Friday, July 11, 2008

The Most Hated Gringo in the World Report - 1

I've decided to begin a new writing gig along a column-like line. If you haven't been following my articles and Blog posts, I have earned the reputation of being The Most Hated Gringo, The Most Despised Expat, and The Most Detested American in the entire World. At first I used to get emails (all anonymous—did you know you can send emails anonymously?) telling me that I was The Most Hated Gringo in just Mexico. It changed through the years and I am now hated on a global scale.

In addition, I am The Most Culturally Illiterate American ever to step foot over the border, and, to make it even more of a distinction, I have been told on more than one occasion that these dubious titles were bestowed upon me not only by the Gringolandians of Mexico, but every Mexican who has ever lived, currently living, or ever will live...WOW!

How can I not, therefore, begin to live up to my honored title? How can I not write a frequent column of My Thoughts, My Opining, and My Polemically Based Editorializing about My Life in Guanajuato, Mexico?

What got me going on this theme is that I saw a very rich Gringa in Guanajuato walking along a street today with a Mexican woman. They were chatting away, of course, in English only. The Gringa is rich because her hubby is a real estate mogul currently buying up the city of Guanajuato. Neither of them speaks Spanish.

The significance of this is that when I get hate mail from my dear fans, they are very careful not to reveal their names but do tell me where they live. They always add that all their friends are Mexican and these friends are in agreement that I should be run out of town, but only after a good tar and feathering and perhaps a sound beating for good measure.

Let me point out more of my absolute Cultural Illiteracy regarding these Gringolandians' claims of having nothing but Mexican friends who agree with them that I should die (not an exaggeration, by the way).

If the average Jane and Joe Gringolandian are actually telling the truth that "all their friends in Guanajuato" are Mexican, here is what that really means:

Since the vast majority of Gringolandians hail from America where there is only a 4% - 9% bilingual rate, it is a safe bet that they are, as are their fellow Gringolandians all over Mexico, monolingual. They are on a vast scale, Spanish Illiterates. This means that "all their Mexican friends" are bilingual and can speak English.

For a Mexican to speak English, it is another safe bet that they learned it while working in America as cheap labor or they are of the more highly educated upper class in Mexico.

There is no way that a Mexican who learned English as a laborer in America is going to be chumming around with a rich, upper class American Gringa in this town or any other Mexican town. The differences in socio-economic statuses are so entrenched in the culture that you will not see this occurring under any sort of normal circumstance.

In other words, a woman who works as a maid is not going to pal around with a rich Gringa. The maid, though she might speak English perfectly, would not be comfortable socializing with someone from a higher social and economic class.

If you see or hear some Gringolandian claiming to have a plethora of Mexican friends with whom they can commiserate over how evilly shameful Doug Bower is and how can they get rid of him, this means you have a nefarious coupling of Gringos and Mexicans who are of the same Socio-Economic class.

The point here is that upper class, highly educated, bilingual Mexicans could be guilty of not escaping their socio-economic biases when talking about Mexico and those who live, as Americans are wont to say, on the other side of the tracks.

I know of a woman, one of moderate means, who was talking with one of her bilingual Mexican women friends about the problems she was having with her hired help. The Mexican woman told the Gringa that in order to "control" the servants, you have to treat them like animals.

Now, is this to say that all Mexicans of means have this attitude toward the less fortunate? Of course not. I should not have to issue this disclaimer.

Hopefully, the point is well made that if the only people you, the monolingual Gringo, hang out with are the upper-class, English-equipped, educated Mexican, just how will you know if what they tell you about the culture isn't heavy laden with all manner of biases?

Here is something that is sure to bring all those anonymous emails and death threats (for real…not a lie) coming:

Mexicans living in the northern states in the Republic do not hold those in Central Mexico and all points south in very high regard. We have talked with transplants to Guanajuato from some of the northern states like Chihuahua, Zacatecas, and Durango. What they have to say about Guanajuato is not at all flattering.

One thing they mention too often for it to be happenstance is that they regard the social climate in Guanajuato as "tight." It is what Americans would say about people like the Mountain Hillbillies of the Ozarks…that they are "clannish." It is harder than nails to get Mexicans in this town to accept you into their homes for a cup of coffee, much less have them call you Paisano.

After having heard this from those in both the lower and higher economic strata, I have written about this on more than one occasion, only to garner a few rounds of threats through the "Coward's-Way Anonymous-Email Service."

And, how would I have been able to discern this apart from being able to ask in Spanish—I couldn't!

That's why I write what I do. You can't trust what the Gringolandians think they know about Mexico if they so ignore the culture and insult the people by not learning the language. If they can't ask all Mexicans of any class what it's all about, then the Gringolandian's view will be forever skewed.

Don't you think so?


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