"Colorism in Mexican culture has a long history rooted in colonialism. Many people don't know that Mexico had a complicated legal caste system in the 1700s, which continues to influence beauty standards today. To exert control over their colonies, the Spanish commissioned paintings to illustrate different racial distinctions. As the cultural historian John Charles Chasteen describes in his book Born in Blood and Fire, a person's caste was recorded in their baptismal register and those of lower (and darker-skinned) castes were legally barred from, among other things, becoming priests, owning weapons, attending university, and even wearing silk. There were 16 theoretical categories in all, though only six were typically used. Some of the lower castes were derisively given animal names such as Wolf or Coyote. Although the members of these six categories were legally prohibited from mixing, there was a whole lot of boinking and raping going on, so it was inevitable. Ironically, because the Spanish crown was desperate for money, those from lower castes who became successful were allowed to purchase exemptions. You could actually buy your whiteness."
Full article: http://www.racked.com/2016/1/7/10723424/colorism-discrimination-mexico-beauty-skin-lightening