Do you remember the uproar a couple of years ago when the cast of BBC’s Top Gear poked fun/insulted Mexicans in general and the Mexican ambassador in particular. One of the points I made at the time was one of context. What do we Brits know of Mexico and Mexicans? Truth is, we know very little. There’s just the stereotype. Guy in a sombrero in a desert with a donkey. This context doesn’t of course make the jokes any more or less offensive.
It’s just as well Mexicans don’t get to see out adverts. The video I’ve embedded below is one of three I’ve noticed since I returned to the UK which plays on the Mexican stereotype. A guy, or two, in a sombrero. Donkeys. And even more unfortunately, they have a tendency to cast characters who are a little bit…ummm…backward. Simple minded. Not too well educated. Plain old daft in the head.
Mexicans will tell me that this isn’t representative of Mexico. They don’t need to tell me – I do know full well what Mexico is really like. Alas, this is brand new news for other parts of the globe, and it isn’t headline news – so not everyone is going to hear it. I will say, before anyone comments about us racist, evil, narrow minded Brits, that I have yet to visit a country where I haven’t seen the same sort of stereotype gags being made about other nations. Including Mexico.
I have mixed feelings about the use of these sort of stereotypes. Sometimes, it can be funny. Sometimes it’s stupid. But I don’t want stupidity outlawed. We’d lose too much of the global population, which just needs trimming, not eradicating. Having said that, sometimes the stereotypes are used in ways that just perpetuate ignorance. What can you do?