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Carron

Jun 10, 2005, 7:27 AM

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More Dumb Questions People Ask About Mexico

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I hate to keep ragging on those Homeland Security people but I can't believe how ignorant some of them (even with Spanish surnames and a soft Mexican accent) are about life SOB, even la vida en la Frontera.

Yesterday my husband and I made one of our infrequent trips into Texas. A handsome Spanish grandee type middle-aged gentleman asked the usual questions. What are you bringing out?? Where do you live??

When we told him we lived in Acuna and were just going to Del Rio to run some errands, he was astonished. "But you don't even have hot water over there, do you?????" Oh, puh-leeze.



Professor


Jun 10, 2005, 9:38 AM

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Re: [Carron] More Dumb Questions People Ask About Mexico

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I agree. You wouldn't believe some of the stupid things people have been saying to me because I'm moving to D.F. later this year.
I've been asked if they have showers and hospitals in Mexico. Some have asked me how I plan to survive since everyone in D.F. only makes about ten pesos a month.
I couldn't believe the ignorance that I was hearing. But you have to tell yourself that most people like that have never been to Mexico nor have they done any research on salaries or anything else regarding Mexico. These opinions are what I call stereotypes.
Stereotypes is the way lazy people explain things they know nothing about. It helps people understand things that they have never researched.


Gary Anderson

Jun 10, 2005, 11:30 AM

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Re: [jfurgers] More Dumb Questions People Ask About Mexico

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jfurgers -

To quote:

"Stereotypes is the way lazy people explain things they know nothing about. It helps people understand things that they have never researched."

With respect, I think you're half right: stereotypes cause people to misunderstand things that they are too lazy to research for themselves. Stereotypes about Mexico are perpetuated these days by the mass media in the USA and are the direct result of the post-9/11 mentality. Every day Lou Dobbs on CNN, among others, launches into a rant about closing the border with Mexico, and people hear that and think, "Well, if Lou says so, it must be right," and they then incorporate it into their repertoire of prejudices. And for no other reason than they heard it on TV. Yesterday, the Police Chief in Nuevo Laredo was assassinated. Lou reports it, calls NL "extremely violent," which it may be, then implies that conditions in some craphole border town are typical of everywhere in Mexico, and 10 million idiots in the USA are going, "Yup, that there Mexico shore is a terrible place, all right, we oughta do ourselves a favor and just nuke it and git it over with," and they go on with their idiot lives without ever giving it another thought.

As for homeland security, in the world after 9/11, homeland security is vital. But the way the US government has gone about it amounts to the biggest scam ever perpetrated. The USA has spent billions on so-called "homeland security" and all we have to show for it is some silly-assed color-coded alert system, 2-hour lines at airports where they confiscate your BIC lighter and the nail clipper on your key chain, and a federal law that says all someone has to do is call you a "suspected terrorist sympathizer" and the next thing you know, you're incognito in Gitmo. George Orwell was right, only 20 years too soon. Meanwhile, thousands have died in Iraq and Osama Bin Laden and his minions are still running around loose creating havoc.

Go figure.

GA
____________________________________________________________
"There was only one catch and that was Catch-22 . . . ." - Joseph Heller


Professor


Jun 10, 2005, 7:17 PM

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Re: [Gary Anderson] More Dumb Questions People Ask About Mexico

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I agree with you. I sometimes watch Lou Dobbs for about five minutes and all he seems to talk about is the border and how we need to close it. In general, I believe that Mexico gets a bad rap in the States. I've heard people say that the drug problem in the States is the fault of Mexico.
I think it has more to do with the demand for the drugs by the North Americans. I heard on Hanity & Colmes tonight that a mayor in a southern California town wants to completely close the border.
Most in the States only see the Mexicans who come over to work...they aren't exposed to any other part of Mexico nor do they seem to want to.

John


Don


Jun 10, 2005, 8:24 PM

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Re: [jfurgers] More Dumb Questions People Ask About Mexico

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"Most in the States only see the Mexicans who come over to work...they aren't exposed to any other part of Mexico nor do they seem to want to ".

All that will change. See the news story below:

http://www.washingtonpost.com/...AR2005060802381.html


zoeq1000


Jun 10, 2005, 8:39 PM

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Re: [Don] More Dumb Questions People Ask About Mexico

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About exposure, I got exposed to Mexicans when I began teaching English as a Second Language in LA. I was so impressed by the Mexican attitude, so giving and easy to get along with and anxious to do what I asked. It was very touching. At the end of my first year they gave me an envelope with well over $100 in it. I hardly knew what to do because I knew that my students worked for very little pay and yet they were so generous with me. So gracious and appreciative. So I told my husband we had to go see the real Mexico, not just some border town. We came for two weeks last year and loved it. Now we have a house and many many friends. This is night and day from LA where everyone lives far apart, it seems, and where getting to know your neighbors is a rarity. I feel like they saved Mexico just for us, sometimes. I love it.


Bubba

Jun 11, 2005, 6:57 AM

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Re: [Carron] More Dumb Questions People Ask About Mexico

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This is my kind of thread.

We have so many examples of inter-cultural ignorance that I could tell dozens of stories but will bore the rest of you with only one.

I have a sister who lives in the Deep South of the United States where she has lived all of her life. She is quite well educated and a French teacher. There is a large chain of what I would charitably call eateries known as The Pancake House with cafes all over the south. These places are open 24 hours a day and often line Interstate Highway exits. I was talkng to my sisiter on the telephone one day a while back when, for some reason I don't recall she started this rant:

"Well we were with so and so last night at The Pancake House and all of a sudden all these Mexicans walked in practically filling the place and ordering pancakes. PANCAKES! Mexicans don't eat pancakes! Why can't they eat in their own places?"

There are many reasons besides heat, humidity, hurricanes and water mocassins that I praise God daily that we opted to retire to Mexico rather than the Gulf Coast of the United States.


Jerry@Ajijic

Jun 11, 2005, 8:09 AM

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Re: [Bubba] More Dumb Questions People Ask About Mexico

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I do not think people NOB will ever get a reasonable idea of Mexico as long as they make and/or show western movies. According to the movies as soon as you cross the border you have deserts, banditos, etc. etc. The first time we came into Mexico we were pleasantly surprised to find things are quite different from what we had thought.


MARIA CUERVA

Jun 11, 2005, 8:33 AM

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Re: [Bubba] More Dumb Questions People Ask About Mexico

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This is a deeply racist statement disguised as a harmless anecdote. It should be deleted . It is deeply offensive. It has nothing to do with Cultural ignorance about Mexico. I would be ashamed to tell such a story about anyone especially my family which of course would reflect back on me and my own attitudes.


(This post was edited by cuerva on Jun 11, 2005, 8:42 AM)


bournemouth

Jun 11, 2005, 8:56 AM

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Re: [cuerva] More Dumb Questions People Ask About Mexico

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Cuerva - that's a sweeping statement. I've been known to chide Bubba in the past but he certainly can't be seen as holding racist views about Mexico or Mexicans.

We do not get to chose our families and cannot be held responsible for family members viewpoints. Maybe you are simply objecting to his telling us that a family member holds "racist" views - but I saw the tale as displaying terrible ignorance.


Carron

Jun 11, 2005, 9:28 AM

Post #11 of 40 (8026 views)

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Re: [Jerry@Ajijic] More Dumb Questions People Ask About Mexico

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I agree with you about the movie version of Mexico. When we moved to Chiapas my daughters were 12 and 14. Anyone who has been to that southern state knows it is one of the most beautiful places in the world.

After we had lived there about two years, my daughters and I were on a bus out the backside of Nuevo Laredo, driving through a slum area with cardboard shacks, etc. My older daughter said, "See, Mom, this is what my friends back in Houston think Mexico is and they think we live this way, too. It's just like in the movies. I wish they could come visit me in Chiapas."


Gringal

Jun 11, 2005, 9:29 AM

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Re: [cuerva] More Dumb Questions People Ask About Mexico

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Before deciding that a post should be deleted - it would help to read it carefully, first. Bubba was clearly stating that he not only thought his relative was off the walls in her opinions, but he also said he was glad he lived here, and not there. Maybe people from other cultures have to bear the burdens of their relatives' opinions, but NOB there seems to be a disconnect possible when we decide we don't agree with everything our families believe. It makes for some difficult social occasions, though.

In the spirit of anecdotes about NOB ignorance and prejudice about SOB, a relative from the "liberal" San Francisco Bay Area recently visited for a month. Before leaving for Mexico, he was informed that he should never take a taxi alone, and that he was risking his life to come here at all. Hopefully, he returned home with enough information to correct some of those notions.


Rolly


Jun 11, 2005, 10:25 AM

Post #13 of 40 (8003 views)

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Re: [Carron] More Dumb Questions People Ask About Mexico

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A little while after I moved to Lerdo, I was visiting back in Los Angeles. I had pictures of my house and views around Lerdo. One friend, a supposedly well informed college graduate engineer, remarked that he was glad to see that my house have a floor. He had been worried that I would be living on a dirt floor.

The reason that I began my website was to show family and friends back home what my life is like SOB. I have continued to build on it trying to show an honest slice of life in Mexico. I get e-mails from people who are surprised that life here is not as they had envisioned. Too many old John Wayne movies, I guess. If it's not Cancun, it must be adobe huts with dirt floors where people eat nothing but beans and tortillas and spend their days dozing in the shade while wearing big straw hats.

Rolly Pirate


Bubba

Jun 11, 2005, 12:16 PM

Post #14 of 40 (7971 views)

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Re: [Carron] More Dumb Questions People Ask About Mexico

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Some of you reading my thread about my sister's shock at finding Mexicans enjoying pancakes may have noted that I was speaking of "inter-cultural" ignorance. My sister is certainly not an ignorant person, simply parochial in her viewpoints which is what happens to most people if they hang around the same place all of their lives whether that place be Mobile, Alabama or San Francisco, California or New York, NY or Paris, France.

My wife, who is from Paris, met and married me in Mobile in the 1970s and a couple of years later I talked her into moving with me to San Francisco. We have tended to run in rather liberal political circles and at some function attended mostly by the self-righteous, she met some San Franciscan for the first time who, in making small talk, asked her where she had lived prior to moving to San Francisco. She, repilied Mobile. The new acquaintance reponded in amazement; "But, how could you live in that place, it's full of rednecks!". My wife responded; "Yes, I know, I married one."

Another of my favorite stories concerns my attempts to join the Hollywood, California Young Democrats when I moved to that place in 1966. I called the Hollywood Chapter and indicated a desire to join. The person on the other end of the line, upon hearing my southern accent and being informed that I had been active in the organization in Tuscaloosa, informed me that Hollywood Young Democrats were not the same as Tuscaloosa Young Democrats and my kind was not welcome in their organization.

The ignorance about the United States among most Mexicans is as appalling as the ignorance about Mexico among most Americans. God help all of us in understanding Iraq or Albania. None of us on this planet has a lock on the truth. There may not even be any truth upon which to have a lock.


ekammin

Jun 11, 2005, 4:22 PM

Post #15 of 40 (7910 views)

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Re: [Rolly] More Dumb Questions People Ask About Mexico

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An old story about such ignorance is about the person who asked "Do they have a July 4th in Mexico?"

The answer was "Yes, of course. It usually comes between July 3rd and July 5th."

(This post was edited by ekammin on Jun 11, 2005, 4:23 PM)


Esteban

Jun 11, 2005, 4:42 PM

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Re: [Bubba] More Dumb Questions People Ask About Mexico

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No matter how you dance around the subject, there is some deep seated racism in the southern states. It's obvious if you go to live there from San Francisco instead of the other way around. I'm not saying racism doesn't exist north of the Mason/Dixon, I'm just saying you ain't bullsheetin me bro. One difference is that in the south the racists are OBVIOUS.

Also, when you were confronted by the Hollywood young democrats maybe you weren't aware that the southern democratic stance was AGAINST civil rights legislation. That's just part of the Democrats history. After the sixties, slowly but surely the old southern Democrats turned to Reagan Republicans and finally to the Republican party. The Democrats in the south are considered to be the party of the negroes now.

So back to Mexico. When some Mexicans ask me why I live in Mexico I tell them I like to surf and corruption costs less. Some have asked me "You mean there is corruption in the US?"....no seriously.


sfmacaws


Jun 11, 2005, 6:17 PM

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Re: [Rolly] More Dumb Questions People Ask About Mexico

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For looks of shock from sophisticates in LA or SF, try telling them that you and your 'girlfriend' spend half the year driving around Mexico and Central America in an RV. "Without a man?" is not uncommon followed by "aren't you afraid of banditos?" I've gotten both of these comments from anglos who actually live in Mexico but never leave their little world. To be honest, I've often gotten the first comment from mexican women. It is an eye opener for some of them to think of women going off and doing things on their own. Of course, now that I have a dog named Hombre, I usually introduce him to them and we have a laugh. This is not done if there are any men around.

I'm not saying it is racism but Mexicans themselves are much more up front about racial differences and often make statements that would be a social death in parts of the US. In their openness they more resemble the old southener than a politically correct Californian.


Jonna - Mérida, Yucatán




Bubba

Jun 11, 2005, 6:19 PM

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Re: [Esteban] More Dumb Questions People Ask About Mexico

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Esteban:

My remark about the reaction of the person with whom I spoke affiliated with the Hollywood chapter of the Young Democrats was meant to demonstrate the universality of bigotry. He was stereotyping a young white (he presumed for we had not met) Alabamian who had just come off of the dangerous front lines of the civil rights struggle (as an advocate for equal rights for all Alabamians) in the streets of Downtown Birmingham in the mid-60s. And he had done so simply because I was a white southerner. He never asked me my political stance but simply assumed I was a racist because of my heritage. Please do not not presume to lecture me about southern politics. The notion that people of any race in the south are more racist than like people in L.A. is nonsense. Racism was alive and well in both places then and remains so today. There was no more racist organization in the U.S. than the paramilitary LAPD in the 1960s.

When I got to L.A. just after the Watts riots, I moved to the small community of Hermosa Beach just south of Santa Monica. I was pleased to be out of the oppressive racist environment of the 1960s deep south or so I thought. I found a realtor and sought an apartment near the beach. I was interested in nothing more than good looking beach babes and jazz at the Lighthouse at the Hermosa pier. The realtor, knowing I was from Alabama, said to me offhandedly:

" Now don't you worry y'hear, the Hermosa Beach police department has a cop stationed at the city limits at all times and if any of those N-----s try to come into Hermosa Beach from South Central we will kick their asses."

These remarks were totally unsolicited by me and hearing them was the beginning of my progress toward wisdom. I was starting to get my education in the universality of racism everywhere on the planet.

I grew up in the segregated deep south of the 1940s and 1950s, and I never met more racist people than today's middle and upper class mixed race or European Mexicans in their attitudes toward their indigenous brethren. One cannot stop this but one can try to lead an exemplary personal life by treating others with respect no matter their station in life.

Maybe a better title for this thread would be "Dumb assumptions People make About Other People out of Personal Ignorance"


alex .

Jun 13, 2005, 7:25 AM

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Re: [zoeq1000] not the :Real Mexico" again

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If someone blindfolded you and dropped you off in Juarez, Nuevo Laredo, Mexicali, or Tijuana then you removed the blindfold I guarantee you that you would not think that you are in the US, or France, or Afganistan. There would be absolutely no doubt that you are in Mexico.
Alex


Esteban

Jun 13, 2005, 7:45 AM

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Re: [alex .] not the :Real Mexico" again

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Then again, if you were dropped off (under the same circumstances) in certain parts of South Tucson or in Guadalupe, in Phoenix, would you know you were in the US (not taking in to account you could read the license plates)? For those of you unfamiliar with those parts of the US, it's very rare anyone speaks English, there are carts serving food at night and they look like so many smaller Mexican towns.


not_ally

Jun 13, 2005, 9:03 AM

Post #21 of 40 (7744 views)

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Re: [Esteban] not the :Real Mexico" again

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Bubba can be a cranky old so-and-so, but he's the furthest thing from being a racist. I think his observations about racial and cultural differences are very perceptive and usually spot-on.

I'm always amazed at how many gringos SOB freely make "these people" comments to me when they figure out I'm American, it must be way worse for those of you who look like more traditional versions. It used to happen in the States, too (people making comments about African Americans, Jews, Mexicans, whatever.) Amazing how stupid humans can be.
----------------------------
"The first question I ask myself when something doesn't seem to be beautiful is why do I think it's not beautiful. And very shortly I discover there is no reason." John Cage


esperanza

Jun 13, 2005, 9:32 AM

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Re: [not_ally] not the :Real Mexico" again

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USED TO happen in the States? My aching head. It still happens constantly in the States. I don't want to quote chapter and verse, because racism, homophobia, sexism, sectism, all the -isms and anti-whatevers, make me want to strangle people--but trust me, it's still rampant in the States and those who carry that seed inside them move to Mexico with their
-isms intact. It always amazes me how much anti-Mexican sentiment exists even among expatriates living in Mexico.

If those people don't want to be here, may they for heaven's sake go somewhere else.

http://www.mexicocooks.typepad.com









not_ally

Jun 13, 2005, 11:28 AM

Post #23 of 40 (7704 views)

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Re: [not_ally] not the :Real Mexico" again

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Oh, I'm sure it still happens NOB, but since I live in Mexico now, I just encounter the SOB version. I guess I wasn't clear, I *was* talking about hearing the "these people" comments from ex-pats here in Mexico, concerning Mexicans. That's why I find it so unbelievable, that they (the ex-pats) live in this beautiful country, which is made so by the citizens of their host nation, and then complain about all the things that presumably drew them here in the first place.
----------------------------
"The first question I ask myself when something doesn't seem to be beautiful is why do I think it's not beautiful. And very shortly I discover there is no reason." John Cage


tony


Jun 13, 2005, 1:46 PM

Post #24 of 40 (7648 views)

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Re: [Carron] More Dumb Questions ISNT IT REALLY ABOUT MONEY??

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I would like to express another view - different from the people that think Mexico is dirt poor and different from those that want to show Mexico isnt poor. It seems both sides are talking about how much money Mexico has.
When I read if Mexico has this or doesn't have that, I think "SO WHAT!" Is it some great accomplishment if a country
is material "rich"? People have a tendency to judge countries and inhabitants of those countries based on what the modern standard of living is.
What does hot water/cold water/10 pesos a day/ tortillas/ donkeys in the street/potholes/ or any other silly means calculate
into the "Value" of a country? The answer - IT DOESN"T. It like comparing hamburgers to tacos. How do you compare buying French brie at the local upscale market (US) to having queso ranchero delivered to your door(MEXICO)? How many rich people have
the luxury of having fresh hot handmade torillas delivered everyday. How many mexicans buy a new car every couple of years?
What does it mean?? And frankly speaking most of the world cannot live at the same level as the US simply because there isn't enough resources, not because one country is "superior" to the other.
I am basically "over" trying to justify one country's economic position vs another as a indicator of value. Anyone want to join me?
Tony

"We don't see things as they are, we see things as we are."


alex .

Jun 13, 2005, 1:55 PM

Post #25 of 40 (7643 views)

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Re: [Esteban] drivers actually stopping

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for the stop signs might give it away 8<)
Alex
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