The Mexican actress addressed the controversial term "prieta," viewed by many as derogatory and racially insensitive, on Twitter.

Por Lena Hansen
Junio 25, 2020

In a recent Twitter post, Mexican actress Yalitza Aparicio offered her take on the word "prieta." The Roma star, who has spoken proudly about her indigenous roots, wrote: "That's right. I am prieta, a beautiful prietita, and I say that with head held high. I share this text for those who use this word in an offensive way."

(Photo by Frazer Harrison/Getty Images)

Her post linked to a Spanish poem about the word: "They call me prieta and they think it's an insult / Prieta like the color of the clay of my pots and comales / Prieta like roasted chile/ Prieta like beans / Prieta like mole / Prieta like obsidian stone / Prieta like the fertile ground under my bare feet / Prieta like my grandparents / Prieta like the night / Prieta, a race of bronze."

"They don't know that my color is my bearing / That if my brown skin bothers them, that's because they don't have an identity or love for their land," the poem continues. "I am prieta like Tonantzin, like Coyolxauhqui and Mictecacihuatl / Pretty prietita, my dad would say / Prieta with my head held high and my pride in my braid."

The post sparked many comments from followers debating the use of the word, which means "dark-skinned," and can sometimes be used as a term of endearment but also has a derogatory and racist connotation. The actress has been outspoken about the need to battle racism and classism in Mexico. “National turmoil brought to the fore problems that still persist to this day, namely the normalization of classism, racism, and denigration," she wrote last month in The New York Times. "Art lays bare our brutal reality — a reality that is complex, diverse, and often unfair — but it also presents us with the amazing opportunity to give voice to the unheard, and visibility to the unseen."