¡Ask A Mexican! for Jul 22, 2010
One man's take on his culture's stereotypes
Thursday, July 22, 2010
Dear Gabacho: Historically? Mexico has long had the second-largest community of Mormons in the world after the United States – official LDS figures estimate 1.2 million members live in Mexico, an increase from the 783,000 estimated in 1999. This community has existed for almost 135 years, created after polygamous Mormons who wanted to keep their multiple wives moved down south because, hey, anything goes down Mexico way, right?
Sociologically? Mormons are masters of proselytizing – the increase in numbers “shows that a church group can produce a short-term phenomenal growth rate by committing resources to missionary activity,” according to Professor James W. Dow in his 2003 scholarly paper, “The Growth of Protestant Religions in Mexico and Central America.”
Theologically? My understanding of Mormonism is that it places an emphasis on the family, encourages couples to have as many children as possible, stresses the dominion of the husband over the family, and hates homosexuals. If those attributes aren’t appealing to Mexicans, then I’m Moroni himself.Why do Mexicans from Jalisco look down on Mexicans from other parts of Mexico? --El Gallo Negro
Dear Black Rooster: Because tapatiós are the Texans of Mexico: an arrogant, brilliant, overly patriotic group that government officials romanticize as the id of the national psyche, and whose societal characteristics and traditions became easily identifiable stereotypes to the rest of the world. Déjame give you an example: You know how a lot of gabachos assume all Mexicans wear massive sombreros, love the tequila, play mariachi, and have the potential to grow mustaches as thick as the Amazon rain forest? That’s because all those stereotypes originated from Jalisco, the birthplace of mariachi and tequila, where the native sombrero is huge and brimmed, and most of the men can grow big bigotes because of the Spanish blood inside them. Mexican officials starting in the 1930s specifically picked Jalisco to immortalize in films and other cultural exports so that the rest of the world assumed all Mexicans were just the same.