Thursday, August 16, 2007

Five Star Hotels – Only for the white?

Well, actually they might let you in if you just try to look like you’d like to be of European decent. Power, it seems, is in the donning of the power suit and no amount of fame can save you from being considered a poor peasant if you eschew the dress codes set by London, Paris and Hollywood.

If you think I’m being overly dramatic, consider Tuesday’s expulsion of Rigoberta Menchú from a Cancun hotel. If you’ve ever taken a Spanish class here in the States, you have probably seen Menchú’s picture in the front of your text book - included in the list of famous people from Latin America. Menchú is an author, Nobel Peace Prize laureate, and a presidential candidate in her home country of Guatemala. As El País reports, Menchú was invited to Cancún, Mexico by Felipe Calderón, Mexico’s president, in order to participate in the inaugural ceremonies and first meeting of Mexico’s National Association of Clean Water (my translation). However, no presidential invitation, Nobel Prize, or fame as an author could convince hotel workers that Menchú, who prefers the typical Mayan dress of her people to European fashions, belonged in their hotel. She was mistaken for a street vendor who was inappropriately mingling with the real guests and escorted off the premises. This is not the first time that Menchú has been asked to leave a luxury establishment where international conferences are held. Menchú maintains that the assumption that anyone who chooses a regional dress must be poor and unimportant is an example of "racismo, incomprensión y machismo" – racism, lack of understanding, and chauvinism.

Update: The Guardian now has the story in English - just don't forget who brought it to you first...


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habladora said...

Sorry, folks - the above was spam disguised as fan mail, so we had to take it down. Don't get me wrong - I have nothing against advertising, I just want to be paid for doing it. As for real fan mail, there will always be a place for it here at Second Innocence.