In my latest Cañechat in Vimeo, I interviewed bestselling Chilean author, Oscar Contardo about latest book called ‘Siútico’ (Penguin/Random House) (You can watch the interview in Spanish by clicking here). In this book, Contardo anatomises his society around the way a word is deployed. That word is ‘siútico’ and means ‘arriviste’, ‘parvenu’, ‘wannabe’… ‘snob’. As the interview progressed, a different reality came to light. A ‘mixed raced’ society obsessed with arianism and being white. Dark people spend fortunes trying to whiten their skin and flatten their hair only to be able to get a decent job. In other words, all those who want to do better in life and have a dark skin are called, by the Chileans and Contardo, as ‘siúticos’. This word, however, seem to be applied to all those who negotiate their way up in society through charm, lies, disdain and talent. From that point of view, Shakespeare, More, Marlowe, Velazquez and Rubens were ‘siúticos’. So why are the Chileans so hard with those who want to progress in life?
Chile seems to be a country where what defines that someone is hired for a job is the colour of his skin. The cruel contradiction is that in that society almost everybody has indigenous blood. At the end of the interview, I said that what happens in Chile could be considered as ‘a Chilean apartheid’. The reaction was immediate, mainly, because I am an Argentine and both countries have a long history of distrust and resentment. Many in Chile said that I was right and it was healthy to discuss these issues but I shouldn’t said what I said because I was writing from Argentina. In other words, my words did not count because of my ‘race’. I answered that racism is a crime against humanity and I was speaking as a human being. The debate continues.
The TV show that reacted to my Cañechat can be seen here:
Finally, the prestigious and progressive newspaper ‘La Segunda’ dedicated two pages for an interview that Juan Carlos Ramirez did to me while I am in Rome.
YOU CAN SEE THE FULL ARTICLE IN THE PRINTED VERSION CLICKING HERE
IF YOU HAVEN’T SEEN MY REVIEW OF TATE MODERN’S ‘POSING IN FRONT OF THE CAMERA’, THIS IS YOUR OPPORTUNITY