Discussing the many stigmas around Mexicans in the U.S.
May 10, 2016
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“When Mexico sends its people, they’re not sending their best. They’re sending people that have lots of problems, and they’re bringing those problems with us. They’re bringing drugs. They’re bringing crime. They’re rapists.”
These are the words of United States presidential candidate Donald Trump. His comment enraged many Americans, while rallying support from others. Naturally, with such strong accusations being thrown about, people all across the country are becoming passionately divided.
Critics of Trump say that he is encouraging prejudice within the United States and emboldening racists. Supporters applaud the politician for boldly speaking his mind. It can’t be denied that, with Trump’s words and actions dominating the media, race relations are a hot topic in the US yet again.
Tyler Voelker, 19, explained that, while some news sources attempt to remain unbiased, many of them are supportive of certain politicians. He has observed that “the media have their own agendas,” and should not always be trusted.
Gabe Infante, 21, added that news media will try to use fear tactics to persuade people to support their views. Most people, when told that the amount of illegal immigrants in the US has actually decreased from 12.2 million in 2007, to 11.3 million in 2014, were entirely shocked.
Voelker said that he felt that the media was giving the impression that there was an increase in illegal immigration. The media gives a very clear image of what Mexicans are assumed to be. Most famously, they teach Americans that Mexicans are stealing our jobs.
“You hear that they’re lazy, work for cheap, and take our jobs.” Said Daniel Stout, 31. “You hear that they’re all pervs, and they smell.” The list of negative stereotypes went on, including the idea that they lived in cramped homes in order to avoid paying taxes.
“This is what I hear, yeah, but some of those are facts. They do take our jobs,” He said. “It’s because they can work for no money and people can hire them for way less.”
He also attested to the fact that they cost the U.S. millions per years in border protection efforts to keep out illegals. He felt that Mexican people have brought the stereotypes upon themselves for acting the way they do, “and we need to control it better.”
However, when asked if he had ever heard a positive comment about Mexicans in the media?
“No… Not that I can recall.”
Since Trump’s candidacy declaration speech, in which he made the original slight against Mexicans, his comments and proposals have only grown in extravagance. Most famously was his promise to build a wall.
In an effort to fix the immigration problem, Trump proposed erecting a wall along the entirety of the southern border. In theory, the wall would prevent Mexicans from crossing over. This idea, too, has been met with mixed support.
Many rally behind the wall idea, confident that a tall enough wall will deter Mexicans from crossing over into the US. Even though forcing the Mexican government to pay for a 50 foot wall, as Trump suggested, would undoubtedly cause political unrest between the two nations, supporters say that is worth the risk.
“I feel like we should still do it, regardless, to show them that we are serious about it,” said Stout.
Although he admitted that it’s unlikely that the Mexican government will be willing to pay, he said “They should know to pay us back all the money we spent trying to keep them out.”
Infante, however, counters that the wall would be nothing more than a waste of time and money because, as Voelker put it, “history has shown that walls don’t stay up.”
The international conflicts that would arise, said Voelker, make the gains not worth it. “It would lead to isolation. It’s stupid.”
Infante agreed in saying that the wall was stupid, and added, “We’ve got border patrol, we’ve got all this stuff now, and they still find ways over. And guess what? If we build a wall, they’re just gonna go under, or over it. It’s not going to do anything.”
Despite the message sent by news outlets and the efforts of Trump, not everyone is buying into the anti-Mexican mindset.
Infante, who has worked alongside illegal Mexican immigrants in the past, suggested that people hold negative notions for Mexicans out of ignorance.
“It’s probably because they’ve never met people from the Mexican culture. They’re just people. They’re not evil. Not any more evil than any white or black guy you’d meet.” said Infante.
Infante added that “People just focus on the bad stuff. If something good is happening, they’ll turn around and try to find a murder.” In reality, said Voelker, a lot of the illegal immigrants are simply “hard working people.”
There is nothing particularly evil about the people of Mexico, even if the media would have you think otherwise, said Antonio Cortez, 25, “like every place in the world, you have good people, and you have bad people.”
He, of all people would know, having been born and raised in Mexico – living there until the age of 8.
“Some people just come here to have a dream.” He said his mother wanted him to go with his grandmother over to America to have a “better education, and a better life.”
He hears the stereotypes of people like himself in the media, and agrees that while there are lots of criminals and drug lords in Mexico, the stereotypes don’t hold true to all illegal immigrants.
Cortez prided himself on an entirely clean criminal record, and is currently working as a lumberjack to help support his girlfriend and two young children.
It’s difficult to think about marriage, he said, until he is officially a US citizen because he doesn’t want his marriage to seem like something he’s just doing to gain his citizenship.
He firmly stated that he wants to get his citizenship “the right way,” so that he can follow his dream of becoming an architect and raising his son and daughter in the safety of America.
Unfortunately, if our applauded politicians continue spamming a message of hate and unacceptance, and rallying masses of angry Americans, the United States might become a country not worth immigrating to.