Please, if you have time read this article. Just as interesting, if not disappointing, are the comments that proceed the article. The comments that “Mexicans simply do not value education as much as some segments of our population” or the “that’s why they shouldn’t be here in the first place” rhetoric is enough to make any Mexican-American blood boil. Including mine.
Especially because readers are interpreting this to mean that every single Mexican is uneducated, doesn’t want to be educated, or can’t be educated. As Andy from Maryland so poignantly informs us, “Based on my experience of living in Mexico for 4 years, I concluded that Mexicans simply do not value education as much as some segments of our population. It’s simply not part of their ethos… Sorry.”
124 people agree with Andy. And counting.
Really? Because I could have sworn growing up my Mexican parents told me, “Educate para que no sufres como nosotros.” While I’m certainly not the rule or the exception to the rule, it’s because of my Mexican culture that I graduated valedictorian of my high school and attend one of the nation’s most competitive and elite institutions. And the five Columbia University, Mexican-American, first-generation college students I hung out with tonight? Yeah, they grew up hearing the same thing.
As C. Wright Mills reminds us, our lives are not by accident. “Every individual lives, from one generation to the next, in some society [where] he lives out a biography, and that he lives it out within some historical sequence.”
So no, it’s no surprise to me that Mexicans lag behind in education. Why? Because at this moment in history our biographies are being shaped by powerful social forces. Let me remind you of a few:
How come none of this being realized by such “informed” commentators? Sigh. This reality is not by accident. More than anything, this article is a powerful and heart-breaking reminder of the challenges and stereotypes that Mexicans in the United States need to overcome.
Hasta la victoria. Todas las partes de nosotros valen.