For this critical reflective paper, I decided to watch the international film “Roma”, directed by Alfonso Cuarón. The film is set to take place in 1970’s Colonia Roma and is seen through the eyes of an indigenous woman named Cleo, who is the maid and babysitter of a large white family. Throughout the movie it not only talks about some of the challenges she faces in her personal life and as a domestic worker, it also highlights Mexico’s ongoing division of people between their social class status and race. That being said, the reasons why I chose to analyze this film in particular is because I wanted to focus and explore some of the social norms taking place in the movie and see how it differs from modern day San Antonio.
The first social norm I noticed while watching the movie is the amount of mistreatment being allowed to happen towards the people who are a part of a lower social class. To give an example, while at times Cleo is able to have breaks with the kids such as watching television or joining in on some of their vacations, she feels like she is being acknowledged as being a part of the family. That is the case, until reality hits and Cleo is reminded once again who holds the power as she is asked to take care of the four kids, complete all the house chores, and is at the forefront of her employer's aggression whenever family or marriage problems start to arise. This just shows that if you were not married or born to someone who lives in the middle to upper class during the time, then others will view you as inferior.
Another cultural norm that I was surprised to see happen in the film was the evident segregation occurring between people who looked to be indigenous compared to those who have a more european appearance. An observation I had during the course of the movie, is that almost all the dark colored indigenous people had to do hard domestic work or sell products out in the streets. Their employers also made it very apparent that they aren’t allowed to live alongside them as they are often left to live or mingle in another area of the house. While on the other hand, the white people being portrayed all have blue collared, higher paying stable jobs that helped allow them buy their own home, support a family, hire help, and have a nice car. Although almost all of the people living in Colonia Roma are mexicans who speak mostly spanish, just the color of your skin could have a big impact on the way you are treated.
Although these customs were normal to have in the 1970’s, the same can not be said about modern day San Antonio. At this point in time, most of the world's past mindsets and cultural norms have changed. In fact, compared to all the division happening in the film, San Antonio is a very diverse friendly city, where everyone's way of living is celebrated and recognized. It accepts people who belong to a variety of races and social statuses. As a result, I am relieved to say as a middle class hispanic woman living in the city of San Antonio, I have never experienced people giving me a hard time or showing any prejudice against me because of race or social class. This assignment reminded me how lucky I was to be born in a time and place where diversity is unopposed and having respect for one another is the new standard norm.