Captain México: Thoughts on cultural clichès

A video on Captain Mexico portraying a typical mexican caused indignation in this country. How much of thruth is there on it?

I don´t know what is the perception that the world has about México, for what I ask whenever I have the chance to, people normally tend to know Tequila and Cancun (and in latest years obviously mafia) . Makes me wonder why they don´t say other stuff like hard workers, warm people, delicious food, etc.

But I really don´t care much about this, because I like to think that people will build opinions based on their own experience. So I try to contribute to a change of this paradigm simply by being proud of my culture, working hard and behave like a civilized person (just as civilized as we Mexicans behave when we cross the border into the United States like buckle up, respect lights, stops, basic stuff), so that people who has never been to México can have a good impression of my country and to show them that there are many people in Mexico really trying to make a change.

So as usual, many Mexicans are “offended” of how the world pictures us, but I think that every country has its own stigmas. The world sees Mexicans as lazy, wearing a sombrero drinking tequila or taking a “siesta” under a nopal tree. But then again, under this perspective, Italians are mafiosi, Germans are cold, Colombians are cocaine traffickers, French people don’t shower, etc.

How did we built this impressions? was it well earned, is it true, false, exaggerated?… this would be part of a different discussion about the influence of media, communications, and yes, generalizations and stories of people that traveled dozens or hundreds of years way back then when there were no Facebooks or Instagrams to inform everyone what they were up to.

Perhaps generalizing is just human nature and certainly stereotypes were more representative of a culture in the past, I mean come on, the world grew from one to seven billion people in 200 years, but this doesn’t mean that they are still true today like I wrote in “Bank Holidays and Supermarkets”.

Therefore, when I see or hear about the world making fun of México I don´t get offended, simply because it’s just up to us to change the impressions we think are wrong or off-dated about our culture. If we want to be know for being punctual, let´s imitate the Germans. We want to be perceived as ordered and methodical, let´s imitate the Japanese. We want to be perceived as hard workers?, let’s imitate the Chinese.

There’s this phrase saying be the change you wish to see in the world, but if we want everyone to keep thinking about Mexico what they do today and feel offended by it?… well, in such case, let´s just keep being “traditional” Mexicans…

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Mexican blogger living abroad and writing about experiences of traveling around México, Italy, India and Spain.

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