[¡Ask a Mexican!] Do Mexicans Think It Sucks to Be Salvadoran?
Dear Mexican: For most of my life, I was oblivious to the hate that Mexicans have for Salvadorans. I became aware of it when I made the huge mistake of marrying a Salvi. Once I became engaged to my Salvi girlfriend or whenever I would tell any Mexican that I married a Salvi, I was bombarded with so much hate for Salvis! I’d get responses like “Eww, a Salvi,” or “Damn, I feel sorry for you—you married a Salvi!” I’m now divorced and can’t stand anything associated with El Salvador. My question, though, is where does the disgust for Salvis from Mexicans originate?
Former Pupusa Eater
Dear Mexican: Growing up, I never noticed the difference between any Hispanic person. Yo pensaba if you spoke Spanish, it meant to me that you were Mexican (I was little, okay?). Of course, as I grew up, I started noticing all different kinds of Latinos but one in particular were Salvis. I don’t know how to explain it, but it’s like this feeling that was always there, but I didn’t know about it. It was dislike and rivalry toward them. I mean, don’t get me wrong: I don’t hate them; I just dislike them. And I wasn’t the only one! I found out that many Mexicans feel this way, as do Salvadorans toward us. So, is this a universal feeling? Am I wrong for feeling this way? Are Mexicans and Salvadorans rivales? If so, por qué?
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Dear Wabs: Historically, the Mexican-Salvadoran rivalry that so many readers correctamente note has a strong basis. Shortly after Central America gained its independence from Spain in 1821, Mexico tried to swallow the region into its burgeoning empire. The fiercest opposition to this annexation? El Salvador. Eventually, republic-minded Mexicans stopped their country’s ambitions and allowed El Salvador and the other Central American provinces to create the United Provinces of Central America. That lasted until 1840, by which time Mexico was too busy dealing with another imperial power to care much about recouping its former holdings. And if you know anything about Mexico, it’s porque we don’t take thefts of our lands lightly.
But that was then—this is ahorita, and there remains no reason for the two countries and its razas to hate each other. Presidents Felipe Calderón and Mauricio Funes met this summer and reached quite a few accords and bilateral agreements. Stateside, wabs and Salvis might compete for the same resources like other recent immigrants, but we’re both wetbacks in the eyes of the gabachos (and in the case of Salvis, to echo the legendary Los Tigres del Norte song, Tres Veces Mojados). Let’s make peace, Salvadorans—our rivalry is pointless, and the fruits of a union much richer. Besides, hatred between nosotros merely blinds us to the menace between our ancestral lands: Guatemala.
Dear Mexican: In Northern California, we have many Latino-themed murals on walls, buildings and storefronts. However, I’m told that in Mexico, such murals are generally on the interiors of the buildings (specifically churches), where only the faithful or other insiders can see them. Is this true? Do Mexican muralists hide their talents away, while those in California are happy to have their work on display for everyone?
Dear Gabacho: Not true. Maybe the Catholic Church wants to withhold its artistic treasures like damning pedophile-priest personnel files, but the point of the Mexican mural movement was to create art for the masses and for public consumption—and it remains so today. For more info on perhaps the United States’ best collection of such murals, visit precitaeyes.org.
CORRECTION: A couple of weeks ago, in explaining the discrepancies between English and Spanish in pronouncing the letter X, the Mexican stated St. Francis Xavier founded the Jesuits. The order’s true founder, of course, was Ignatius of Loyola. The Mexican apologizes for his error and blames the United States for stealing half of Mexico.
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