At the beginning of this project, I preconceive the idea of the stereotype of Mexicans in the United States. As a Mexican I have the opportunity to describe my experiences in this country, as well as any student who has a concrete notion of his or her roots -African-American, Asian, Latino, or other.
A few days ago I was in the school cafeteria when one of the students asked me, “I wonder if you can answer me some doubts that I have about Mexico." Excited for his curiosity about the country where I grew up, his questions established my disappointment. “Do you still use horses as transportation? Does your mother make tacos every day for dinner? Are there movie theaters in Mexico? What kind of entertainment do you have? Why all the people in Mexico name his/her child Maria or Jose?” The seriousness of his questions rule out any possibility of laughing. Trying to be as serious as he was, I answered to him "For transportation I used to take the bus, taxis or my family's car. I ate tacos every two months. We have as many cinemas as you have Starbucks in this country. I cannot tell you in what we entertain ourselves, because the list can be so long that I won't have enough time to mention everything. For what I know, in my school I was the only person named Maria Jose, and my name is from Spain."
When I finished answering all of his questions he was stunned. His astonishment was my disappointment.
Watching the majority of the American television programs, Mexicans are seen mostly as workers with low salaries and with a large number of individuals in their families. Or as domestic workers who end up in clandestine relations with the owners of the House (Anglo-Saxon generally).
I was exploring the perspective of individuals of other nationalities based in the Mexican stereotype. That is why in my English as a second language class, I asked how is that they visualize Mexican people. My classmates commented that they think most Mexicans are in jail. That Mexicans are involved in drugs, or that we simply do not have jobs because we do not finish school. Immediately they mentioned that I was different.
I was upset thinking about how not only a country but a compendium of cultures living in this country perceives my culture: immigrants, ignorant, and violent. In Mexico we have a lot of state universities were students pay a minimum fee to attend. At this point it is difficult to enroll because of the high demand on all careers. Unfortunately the economy in Mexico is bad and people have immigrated to the United States or other countries. Not only people from small towns but from big cities have immigrated, so it is common to see Mexicans that have a college degree cleaning tables at a restaurant in the United States.
The discomfort that I feel towards the Mexican stereotypes was calmed by my reasoning. Sadly in all cultures there are stereotypes. We are stereotype in the way we look, in how we speak, and basically in the way we think.