They come to enjoy the benefits of the country, its political freedom, its economic advantages, and the chance to live the good life. Yet, they refuse to participate in the culture of its people. They make no effort to learn the language, they isolate themselves within their own communities while expecting the locals to accommodate them in the traditions of their former country. If this sounds familiar it is. Ironically this is not the typical complaint of U.S citizens railing against the attitudes of Mexican immigrants in the United States, instead it is the audacious complaint of many U.S expats towards Mexicans IN MEXICO!
Mexico has the greatest number of U.S. retirees than any other country in the world. You would think that statistic alone would engender a closer bond between the two cultures. Unfortunately, the attitude of a great many U.S transplants suggests quite the opposite.
A telling example of this attitude is evident whenever gringos complain of their inablitiy to communicate with mexicans due to language difficulties. Their ironic excuse for this inability to commuinicate is that the Mexicans do not speak English. Rarely does the U.S person say, ‘I don’t speak Spanish.’ Can you imagine the outrage in the U.S if the roles were reversed, and it was the Mexican who complained that the U.S person didn’t speak Spanish?
Another example of condescenion is the constant comparisons made between the way things are done in the States as opposed to Mexico. This view seems to suggest that the way things are done in the States is the way things should be done in Mexico. Imagine how that view would go over if the roles were reversed in the U.S.
That being said, I acknowledge there are many U.S expatriats who do not share those condescending views. In fact, many of us who are more informed of Mexican culture often strive to enlighten our lesser informed brethren expats to do likewise. I believe many U.S citizens who behave badly do not do so deliberately. They are merely unconscious of the fact as to just how insulting their behaviour might be taken. I don’t believe they are bad people by nature. They’ve merely been programmed by the culture of which they were nurtured. Perhaps proper care and feeding by those of us who are more sensitive to these unintentional insults would serve them well by teaching them to accept others the way they are.
Anyway, that’s my rant.
My next blog: August 31, 2012
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