I have been laughing at Stuff White People Like for like a month now. The site is pretty hilarious and IMHO very well written. I would give you some of my favorite posts, but I think it is worth just reading several of them if you have the chance. Reading that site has made me think of one of the first essays I wrote in my first English class. People that do not associate with other races miss a lot. So after a weird conversation with a couple of Mexicans I decided to write, Stuff White People Miss.
To most people in the US, Mexico is just a dirt down south of the border where you can go see a donkey show. It is also the place everyone runs to when the law is on your tail. Some more sophisticated individuals have actually travelled to our friend to the south and been to Cancun or Puerto Vallarta and think it is an awesome vacation destination and they could totally see themselves living there. What people don’t realize is that the country is huge and it has many different groups of people. Just like the people on the coasts look at midwesterners, people from the capital aka Chilangos look at the rest of Mexico.
One little known fact about hispanics is that overall people from different countries have stereotypes about each other. It goes from the joke that Colombians are just drug dealers to the point of not associating with each other because of their country of origin. When living in Chicago I was told a reason Puerto Ricans do not like Mexicans is because they come to work for lower wages, Puerto Ricans being American citizens take that very personally because someone in their family might have lost a job in the past. Mexican people are not the bad guys of this post, but they do seem to be center stage. I think it is mostly because it is the predominant country of origin that people think of when you say hispanic.
We buy calling cards to make calls to Colombia. It is cheaper than have a plan through a phone carrier still. It is almost a fun trading card game to see which one will give you more actual time when you are making a phone call. I ask the attendant at the store which one is working better recently and most of the time he will have a suggestion.
While waiting in line to buy my card a group of Chilangos was in front of me. They kept on looking back and later I found out that I looked a lot like one of their brothers… not sure if that was true or not. I am not sure why but they thought I was from Guadalajara. I took it as a compliment because the people from Guadalajara I have met have been pretty nice, but I am not sure it could have been an insult. They were young and were just being very open about what they said. I corrected them and told them I was from Colombia and this is when the difference between white people and hispanics begin.
Even the most ignorant person in the US has seen a couple of movies that tells them that Colombians are the drug dealers of the movie world. Just like the Russians are the nuclear arms dealers and the British are the cunning villains. Colombians worst representation comes from Scarface where they are portrayed as savages that want to use a chainsaw on Al Pacino.
The hispanic world has a “better” source for information, Telemundo. There Colombians are painted as violent kidnappers that will kill you if you look at them wrong. While it is true that Colombia has its issues and it is dealing with the FARC, most of its people is very removed from kidnappers, murderers and drug dealers.
The Chilangos took a couple of steps back almost looking scared and started joking about how they should be careful or they would get kidnapped. It was half joking, half kind of ignorant behaviour but I did not do much more than just smile. They confirmed they were Chilangos and told me I look a lot like one of their brothers.
Its funny when people put all of hispanics or even every Mexican into one stereotype box. Even within Colombian there are many cities and we are not all alike. If you like, or dislike me it means nothing when you talk to another Colombian. Even though we might have a lot of values in common, we could also have nothing in common. I just would love for people to drop the labels and start looking at people in an individual basis, but I guess that is still kind of a crazy dream at this point.