I’ve always considered Mexicans, in Mexico City at least, to be a tolerant people. I’ve yet to be spat on for my lack of Catholic belief, nor turned away from a retail or other establishment for the colour of my skin. There are plenty of non Mexican communities who live happily in the city, without, to my knowledge, any grief. Well, without any of the grief that isn’t equally shared amongst everyone. Corruption makes no great distinction.
So it’s sad to see that a Chinese community is suffering persecution in the Distrito Federal. But this is an unusual case, because the persecution isn’t coming from the Mexican authorities, but the Chinese authorities. Apparently. Thugs hired by the Chinese Embassy, in broad daylight, dismantled a Falun Gong float. Chinese suppresion seems to respect no borders. Equally disappointing was the fact that Mexico City police officers were present, but simply stood by and watched.
One would hope that this issue is taken up with the Chinese at an official level, but I have my doubts that any such thing will happen. I will do my part on behalf of the Falun Gong however. I have added the restaurants of the city’s small Chinatown area to the list of establishments I boycott. So, Chinatown and McDonalds. This won’t be hard to do. The restaurants don’t serve an awful lot that I’d ever associate with Chinese cuisine. And I’m leaving the country in 8 days time.
On a related, but different subject, censorship takes many forms. From the Bierce Account:
Gary Denness left another comment here yesterday in which he, alas, fell right into that. I’m a racist! He put a pretty dress on it, and daubed lipstick on its face, but it was still quite recognizable. So that comment went directly to trash. Bierce is not a free-speech zone, and I do believe in censorship.
Not so. I left a reasoned comment, with no profanity and no disguised accusations. Don Felipe begins many of his ‘racially sensitive’ posts with a disclaimer of one sort or another so I’m sure he knows full well onto what sort of ground he is treading. ‘Racist’ is an offensive label, no doubt about it. He has on occasion suggested that his current country of residence and the nationality of his bride is proof that he is not, couldn’t possibly be, heaven forbid, a racist. It’s a defence he has used or implied more than once, and one I thought I’d challenge. Among other issues I have challenged. This was, really, a side issue. A ‘by the by’. And was labelled as such.
I simply pointed out that his choice of country to settle in, and his choice of bride, does not in any way disqualify him from being a racist. I pointed out that there have been some incorrigible racists over the centuries, easily identifiable as such, who have settled on shores other than their own. Who have taken wives, or mistresses, of a colour that does not match their own. Sometimes slaves, sometimes not. And I also pointed out, to make sure I was being clearly understood, that this was not an accusation of racism that I was throwing at him. I made it clear. I was commenting on the defence. A defence that holds no water. It’s not a real defence. Whether or not he is a racist was by the by.
But as we’re on the subject, let’s get it out into the open. The Mexile isn’t so sensitive to such debates. Is Don Felipe prejudiced in any way? A tad racist, from time to time? Of course you are, señor! We all are. The definition of racism, xenophobia, sexism, sectarianism et al are all very basic. Catch-all terminology makes life difficult. In the simplest terms of the descriptions, we all fall guilty here and there. Of course, there’s a broad spectrum. Some appreciate their prejudices for what they are and do not let them break out into intolerance. Others believe most sincerely in their prejudice, labelled ‘common knowledge’ through ignorance and upbringing. Other people perpetuate prejudice through simple hatred. Where do you lie in the spectrum, señor?
I’ve never made firm judgement, nor can I be bothered to, nor am I qualified to. I suspect he lies further along the line into the ‘dark zone’ than myself. But I’ve always refrained from making any declaration as to exactly where on that spectrum he might be fairly posited. It is reasonable to say that ‘questions are raised’ when he advocates policies in favour of authorities forming suspicions, making judgements and detaining individuals solely on the basis of skin colour. But we all say things that ‘raise questions’ from time to time. Most of us, anyway.
But you see, I was not daubing lipstick on an accusation, or dressing it up to look pretty. I was in fact stripping his defence of its lipstick and pretty dress. Nothing more. That his defence is not valid does not of course infer that he must be a racist. That he wished to see more in my comment was his choice.
I have many goodbyes to say over the following week or so, as my Mexican adventure winds down. I’ll say mine to you now, Don Felipe. It’s a shame to end on a slightly sour note – I’ve long enjoyed reading about life in Patzcuaro, and enjoyed joining in conversations, even when you propose ideas I disagree with. But I’d like to think that when I take the time to contribute to a conversation, my views and opinions will be given fair airing. Even when things get a little heated, or tetchy.
There’s nothing wrong with things getting a little heated and tetchy, providing a degree of respect and politeness remain. Which was the case. I’m sure we could all shake virtual hands at the end of it, and agree to disagree. But your choice of censorship is both a little irritating and a even a little offensive, particularly with your comment on my ‘trashed’ contribution. If you’ll comment on it, you should publish it. That’s not an obligation, of course. It is your blog, after all. It’s really just ‘manners‘.
Your choice of moderation is not a very satisfactory way to conduct debate, but such is life. The logical route for me to take is simply not to comment further in Felipe World. And to air my view here instead, where I decide what is allowed, and what is not. It doesn’t seem quite right that I shouldn’t be able to respond to something which, at best, was a bit of a cheap slur.
And so my view has been aired. With that I, genuinely and with sincerity, wish you all the best. I know we’ll both sleep soundly tonight anyway. I’ll continue reading your adventures and look forward to further ‘Tales’ from what will soon be my ‘former adopted homeland’. Adios amigo.