at ourselves." –MEKAHLO MEDINA, President of the National Association of Hispanic Journalists (NAHJ)Check out more of what Mekahlo Medina thinks about the "internal racism and discrimination" within Latino media, as well as how the NAHJ plans to discuss these issues at its national conference (scheduled to take place in Orlando, Florida in September 2015) by clicking here.