¡Ask A Mexican! for Jan 21, 2010
One man's take on his culture's stereotypes
Thursday, January 21, 2010
Half-Mexican here. I was fortunate enough to catch your column while I was visiting for the holidays. I have a comment in regards to [the gabacho who wrote the letter] Sick of All of You. He said, “No other country babysits Americans the way Americans babysit Mexicans.” I disagree. I’ve been living in Spain for the past seven months as an English teacher, and he’s greatly mistaken. All of Europe and practically the entire world caters to Americans. The international business language is English. Almost all signs are posted in the native language of the country and English. I’m ashamed that our country sees it as a burden to learn or tolerate another language. A majority of the world speaks English as their second language in order to cater to the American tourists and business industry. I just wanted to share this, from my foreign living experience. The world caters to us the U.S.; I think we can spare a few bus stop translations. --Life in the Afternoon
Dear Mexican: I was under the impression that Mexico actually had a LARGER middle class than most Latin American nations, consisting of doctors and lawyers, among all sorts of other professions. Mexico may have a far greater problem with poverty than the U.S., but compared to its southern neighbors, it’s relatively bourgeois. Do you know if there’s any truth to my supposition? --Tío Moneybags
Dear Gabacho: No, you’re correcto – in a way. The World Bank’s 2008 country rankings on gross national income per capita lists Mexico as tops in Latin America, but an IMD International survey puts Mexico as the país with the largest percentage of its population (22.1 percent) below the median income line, which suggest rampant social stratification (número three on that list? Los Estados Unidos, with 17 percent of nosotros making less than the middle-class – so much for our superiority!). A 2006 BusinessWeek article estimated 40 percent of Mexicans were in the middle class, and that really isn’t surprising. “All sorts of other professions”? Raza, repeat after me: MEXICO IS A NORMAL COUNTRY. Too many narco-killings, for sure, and too little social mobility, but it’s firmly in the bottom rungs of the First World – and definitely no Guatemala.