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  #1  
Old 08-08-2009, 05:27 PM
torera torera is offline
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Why do Jewish Mexicans act like they are more mexican than Mexican Americans

Why do Jewish Mexicans (ancestors not from Mezo America) act like they are more Mexican than Mexican Americans (ancestors are from Mezo America and born and raised in the United Sates, northern America)?
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  #2  
Old 08-08-2009, 05:42 PM
Canadjun Canadjun is online now
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Huh? Are you suggesting everyone living in Mexico that is not indigenous is Jewish??
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Old 08-08-2009, 06:05 PM
C K Dexter Haven C K Dexter Haven is offline
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Moderating: I don't think this is a reaction to any particular one of Cecil's columns, but is more of a general question. Since there's probably not a factual answer, I'm moving this to the IMHO forum.
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  #4  
Old 08-08-2009, 06:59 PM
panache45 panache45 is offline
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Because it doesn't matter where your ancestors were from; the only thing that matters is your own national identity. And it certainly has nothing to do with being Jewish (there have been Jews in Mexico for centuries).
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Old 08-08-2009, 08:12 PM
Wendell Wagner Wendell Wagner is online now
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How exactly do you know enough Jewish Mexicans to be able to make that kind of statement? About one Mexican in 2000 is Jewish. (In contrast, something like one or two Americans in 100 are Jewish.)
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Old 08-08-2009, 08:18 PM
athelas athelas is offline
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  #7  
Old 08-08-2009, 10:40 PM
Argent Towers Argent Towers is offline
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This OP is seriously intriguing me - I was not aware that there were that many Jewish Mexicans to begin with. What is this all about? I hope I can bump this so it gets some more replies.
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  #8  
Old 08-08-2009, 11:09 PM
BrassyPhrase BrassyPhrase is online now
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In my years at The Dope, this is the most interesting OP I've EVER seen. It opens up new worlds to me and I cannot wait to see what falls out of this kosher pinata.
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  #9  
Old 08-08-2009, 11:24 PM
Green Bean Green Bean is offline
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Well, I know a guy who works for a kosher food conglomerate, and he recently went down to Mexico City to supervise the opening of a matzo factory.

Which has nothing to do with anything, really, but hey, as long as we're talking about Mexican Jews, I thought I'd share.
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  #10  
Old 08-08-2009, 11:28 PM
elmwood elmwood is offline
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I call Zev's Law on the OP!

Waiting for the standard "the exception is the norm" post that usually accompanies all of these: e.g. "I know plenty of Jewish Mexicans, and none of them act in the least bit Mexican. In fact, all the ones I know act like they're Canadian. One I know does a mean Geddy Lee impression."
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  #11  
Old 08-08-2009, 11:36 PM
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There are Mexican Jews? Who knew? Haven't ever heard of that before.

Seems to me that carnitas would be problematic...
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  #12  
Old 08-08-2009, 11:39 PM
elfkin477 elfkin477 is offline
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How does one "act Mexican" anyway?
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  #13  
Old 08-08-2009, 11:49 PM
Little Nemo Little Nemo is offline
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If I'm parsing the question correctly, my answer would be that Jewish-Mexicans are more Mexican than Mexican-Americans. A Mexican-American is fundamentally an American while a Jewish-Mexican is fundamentally a Mexican.
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  #14  
Old 08-09-2009, 12:08 AM
Nunzio Tavulari Nunzio Tavulari is offline
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Originally Posted by Little Nemo View Post
If I'm parsing the question correctly, my answer would be that Jewish-Mexicans are more Mexican than Mexican-Americans. A Mexican-American is fundamentally an American while a Jewish-Mexican is fundamentally a Mexican.
Though your interpretation of the OP sounds reasonable, I debate whether one can be a Mexican-American.

Mexico is already American. Mexican-Canadian perhaps, Canada is a country. Used correctly though, the terminology seems to be Continent-Continent, not country-xxx

Now we're not only forming hyphenated ancestral links by continents but by religion-continent. That's a sign that things are getting out of hand.
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Old 08-09-2009, 12:18 AM
Raguleader Raguleader is offline
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Originally Posted by Nunzio Tavulari View Post
Though your interpretation of the OP sounds reasonable, I debate whether one can be a Mexican-American.

Mexico is already American. Mexican-Canadian perhaps, Canada is a country. Used correctly though, the terminology seems to be Continent-Continent, not country-xxx

Now we're not only forming hyphenated ancestral links by continents but by religion-continent. That's a sign that things are getting out of hand.
Your theory has a flaw: French-Canadians. France isn't a continent. It's not even as big as Texas (but then, as I'm required by law to mention once every 36 seconds: Texas is very big. So big, it was its own country for a while. )

But yeah, just as I've heard of (and am related to, and am one myself) Mexican-Americans, there are also Anglo-Americans (Anglo traditionally refers to England, though now it is American shorthand for "White"), Italian-Americans, Irish-Americans, etc.

Also, Jewish is a funny thing in sociological classification, in that it is both a religion and an ethnicity. You might recall a few countries way back in the day by the names of Israel and Judea (Judea, of course, is where we get "Jude" and "Jews" from as a name for people tracing back to those places). There is also an Israel today, largely populated by Jewish people, but it's not relevant to the naming convention. For various reasons though, it's less comon in my experience to hear them referred to hyphenetically, but rather to attach their nationality to "Jew", ie: German Jews, Polish Jews, American Jews, and one exception I've heard of, Jewish Danes (in reference to the aided exodus of something like 8,000 of the Danish Jews into Sweden before they could be rounded up by the Nazis)

Last edited by Raguleader; 08-09-2009 at 12:20 AM..
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  #16  
Old 08-09-2009, 02:13 AM
Boozahol Squid, P.I. Boozahol Squid, P.I. is offline
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Originally Posted by Nunzio Tavulari View Post
Though your interpretation of the OP sounds reasonable, I debate whether one can be a Mexican-American.

Mexico is already American. Mexican-Canadian perhaps, Canada is a country. Used correctly though, the terminology seems to be Continent-Continent, not country-xxx

Now we're not only forming hyphenated ancestral links by continents but by religion-continent. That's a sign that things are getting out of hand.
Your 'debate' is nothing more than a pedantic and tiresome rehashing of a purposeful confusion as to what 'American' means. In this context, it's clear that 'American' is referring to the residents of the United States of America, and not to any continent or continental group.
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  #17  
Old 08-09-2009, 11:27 PM
Little Nemo Little Nemo is offline
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Mexico is already American. Mexican-Canadian perhaps, Canada is a country. Used correctly though, the terminology seems to be Continent-Continent, not country-xxx
Sorry but your argument is simply wrong.

Estados Unidos Mexicanos. Do you see the word America anywhere in there?

United States of America. It's right there. It's the only country in the world that has America in its name. People living in America are Americans the same way people living in Japan are Japanese or people living in France are French. Or people living in Mexico are Mexicans.

You don't hear us complaining about how Mexico stole the Estados Unidos idea from us do you?
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  #18  
Old 08-10-2009, 12:13 AM
Tamerlane Tamerlane is offline
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Originally Posted by Little Nemo View Post

United States of America. It's right there. It's the only country in the world that has America in its name. People living in America are Americans the same way people living in Japan are Japanese or people living in France are French. Or people living in Mexico are Mexicans.
Yep. If the FRCA had lasted it might be a different argument ( and altogether more confusing ), but as it stands "American" works pretty well as a descriptor for a citizen of the USA.

ETA: But enough hijacking, let's get back to those Jewish-Mexicans .

Last edited by Tamerlane; 08-10-2009 at 12:18 AM..
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  #19  
Old 08-10-2009, 12:31 AM
Rodgers01 Rodgers01 is offline
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Hey, I knew a Mexican Jew, once! Well...half Jewish. And she didn't strike me as uber-stereotypically Mexican. But I guess there have to be exceptions to the rule. Then again, I don't think I ever saw her interacting with Mexican-Americans...maybe when she did she really upped the ante by bringing out the sombrero and Mariachi music just to prove to them that she was the real Mexican in those parts...
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  #20  
Old 08-10-2009, 03:02 AM
Kyla Kyla is offline
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I really hope the OP comes back and tells us what he/she is talking about.

I have close relatives who are Mexican Jews - my aunt, who was raised Irish-American Catholic, married a Mexican Jew, converted to Judaism, and has lived in Mexico City for the last 35 years or so. Her husband's parents emigrated from Poland to the US originally, but for some reason ended up in Mexico (they aren't MY relatives, I'm not sure why) and lived the rest of their lives there. So their kids were born there and my cousins were born and raised in Mexico City, although none of my Mexican cousins currently live in Mexico.

I've found that my Mexican cousins sometimes seem to try a little harder because people don't believe that they're Mexican. Because they're white. And their last name is Polish-Jewish and not Spanish. They're very patriotic Mexicans, though, and when the eldest of them turned 18, he had to choose a citizenship and he picked Mexico, losing his American citizenship. (A few months later, Mexico changed its laws to allow dual citizenship, he reapplied for American citizenship and is now a dual citizen again.)

I've been told straight out by a Mexican-American friend that my cousins ARE NOT Mexicans because they aren't Mestizos like he is - even though they, unlike he, are actually citizens of Mexico and carry Mexican passports. So it's easy for me to imagine people of non-Mestizo backgrounds "acting" Mexican more to prove their patriotism.

But I doubt it's because they're Jews. That doesn't really make any sense to me.
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  #21  
Old 08-10-2009, 04:35 AM
Nava Nava is offline
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Originally Posted by Kyla View Post
I've been told straight out by a Mexican-American friend that my cousins ARE NOT Mexicans because they aren't Mestizos like he is - even though they, unlike he, are actually citizens of Mexico and carry Mexican passports. So it's easy for me to imagine people of non-Mestizo backgrounds "acting" Mexican more to prove their patriotism.
Ah, that Mexican-American friend of yours must be related to the border guards, US Marshals and Texas Ranger who took one look at my too-brown-for-Germany face and decided I was American. I imagine he would have considered many of my Colombian and Costa Rican coworkers "not Colombian/Costa Rican enough" and that seventh-generation US citizens of Chinese ancestry should get back on the boat... oh wait...

As for why a Mexican of Jewish religion or ancestry is more Mexican than a US citizen of Mexican ancestry, Little Nemo already explained it.

As for people who think that you can't belong to a specific culture unless you have a specific skin color, I thought the general consensus in this board already was that they're morons.

Last edited by Nava; 08-10-2009 at 04:36 AM..
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  #22  
Old 08-10-2009, 05:12 AM
astro astro is offline
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Originally Posted by torera View Post
Why do Jewish Mexicans (ancestors not from Mezo America) act like they are more Mexican than Mexican Americans (ancestors are from Mezo America and born and raised in the United Sates, northern America)?
It's the hat dances . Mexican Jews are wild for them, but Mexican Americans ... not so much.

See history of the Jews in Mexico

Last edited by astro; 08-10-2009 at 05:14 AM..
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  #23  
Old 08-10-2009, 05:26 AM
Kyla Kyla is offline
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As for people who think that you can't belong to a specific culture unless you have a specific skin color, I thought the general consensus in this board already was that they're morons.
So, so true. God, I'm just gonna take this opportunity to rant a little. It makes me crazy because okay, I'm like, super white. But sometimes I have to go to Mexico for family stuff, which inevitably results in really stupid conversations. Like when I went to my cousin's wedding a few years ago. This conversation nearly broke my brain.

Coworker: Where were you last week?
Me: Oh, I had to go to Mexico City for my cousin's wedding. [Insert me telling them about wedding. BTW, my cousin's husband is the son of a British KNIGHT, which is endlessly hilarious to the rest of my solidly middle-class American family, so of course I told my coworker about my cousin's new parents-in-law, Sir D____ and Lady R______. So I guess my coworker had good reason to assume my cousin's new husband was white.]
Coworker: Wait, how do you have family in Mexico? Are you Mexican???
Me: No, my aunt married a Mexican guy.
Coworker: Oh. Their kids will be so beautiful. Interracial kids are always so cute.
Me: Well...my cousin and her husband are both white, you know.
Coworker: I thought you said she was Mexican?
Me: She is. But her dad's family immigrated to Mexico from Poland. They're Jewish.
Coworker: Then...she's Polish.
Me: She's Mexican. And American, she has dual citizenship.
Coworker: How is she Mexican?
Me: She was born in Mexico and has lived there her entire life?
Coworker: But she's white.
Me: Yeah.
Coworker: So she's Polish.
Me: I don't think she's ever even been to Poland. Her grandparents left Poland 60 years ago. How could she be Polish?
Coworker: But how could she be MEXICAN? She's WHITE.
Me: SHE IS A CITIZEN OF MEXICO WHY AM I HAVING THIS CONVERSATION STILL ARGHHHHHH.

I KNOW it's about race and ethnicity because coincidentally, three of my other cousins are British citizens and I have never, ever, ever had anyone make weirdass comments about whether I am British or ask me how I could be related to British people. A white American having British relatives? Normal. Same person having Mexican relatives? INCOMPREHENSIBLE, apparently.
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  #24  
Old 08-10-2009, 09:32 AM
Caffeine.addict Caffeine.addict is offline
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I think that the OP is confusing ethnicity with nationality. I have a Mexican friend who grew up in Mexico born of Mexican parents whose families have been there since for centuries who is white as is the rest of his family. While many Mexicans are of either indigenous descent or mixed race, not all of them are, and it appears foolish to think that someone born and raised in Mexico is somehow less Mexican than someone who was born and reared in the United States.
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  #25  
Old 08-10-2009, 09:34 AM
Wendell Wagner Wendell Wagner is online now
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It's because a lot of Americans, while they know that Americans can have ancestry from all over the world, refuse to accept that citizens of other countries can also have ancestry from all over the world. Their reaction to being told that someone from Mexico has Polish Jewish ancestry is "What? That's not possible. Abort, abort, my mind is shutting down. Aaaaahhhhh!"
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  #26  
Old 08-10-2009, 09:57 AM
MeanOldLady MeanOldLady is offline
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Originally Posted by elfkin477 View Post
How does one "act Mexican" anyway?
Mainly by stealing.
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  #27  
Old 08-10-2009, 10:19 AM
joebuck20 joebuck20 is offline
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Wasn't Frida Kahlo part Jewish?
Also Elena Poniatowska, the famous Mexican Journalist, was born in France and is of Polish descent. Not sure if she's Jewish though.
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  #28  
Old 08-10-2009, 11:09 AM
Sternvogel Sternvogel is offline
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Wasn't Frida Kahlo part Jewish?
Yes.

Quote:
Her father, Guillermo Kahlo (1872-1941), was born Carl Wilhelm Kahlo in Pforzheim, Germany. He was the son of the painter and goldsmith Jakob Heinrich Kahlo and Henriette Kaufmann. Kahlo's father was of Jewish Hungarian-German ancestry. Wilhelm Kahlo sailed to Mexico in 1891 at the age of nineteen and, upon his arrival, changed his German forename, Wilhelm, to its Spanish equivalent, 'Guillermo'.
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  #29  
Old 08-14-2009, 03:57 PM
Balthisar Balthisar is offline
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I'm guessing that the availability of Kosher foods at my local Wal-Mart (I'm not a hypocrite; Wal-Marts in Mexico don't suck) and Comercial Mexicana indicate that I'm in a Jewish part of the greater Mexico City area (I'm not really in Mexico City, but a suburb). In fact, I saw a dude in a yarmulke the other day, and he looked identical to any of the conservative Jews I'd see walking around in Southfield (a high-Jewish-concentration area in SE Michigan). I'm guessing he's just as Mexican as the Catholic Mexicans, white Mexicans, Amerindian Mexicans, and Mestizo Mexicans that are in the area (I still want to go to Chihuaua to see the Menonite Mexicans).

The thing is, the vast majority of the Mexicans in the United States that are visibly identifiable as Mexicans based on racial characteristics are migrants or descendents of migrants. Why do migrants migrate? They're poor. Why were they poor? Because they weren't white, European land owners or their descdendants (granted, this is a broad generalization for convenience). There's a large "white" population in Mexico, but Americans simply don't notice them because they don't suffer economic circumstances (or more and more often, a family tradition) that cause them to make a stupid decision to leave their country.

The area that I'm living in is an area nice, and so to me, it's not even the "real" Mexico and the people (Mexicans, presumably) don't appear to be "acting Mexican" in my eyes. There're no taquerias or carnitas anywhere to be found (too ethnic for a "nice" zone).

For some real contrast between the different societies of Mexico City in and of itself, I recommend "Amores Perros" (fairly complete in itself) followed by "Y Tú Mamá Tambien." Yes, they're both works of fiction, but they capture several different cultures within the culture pretty nicely.
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  #30  
Old 08-15-2009, 01:11 AM
Pyper Pyper is offline
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Originally Posted by Kyla View Post
I KNOW it's about race and ethnicity because coincidentally, three of my other cousins are British citizens and I have never, ever, ever had anyone make weirdass comments about whether I am British or ask me how I could be related to British people. A white American having British relatives? Normal. Same person having Mexican relatives? INCOMPREHENSIBLE, apparently.
I had a similar problem with a co-worker, who could not believe that a red-headed student of ours was Mexican.

"Oh, he must be Argentinian," she said. "Argentinians are white." This despite the fact that the little boy and his parents had told us that they were MEXICANS from MEXICO.

"You do know that Mexicans can have ancestry from anywhere, don't you?" I said. "Just like Americans can be descended from anywhere."

"Oh, yes, but Argentinians are white." Red-headed white child from Mexico just DID NOT COMPUTE in her brain.
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  #31  
Old 08-15-2009, 04:09 AM
Nava Nava is offline
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Originally Posted by Balthisar View Post
There's a large "white" population in Mexico, but Americans simply don't notice them because they don't suffer economic circumstances (or more and more often, a family tradition) that cause them to make a stupid decision to leave their country.
And when they do migrate to the US, they're not immediately classified under "Mexican," a label which is actually a physical description and means "mestizo" until you find out where the "Mexican" in question is from.

One of the other PhD students in my graduate school once was asked how come he'd married a Mexican. Had they met while he was down on vacation or something? No... they'd met at the Universidad Autónoma de México, where they were classmates; they're both Mexican. But he's a blonde (for Hispanic standards, meaning light-brown hair) and she's got the kind of looks that cause people to call her Lupe when they don't know her name.
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  #32  
Old 08-15-2009, 04:19 AM
Argent Towers Argent Towers is offline
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It's completely impossible for me to ever read a thread about Mexico or Mexicans without thinking of Mexican food and being hungry for it. This does not occur with any other ethnicity, even though I like the food of pretty much every nation. I don't think of Indian food when I read threads about India; I don't think of Chinese food when I read threads about China; but every time there is any thread about Mexicans or even just a passing reference to Mexicans in anything, it makes me hungry. In fact, the very word "Mexican" makes me very hungry, much more so than "Mexico."
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  #33  
Old 08-15-2009, 10:04 AM
Zsofia Zsofia is offline
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Originally Posted by MeanOldLady View Post
Mainly by stealing.
No, no, too lazy to steal. Mexicans sleep under trees all day with their sombreros over their faces. You can tell the Jewish ones because they also have those little curls at the sides of their heads.
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  #34  
Old 08-15-2009, 04:36 PM
CBEscapee CBEscapee is offline
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Originally Posted by elfkin477 View Post
How does one "act Mexican" anyway?
As a Mexican (not Jewish), I too would love to hear how I am supposed to act!!

Now concerning how Mexicans are supposed to look....

I am tall, light complexion and blue eyes. I have no indigenous blood, my ancestry is mixed northern European. My wife is what's called morena clara. Two of her siblings have blue eyes and are very pale skinned.

Our oldest daughter has my skin, hair and eye color and is around 1.75m tall. On visits to the US people turn heads when they hear us conversing in Spanish. On several occasions in areas with small hispanic populations we have been asked what language we are speaking (actually we all speak fluent English) and when we tell them Spanish and that we are Mexicans we have even been accused of lying!

Once on a trip to the border I was complimented (in English!) on how well I speak Spanish by a "Mexican-American". We all got a good laugh from that one.
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  #35  
Old 08-15-2009, 04:42 PM
Count Blucher Count Blucher is offline
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"Don't let it end like this. Tell them I said something."
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  #36  
Old 08-15-2009, 05:47 PM
Lamia Lamia is offline
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I had a friend in grad school who was a Mexican American who acted like he was Jewish. He went to Hillel meetings and everything. A Jewish classmate of our was a little annoyed when she realized he wasn't actually Jewish (both his parents were Catholic, he'd been brought up Catholic and had not converted), and said he'd been making her feel like a bad Jew because he walked everywhere on Saturday!
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  #37  
Old 08-16-2009, 01:03 AM
Yarster Yarster is offline
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My God...I totally understand the OP. I am Jewish and my wife, also a Jew, is half Mexican. Her father and her uncle are both Jewish and are full Mexican. Though living in America, they are very nationalistic with respect to Mexico and do seem to look down on other (native) Mexicans. Both of them are first generation Mexican with Jewish parents that migrated from Poland. Judaism tends to place a high value on education, and indeed, both of men have degrees in Accounting and Dentistry, respectively. Meanwhile, the stereotype of the average Mexican in America is that of a lower class, uneducated day laborer, as you might find out in front of Home Depot looking for work, or picking produce in the fields. As educated Mexicans, they resent this image, especially since people might think this way of them. Consequently, I think they look down on other Mexicans because it reflects bad on 'their' country and believe these native Mexicans are a symptom of the problems the country is having.
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  #38  
Old 08-16-2009, 03:20 AM
elfkin477 elfkin477 is offline
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Originally Posted by Nava View Post
As for people who think that you can't belong to a specific culture unless you have a specific skin color, I thought the general consensus in this board already was that they're morons.
On the boards maybe, but in real life it's still alive and well. One of the biggest things I didn't like about working in southern MA was the obvious hostility between my Anglo and Portuguese coworkers. I found the situation maddening, because I had white coworkers openly confiding how much they hated the Portuguese ones due to stereotypes x,y, and z without realizing that half of my mother's family is Portuguese too. And the Portuguese coworkers assumed that I was entirely white, and would rudely speak Portuguese instead so they could bad mouth everyone else, me included. Little did they know that after 4.5 years of Spanish, I could understand a lot of what they were saying due to the similarities between the two languages.

I was able to get the white ones to lay off with that kind of talk (to me anyway) by introducing them to my very obviously Portuguese grandfather, but as for the rest... I didn't look like them so it clearly didn't count.
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  #39  
Old 08-16-2009, 11:34 AM
Zsofia Zsofia is offline
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I didn't know there was a big Portugese population...well, anywhere in the US, I guess. Ignorance fought.

Sometimes people break out with the Polack jokes because I'm very fair and blue eyed and I don't look like my grandfather changed his name from Domanski.
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  #40  
Old 08-16-2009, 01:27 PM
Tamerlane Tamerlane is offline
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Originally Posted by elfkin477 View Post
because I had white coworkers openly confiding how much they hated the Portuguese ones due to stereotypes x,y, and z without realizing that half of my mother's family is Portuguese too. And the Portuguese coworkers assumed that I was entirely white,
To me Portuguese = white, but then to me Jewish also = white . It always fascinates me how people divvy up ethnic groups, including or excluding differently based on regional preferences. My area has a lot of Portuguese as well ( we're one of the biggest concentrations, with a lot of farming families, as opposed to the fishermen who settled in the northeast ) and you don't seem to see that hostility. Indeed by being early farmers in the area before real estate values exploded, a number eventually qualified as local land-owning gentry out in the boonies.

But of course out here we have tons of Mexican and Central American immigrants to contrast with them, who typically aren't considered white.

Last edited by Tamerlane; 08-16-2009 at 01:28 PM..
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  #41  
Old 08-16-2009, 02:12 PM
Zsofia Zsofia is offline
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Yeah, that's weird that anybody would think that a Portugese person was not also a white person, unless they were actually Brazilian in which case it depends.
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