Monday, December 08, 2003


A reader has picked out a rather fun passage from V.D. Hanson's recent book: 'Mexifornia: A State of Becoming':

"So there has indeed been complicity on the part of Mexico in the great migration north. And there has been a shameful and unforgivable absence of honesty on the part of our own political and academic establishment in legitimizing Mexico's venality. The Mexican government looks on the exportation of its poorest Indians as an economic issue: remittances from illegal aliens reach the billions of dollars and so prop up the Mexican government and help feed the starving who otherwise would look in vain to a nonexistent safety net at home.

There is also an element of racism involved_one oddly ignored in the face-charged debates in contemporary America. For the most part it is not light-skinned Mexicans of Spanish heritage who are coming to the United States, but rather the poorest and brownest, largely Indian_and this apparently suits an elite in Mexico City that does not wish to explain why the whiter people of Mexico are better off than those who are browner. Indeed, if one were studiously to watch any of the Spanish-language television stations_whether owned and operated by Mexican nationals or by Mexican-Americans_one would surmise that surely the Ku Klux Klan had a hand in the programming. Most are either white or coated with white pancake makeup; nearly every prominent woman is dyed blonde; every privileged host and hostess is about as Anglo-looking as can be. Yet all thee characters who are subservient_taxi drivers, maids, gardeners, "the help"_resemble the hundreds of thousands of darker-skinned people who risk their lives to enter the United States illegally.

I have met wealthy elites, academics and journalist from Mexico City who privately laugh that they are exporting their Indians and Mestizos, their unwanted, into the United States. Their smile disappears when I reply that we instead figure that they suppose to be riffraff are the real cream of Mexican society: frontiersmen and women whose endurance and courage; are good prerequisites for Americanization, and who in fact are superior people to those who oppress them at home. So while the powers in Mexico City regard departure as good politics_a valve of sorts that releases dangerous pressures rather than allow explosions of the type that occurred in the country's earlier checkered history_in an odd way the joke ultimately is on them. Within twenty years the poor, brown Indian alien could enjoy a material existence in America superior to that of the upper-class white Mexican in Mexico City."


No comments: