By On the occasion of our 20th anniversary
By Gustavo Arellano
By R. Scott Moxley
By Alfonso Delgado
By Courtney Hamilton
By Joel Beers
By Peter Maguire
By Charles Lam
DEAR READERS: My columna a couple of weeks ago about whether Aztec savagery influences violence in Mexico today drew muchos responses, both bueno and malo. Here are two:
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DEAR MEXICAN: I enjoy reading [your column] and was thinking about the last reply you wrote to the question about violence and Aztec blood. I grew up in Huntington Beach and am a "brown man" of Iranian decent. I'm currently in Shitzona finishing up pharmacy school and made an interesting (to me) observation at a gas station. The reason Mexicans are the way they are—"sketchy" or "violent" or whatever the stereotype—is due to the level of treatment they receive from their respective environment. I've played lots of fútbol back home and worked lots of jobs for which I worked side-by-side with Mexicans. What I have found is that while back home, the Mexicans still had some of Napoleanesque machismo complex, complete with super-pervy sexual behavior (toma, güey, etc.). Here in this hellhole joke of a state, the Mexicans are about double the classic stereotypes I encountered back home.
What I've found is that the pinche güeros here are about seven to 10 times more ignorant, and this naturally lends itself to overt racism. While I grew up in bro-y, stars-and-stripes, surf-Nazi punk H.B., Arizona seems to have beat conservative Orange County in terms of its discrimination (as everyone knows). This donkey's-ass level of ignorance results in a treatment from the white ruling class that is extremely cold, condescending, rude, arrogant and downright oppressive to the minority class, which, in this case, is overwhelmingly Mexican. This level of intolerance of la raza I feel is what develops the combative nature of the Mexican. While this is a very simple observation, I wanted to get your thoughts on it, as I have always been bewildered by some of the actions of the Mexicans I have interacted with throughout life.
Son of Sangak
DEAR PERSIE: You're referring to internalized oppression, the sociological observation that minority groups end up believing and acting out the very stereotypes the dominant culture imposes on them. Such pathologies usually manifest themselves in long-established minority cultures, though, in the case of recent Mexican immigrants, blame any fulfilled stereotypes on the fact that most foreign men overcompensate their machismo to mask their pain of living among Know Nothings—and if you don't believe me, look at Carlos Mencia.
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DEAR MEXICAN: You missed an opportunity to correct a misunderstanding in your reply to Puzzled by Narco Violence when he describes the Aztec as "notorious butchers and cannibals." Yes, human sacrifice was practiced by Mesoamerican cultures such as the Mexica, but it was in the context of religious ceremonies they believed to be necessary to appease their gods so that the universe would not come to an end. It was part of their belief system and was performed by priests in a very strict ritual, and although is was done on a vast public scale, the goal was to recall the spiritual justification for the empire by its subjects. In that respect, they were not much different from their European counterparts, where public executions drew huge crowds and where the goal was to re-assert the sovereign's divine power after it had been injured by a criminal act. The important thing is that neither society should be judged by its brutality and that, in their appetite for death as spectacle, they were not fundamentally different. (On the subject of cannibalism, I would remind the writer that recent evidence has proved it was practiced in Jamestown, Virginia, by the Pilgrims.)
Naco de Neza
DEAR WAB: In other words, the Aztecs were notorious butchers and cannibals. Gracias for clearing that up!