I caught grief when I wrote a column about Mexican Beggars from none other than another Mexican. This fellow was incensed that I, an American, would dare to point out trouble spots in Mexican Culture. I mean, really, what am I but just another piece of gringo scum?.My writing objective while living in Mexico not only has been to write the fantastic things about this country, her people, and the culture, but also about the things that are not so cool, fine, or appealing.
Frankly, there are things in this culture that Mexico could afford to put out on the curb for the trashman to haul off. America, too, could afford to do the same with many issues and practices that make America a really scary place in which to live. One issue is America's hatred of Mexicans, something I find particularly disgusting.The above-mentioned Mexican gentleman wrote a letter to the editor of the magazine in which my column appeared.
I actually wrote a letter to the editor myself about this gentleman's letter to the editor. It was the first time I've bothered to do that.It felt great!.
I wanted to explore what I said about this person's complaint. He acted as though I had no business writing about the weaknesses in the culture. I suppose he would be right in leveling an accusation of hypocrisy if I were hypocritical in the things I wrote. The charge of hypocrisy is one you use when the person saying nasty things about you is practicing the very things he finds appalling.But, I get up for pregnant women riding the bus.Here's the thing: I specifically mentioned that here in central Mexico, where my wife and I live, the government has to run public service announcements on all the local television stations about showing common courtesy while using public transportation.
One commercial features a pregnant woman boarding a bus with a young toddler in tow. No one will get up for this woman to sit down. The person who finally gets up so this woman can sit down is a handicapped man on a pair of crutches. The stations play these commercials frequently because of the immense problem that exist in the buses. Handicapped people, pregnant women, and infants are being seriously injured because M E X I C A N S will not get up when someone in need boards the bus.
Logic dictates that they do not have these public service commercials on television for the fun of it. They have them on because there is a huge problem.So, this Mexican guy wrote a letter to the editor complaining about my column, which pointed out some problems in the Mexican culture.
What really got to me was the American expats living in San Miguel de Allende, who, in a furious rage, passed my article around town. They deluged me with emails, called me a bigot, and told me I should retreat back to the United States for my discriminatory article. Here is how little they know the country in which they are living.My wife had an incident on the bus today. The bus was crowded but she managed to score a seat.
At the next stop, a small family boarded the bus. There was a husband, a pregnant wife, and two toddlers. Not one M E X I C A N would surrender his seat for this pregnant woman or her toddlers.The couple stared at my wife and evidently thought she could not understand Spanish. The wife said something to the effect of, "Why won't that gringa get up for me"?.Eventually, when my wife saw that NONE of the countrymen of these people would get up for this woman, she got up and surrendered her seat for the pregnant lady.
My wife is not a young woman. But yet they expected her, the gringa, to get up.When my wife got up and turned around, she saw two healthy teenaged boys behind her who were playing with their cell phones rather than surrendering their seats for this woman?OR FOR MY MIDDLE-AGED WIFE.My wife, on arriving at the school where she teaches, was livid. She asked her M E X I C A N director why Mexicans expect gringos to surrender their seats when their countrymen refuse?.
Out of the mouth of a Mexican woman came:."This is how Mexicans treat one another. They think, 'Oh she's pregnant, it's not my fault or my problem.' They expect Americans to show common courtesy. They've been taught that Americans are polite and more respectful.
They expect out of gringos what they don't expect from their own countrymen.".(I have been told this so many times from Mexicans that I could have recited the script.).
Do not miss this point. This is a Mexican woman telling my gringa wife this bit of cultural information about her fellow countrymen.I do not know which wearies me more: the Mexicans who act offended when I write about the problems, or the American expats who live in artificial bubbles in cities that are no longer even Mexican (San Miguel de Allende) and who take such umbrage at my gall for reporting the truth.But, that's Mexico. Love or leave it; but that is how it is!.
OUR NEW BOOK.Guanajuato, México--New Book offers survival tips in the Land of Frogs.Guanajuato, México ? According to the 2000 Statistical Yearbook of the Immigration and Naturalization Service, published by the Bureau of Citizenship and Immigration Service, an estimated 300,000 Americans would expatriate to other countries each year between 2000 and 2005.
Some estimates predict the number will continue to increase each year after 2005. Americans are leaving the country in droves, most of whom settle in Mexico. The authors of The Plain Truth about Living in Mexico have written a new book targeting a specific area of Mexico where Americans are moving as expatriates, study abroad students, or retirees. This new book is titled, GUANAJUATO, MÉXICO: Your Expat, Study Abroad, and Vacation Survival Manual in the Land of Frogs.http://mexicanliving.access.
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By: Douglas Bower