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Peru: Racism at the Beach

Categories: Latin America, Peru, Digital Activism, Ethnicity & Race, Protest

racism at beach [1]

They say that to work is no offence, that there is no job that one should be ashamed of. It sounds logical, but not everyone seems to think that way. Many Peruvians, some think too many, leave their motherland to look for a better job opportunity abroad, where they often end up working jobs that not even in their worse nightmares had they done here. Perhaps the fact that no one they know is witness to their suffering lessens the embarrassment and loss of self-esteem that comes from working a job below someone's abilities. But it is not necessary to leave the country to work in discriminatory and marginalized conditions.

In Lima and the nearby beach resorts it is summer. Many years ago, up until the Sixties, the fashionable beaches were those of Miraflores, Barranco and Chorrillos as well as the more distant beaches of Ancón. Today, for what has already been a good number of summers, the hotspot beaches are to the south. Among the great many beaches along the coast to the south of the capital, the favorite of wealthy Limeans is called “Asia,” and is often pronounced in English by those who spend their summers there. This resort has been made famous for offering the very best to its exclusive clientele. In fact, the beach has transformed into a small city with all the offerings of modernity and globalization, out of sight from the town that also used to spend the summer there.

But recently, Asia has also become well-known for its discriminatory and marginalizing treatment towards the “domestic employees” or “household employees” as they are generally called among the families who employ them. These workers, for example, are effectively prohibited from entering the beach during the day. Only after 6 p.m. are they allowed to enter these areas. Obviously many consider this unjust and that it boils down to an undeniable issue of racism.

Therefore, The Office Against Racism of the National Coordinator of Human rights, composed of diverse institutions and individuals, have formed a weblog [2] to publicize an operation called “Audacious Employee” in which a group of people dressed like maids peacefully enter one of the off-limit beaches during the day and bathe in them. More information is available in this post: Questions and answers about Operation Audacious Employee [3]. The mentioned operation successfully took place last Sunday, complete with videos [4] and photos [5]. There was also repercussion [6] from the operation in the press.

As it could not be any other way, several bloggers echoed the subject and posted about the operation both before and after it happened:

La Perra de mi Vecina… ladra mucho [7]Operativo “Empleada Audaz” [8]
Diseño Perú [9]Cartel a propósito del operativo “Empleada Audaz” [10]
Zonadenoticias [11]Un operativo audaz [12]
Luna antagonica: Entre cables, sueños, cemento y piel [13]Operativo empleada audaz contra gamonalismo reload Versión 2007 3.14 [14]
Peruanista [15]Video: Trabajadora del Hogar [16]
Pospost [17]“Empleada audaz” cambió rostro a playas de Asia [18] y Una observación fraterna sobre el tema de Asia [19]
El blog del morsa [20]empleada audaz. historia tras bambalinas [21]
El Sitio de Kinua – Kinua's Site [22]Video: Operativo Empleada audaz [23]
Des-ubicadas [24]Empleada Audaz fue un exito!!! [25]
Mi otro blog [26]Empleada Audaz [27]
Desde el Tercer Piso [28]Empleada audaz [29]
El Útero de Marita [30]Vídeo del Operativo Empleada Audaz [31]
Pueblo Vruto [32]Operativo PATRÓN AUDAZ [33]
Gran Combo Club [34]Derecha vruta [35]

But this is not the only protest that has occurred recently in Lima. Another took place in Lima's Plaza de Armas against the president's plan to restore capital punishment for certain crimes. Posts about the protest include: “Only Death can enter the [Presidential] Palace? [ES] [36]“, “Only Death could enter the Palace [ES] [37]” and “Protest against Death: Latest Reflections [ES] [38].” Regarding bloggers and other details, Gran Combo Club posted “Successful Protest in the Plaza de Armas [39]” and “Successful Protest in the Plaza de Armas (2) [40].”

Well, as you can see, the year seems to have begun with a lot of citizens here in Lima organizing protests using online resources here in Lima. Gabriel Rodriguez of Peru Design [9], is the photographer of the image that accompanies this post.

Translated from Spanish [41] by David Sasaki