Mexican Stereotypes

So let me start with less controversial and well received stereotypes and then gradually move on to the more offensive stereotypes.

Mexican Parenting

I love this topic. Everyone knows that the western style parenting is so forgiving and thoughtful, the whole paradigm behind it is this: “I brought this kid into this world and I will do everything I can to make him or her happy, even if it means that I have to work twice as hard and that my kid might become a spoiled little brat.”

Asian Parenting is very strict and the paradigm behind it is this: “My kids have to work so hard to achieve all the things that I dreamed of but I couldn’t achieve myself”.

Now comes Mexican parenting, just watch these hilarious videos about Mexican parenting as described by the comedian, George Lopez:

Mexican Food

When you order a Shawarma sandwich here in Dubai or back in my home country, Lebanon, (i.e. thousands of miles away from Mexico and USA where stereotyping is a sensitive topic), you may order the regular type of Shawarma or the Mexican type of Shawarma (Ofcource, the Mexican type is always synonymous to the spicy version).

Mexican people love spicy food and surprisingly, both Mexican and non-Mexican people seem to agree about this stereotype.

What irritates the hell out of Mexican people is stereotypes like “Mexcians only eat beans or Tortlillas or Tacos or Borritos or Fajitas”. I am sure most Mexican people won’t mind a conservative stereotype as such:

Many Mexican people love to eat beans. What pisses everyone of is the use of “ALL”.

Mexican Food

Mexican Food
From Flickr
User: Tristen
Original: https://flic.kr/p/a1h5XR

Mexicans are lazy

Since most Mexican stereotypes originate in the United States, let me dissect this stereotype in two halves, keeping in mind that I have no first hand experience in this area and I am just relaying the general beliefs based on my research:

  1. Americans from Mexican Origin: reading through many Yahoo Q&A and Reddit threads, I noticed that almost everyone agrees that first generation Mexican Americans are very hardworking; so where does this “lazy reputation” come from? Apparently, it is the result of the clash between America’s over-achieving working culture and the Mexican Siesta habits, one of many Spanish influences on the Mexican ways.
  2. Mexicans in Mexico: Again from all of the comments I have read, I came to a conclusion that it is believed that the poorer-class Mexican population is very hard working in contrast to the middle and upper class Mexicans are more relaxed and simply pay the lower-class to do their work.

I like hypatiakierkegaard’s answer, here is a quote:

I lived in Mexico for a while and the Mexicans will be the first to admit that they are lax. Now, when they say this, they are referring to the fact that they’re not going to worry too much about doing things exactly right. They don’t care too much about deadlines, for example. They also claim that they are mainly concerned with watching TV, eating and maybe having sex. That’s actually one of the things I love about the Mexicans, they don’t take themselves too seriously and they are very honest. On the other hand, once they get to the USA and start working, that’s a completely different story. They have a reputation in the USA for being very hard workers, and deservedly so. USA employers *like* hiring Mexicans. If they are willing to cross a desert and risk their lives, they are hard workers. They do this because they want to work.

Mexicans have many children

The fertility rate in Mexico is 2.3 child births / woman VS 2.4  child births/ Woman worldwide and 2.0 / Woman in the United States. So keeping that in mind,  I was objectively saying to my self, this stereotype couldn’t be true, Mexican women have only a slightly higher fertility rate than the National average (15% higher)… but being who I am and being culturally curious, I dug deeper to find out this.

According to the CDC’s National Vital Statistics Report (Page 23), here are the birth rates per 1000 people per year for Mexican Americans compared to White Americans:

 Year Average birth rates per 1000 people (Mexican American) Average birth rates per 1000 people (White American)
2000 25.0 12.2
2001 24.7 11.9
2002 24.3 11.7
2003 24.6 11.8
2004 24.8 11.7
2005 24.5 11.6
2006 24.6 11.7
2007 23.9 11.7
2008 21.7 11.5
2009 19.8 11.2
2010 18.2 10.9
2011 16.9 10.8
2012 16.3 10.7

So, to put that table into practical terms, a Mexican couple married in year 2000, is likely to have had twice as many children as a white couple married at the exact same time. This leads to me to conclude that this stereotype is true for Americans from Mexican origin and is less applicable to Mexicans living in Mexico.

Mexican Women Stereotypes

Physical features and general appearance

In general, both Mexican Men and Women are stereotyped  to be short and to have dark skin and hair. This could accurately describe some of Mexico’s population but not all and that is why this stereotype seems to be very upsetting to most Mexican people.

Mexico is demographically very diverse, having 9% of its population from European origin (mostly Spanish, others include British, Irish, Italian, German, French and Dutch), 30 % pure or predominantly Amerindians, 60 % Mestizo ( Mixed Spanish and Amerindians), 1 % other and this includes immigrants from the Middle Eastern countries like Lebanon and Syria and from Asian countries like China and Korea.

So you simply can’t paint a stereotypical image of a Mexican girl, here are few photos from Flickr, all photos are for Mexican girls and they look nothing like each other:

Beautiful Mexican Girl

Beautiful Mexican Girl, If I had to guess, I would say she is from Spanish Origin
From Flickr, user: nhojleunamme
Original: https://flic.kr/p/dNyRn6

 

Beautiful Mexican Girl

Beautiful Mexican Girl, probably from Northern European origins
From Flickr
User: nhojleunamme
Original: https://flic.kr/p/9kCUK7

 

Very attractive eyes

Very attractive eyes
She looks Some how Middle Eastern, Iranian, or Indian
From Flickr
User: Esparta Palma
Original: https://flic.kr/p/6iRhQ3

 

A street juicer in Guadalajara Mexico

A street juicer in Guadalajara Mexico, possibly from Mestizo ethnicity 
From Flickr
User: Wonderlane
Original: https://flic.kr/p/3s1NK

 

Mexican girl

Mexican girl
From Flickr
User: Mindaugas Danys
Original: https://flic.kr/p/6cd5sX

Character and personality stereotypes

This is the tricky part. If you don’t live in Mexico, then you probably see Mexican women through the binoculars of the media.  Have you watched “Devious Maids”? I love it, it is very entertaining, but it is obvious that it sheds a light only on a small fraction of the hardworking class of the Mexican American population living in the United States.

Here are few very common stereotypes about Mexican girls,  there is certainly a great overlap between Mexican girls stereotypes and Latin girls stereotypes. I do not have enough exposure to the Mexican culture or enough Mexican connections to deny or confirm any of these stereotypes, so I will simply list what I’ve read, heard and watched (in my own words):

  • Mexican girls are very passionate
  • Love dancing and love music
  • Possess a strange mix of sexuality and religious reservedness
  • Are often seen by non-Mexican guys as exotic beautiful girls, sexy accent, wild, add to that the occasional Spanish magic… makes the perfect mix of temptation and beauty.
  • Are jealous girl friends
  • Are Family oriented and good Moms
  • Are good cooks (sorry, I know this stereotypes pisses you girls off)

So what about the girlfriend experience? I like how this guy described dating a Mexican girl:

The first thing you need to realize is that Mexican woman are more used to being spoiled by their man. You will be expected to pay for dinner, and she may take great offense at the idea of splitting the bill. If you want to get to date number two, you will need to get in the habit of opening doors, offering her your coat if you are cold, and walking on the street side of the sidewalk, preferably holding her hand, even if you just met her.

Sounds to me like this is the case almost everywhere except for advanced economies where women are very independent and see them selves as equals to men. Non the less, I haven’t been to Mexico, so I have no option but to trust that guy’s judgement and observations.

Mexican Men Stereotypes

Most of the harsh Mexican stereotypes are addressed towards Mexican men rather than Mexican women. Here are few:

Related to Clothing

  • “Mexican men wear white pants, cowboy boots, leather belt, cowboy hat, gold chains”. I am guessing that this is true for 5 % of the Mexican people? or is this just a Hollywood inflicted stereotypes?
  • “Men wear sombreros and pointy shoes”, that is possibly true for Mexicans living in rural areas and is definitely not the case in big Mexican cities.
Man wearing sombreros

Man wearing sombreros
From Flickr
User: Neal Stewart
Original: https://flic.kr/p/7YXM8U

Related to Behavior

  • “Mexican men cheat on their wives, yet they are very possessive and controlling”. This stereotype is very common, it certainly can’t be true for all Mexican men.
  • “Mexican men expect their wives to do all the house chores and are very demanding”. I believe that this stereotype is true for older generations; only partially true for newer and more educated younger Mexican generations.

Music

Again, the whole world is a small village now. Have you watched any of the seasons of “The Voice Kids Germany” on Youtube ? In that show, about 90 % of the songs performed by the talented children are English and not German. Why? Because everyone nowadays listens to all kinds of music. Statements such as, “Mexicans only listen to Mariachi or Ranchera”, are just silly.

Speaking of The Voice Kids Germany, I would like to share with you my favorite song on the show:

Alcoholism & Tequila

According to Wikipedia, the average annual alcohol consumption per person in Mexico is 5.6 liters; that makes Mexico the 31st country out of 33 countries in the OECD in terms of alcohol consumption. It is safe to conclude that the stereotype about Mexicans being heavy drinkers is wrong.


 

I hope you enjoyed reading. Please leave a comment and let me know If I missed anything or If my research or conclusions were not accurate. From previous experiences, I know that most of my readers find the comments more entertaining than the original post.

P.S. : I read all the comments, I try to reply whenever possible but because of lack of time, my reply might come pretty late (Sorry in advance).

Advertisements