I like and admire most Mexicans I meet.

Mexicans, I have found, are far better than the typical
Northamerican stereotype of them. They are personable,
engaging and often very sophisticated. They have great family values and a lot of depth. They are industrious and work hard.

What do you think? Is the American stereotype of Mexicans as lazy and studpid wrong?

Is the American stereotype of Mexicans as lazy and studpid wrong?

The answer to the bolded question is always yes.

studpid (I did a search and all)

Let’s all welcome the reverend Reggie White to the board!


No, the stereotype is exactly right. No matter how many individuals you meet with unique personalities, histories, characteristics, beliefs and experiences, the blanket stereotype is always exactly correct.

Geez, people, how are you going to learn to hate if you can’t even learn to stereotype properly?

This is a debate topic???

Oh, and don’t forget the food. People who can turn out food like that are worth forgiving for anything. :wink:

Almost without exception, every Mexican-American person I’ve met is extremely hard-working, loyal to family and faith, and generous to others.

When my friend Pat and I worked in home health, she told me about her experiences as a pregnant woman going to Mexican-American homes. They always held dinner for her, even though they never knew when she’d show up. The turkey would sit there, cooling, until Pat arrived, then she was expected to eat the first bite. If it was something awful they were serving (tripe, for example) she’d force herself to take a bite because otherwise no one would be able to eat.

The reason for this (as the Mexican family explained to Pat) is a legend about a pregnant woman who arrived at another family’s house near dinner time. She declined to eat, due to politeness: the family barely had enough food for themselves. Later, that pregnant woman starved to death.

I thought that was a fascinating and touching story.

My hypothesis is that since Mexican-Americans tend to work at low paying jobs (immigrant field labor, bussing tables, etc.), they’re often poor no matter how many hours they work. Most are devout Catholics, so they tend to have large families, adding to the financial strain. They often can’t afford higher education. This is certainly a general statement and I in no way mean to imply that all Mexican-American families fit this scenario.

Unfortunately, in our society, poverty + lack of education (+ looks a little different and has a slightly different culture than ours) = lazy and stupid.

Um, obviously I’m missing something here. That’s OK, I’m used to it, I’m very comfortable down here at the bottom of this mine shaft…

Er, you’re referring to Reggie White, Minister of Defense, who used to play for the Green Bay Packers?

Oh. Is it sarcasm, right?

eh. still :confused:

And as if that isn’t bad enough, I don’t get what we’re supposed to be debating. Whether the stereotype is wrong? Whether stereotypes in general are wrong? Or, in a rather oblique and coy way, whether Mexicans are in fact lazy and stupid?

No, DDG, jarbaby is referring to an incident a few years back when Reggie White, the football player, had an opportunity to address the Wisconsin State Legislature. As a part of his remarks speaking out against homosexuality, he tried to make the point that discriminating against homosexuals was different than racial discrimination because homosexuals are not a race. He then proceeded to have kind words for all major racial groups, which were little more than ugly stereotypes.

Here’s a link: http://detnews.com/1998/sports/9803/26/03260223.htm

The comment most appropriate to this thread was Reggie’s comment on Hispanics:
“Hispanics were gifted in family structure, and you can see a Hispanic person, and they can put 20, 30 people in one home.”

You can see the parallel between Reggie’s “praise” and the OP.

Here’s a better link, that makes it clear that Reggie White wasn’t invited to talk about homosexuality, but instead was expected to talk about his community work and his recent trip to Israel.


A transcript of Reggie White’s speech:

Some quotes from the speech:

yes. Thank you Keenan and Protesilaus. That’s what i was referring to. If you can believe it, I WAS looking for a link to his transcript…but searching reggie white just brings up fansites.

Sorry for the confusion Duck


Coming from a Mexican family I can say that we are indeed an intelligent, hardworking bunch. :smiley:

Mexicans are stereotyped as lazy and stupid for the same reason that other immigrant populations (Polish, Irish, Italian) have been stereotyped as lazy and stupid throughout various periods of American history. Basically, it’s human nature to focus on disposition when evaluating other people rather than situation (we usually focus more on situation when evaluating ourselves, but that’s a different story). In other words, we see the fact that Mexicans are disproportionately represented in the lower class, and we often assume that the reasons can be traced to personality defects rather than economic and social circumstances. Since so many Mexicans are unskilled laborers, they must be lazy. Since so many Mexicans are uneducated, they must be stupid.

The reality, of course, is that many Mexicans are recent immigrants from an impoverished nation where they had no opportunities to better themselves. They are often uneducated and illiterate, and in many cases they do not speak a word of English. In order to survive, they must take the lowest-paying jobs available and live from paycheck to paycheck. Some manage to work their way up, accumulate capital, and provide an education for their children, who, if they are lucky, can someday move into the middle class.

I’m basically a third generation Mexican, which is why I’m enjoying the leisure of the Straight Dope at my very own personal computer and not digging a ditch somewhere for five bucks an hour. In a few months I’ll be the first in my family to graduate from college with a bachelor’s degree. I do not see this as a reflection of my personal strengths. I am merely lucky enough to have been born into a situation in which I was allowed to become educated without worrying so much about supporting myself.

My grandparents worked their entire lives as low wage, unskilled laborers. Through their hard work they allowed all of their children to finish high school and find good middle class jobs (which might not be so easy in today’s economic climate). And my parents, through their good middle class jobs, were able to save up enough money to put me through college. I’m practically guaranteed a straight shot through life, as long as the economy doesn’t do anything too funky in the next couple of decades. Even better, my kids pretty much have it made, and they haven’t even been born yet.

This is a common pattern for immigrant families. Now that a lot of Italians have been in America for two or three generations, many of the negative Italian stereotypes have vanished (do you even hear the term “dago” anymore?) A lot of them are educated, middle class, and able to speak perfect English, so there’s no real reason for the majority to stereotype them anymore, since they’ve become part of the majority themselves. I imagine that the same will be true for Mexicans, once they’ve had a few generations to assimilate. In fact, we’re seeing it now. Mexicans are starting to show up in the movies, on TV, and in other highly visible and prominent social positions. And you’ve got people like me popping up all over the place, proving that Mexicans can be intelligent, literate, and charming!

Blanket stereotypes that go both ways aren’t very accurate. Growing up in a lower middle class neighborhood in Anaheim, CA, I’ve had the opportunity and sometimes pleasure to interact with many different people from just about every ethnic group or religious persuasion imaginable. The thing I’ve found is that most people/groups are pretty much alike deep down. It’s just the superficial things like language that really separate people. Mexicans/Latinos have just as many jerks and nice people proportionally as people of European, African, or Asian descent.

Mmmm… Mexicans…


oreintals, mexicans, …whats next esprix?


I’m a 1st generation mexican. I go to school. I have a car. I DO NOT have to work in a ditch. Mexicans are like all races. We have some poor, stupid, lazy guys(can you say redneck?). We have rich smart, hard working people. Think it’s the same al around the world

Mexicans are unlucky :wink:

I apologize if my post offended anybody. I do not feel that first generation Mexicans should work in a ditch. I was only attempting to explain why so many of them, my grandparents included, ended up taking menial jobs at the bottom end of the wage scale – economic necessity, as opposed to laziness or stupidity. I intended to deride neither first generation Mexicans nor the act of ditch digging.

Actually, vanilla, my One True Love is Canadian (Philippino-Canadian, but Canadian nonetheless). So I’m just an equal opportunity kinda guy… :wink:

By the way, my housemates and I love your .sig. :slight_smile: