Güeros, the Mexican film by Alonso Ruiz Palacios, takes the viewer on a hell of a ride along with the four protagonists through the Periférico or peripheral ring of highways encircling Mexico City (known as "el DF" for District Federal). With over 27 million people, el DF is sprawling and vast. The road trip that weaves in and out of neighborhoods and suburbs doesn't have to leave the area in order to take viewers and protagonists on a journey through the long history of revolution, race and cultural identity in contemporary Mexico. Like many metaphorical journeys, the destination is ultimately one's self. 

Race identity and racism are folded into the class system of Mexico, where the color of skin affords disproportionate advantages to some at the expense of others. The word "Güero" or "Güera" is used to describe persons of light skin, light hair, and/or light eyes. The importance of skin color is vociferous throughout the culture, in its music, humor, storytelling, etc.  As it turns out, uses of terms like "Güero" or "Blanco" for light skinned people, and their counterparts for dark skinned people like "Moreno," "Prieto," "Negro," are largely contextual; it all depends on how and when it's used and by whom. The film does a great job at showing this when at some instances, "Güero" is a compliment, and at others an insult.  The dichotomy is this, on the one hand if someone is "Güero", he or she is likely to be of a higher class, thus being called "Güero" is a compliment.  On the other hand, the word itself likely comes from "Huero"-a term applied to eggs that are non-fertile and don't yield any benefit. A "huevo huero" or failed egg, gets paler with time.  When this meaning of the word is applied then the resulting insult is that a "Güero" is a dud of a person. 

Load comments