American Tourism in Mexico

Peggy Li, Opinion Editor

In contrast with our President, who built his campaign on building a wall, and making disparaging remarks about mexicans being ‘drug dealers, criminals, and rapists,’ thousands of American tourists, often times college students, will inevitably make their way south of the border, often to Cabo or Cancun. I myself also participated in this quintessential ‘spring break’ experience in sunny Cancun, and later Mexico City, and was left somewhat bewildered. The local people were kind, forgiving of my linguistic failures, and helpful towards a tourist who really didn’t have a clue. They were also, notably, not all drug dealers, criminals, or rapists. My question then becomes, for all the american tourists to mexico who likely had a similar experience as myself, how can they condone such remarks about a country, especially when their experience proves that such a narrative is certainly false?Nathaly Pérez

While I admit my ignorance of Mexican politics and criminal history, it seems that the U.S. and Mexico are bound up in a mutually co-dependent relationship. Not only are the U.S and Mexico tied up in trade alliances, but the largest group of immigrants coming into the United states, by far, comes from Mexico. Mexico is the US’s southern neighbor in the same way Canada is the northern neighbor, but both the treatment and understanding of the two countries could not be more different. The general antagonism towards immigration within the United states as of late be it with regard to language (It’s america, speak english) or with xenophobic remarks like ‘go back to your country’ then makes little sense given the degree to which the U.S depends on foreign labor that is often sourced from mexico, and is itself a nation made up of immigrants. Perhaps the now-tenuous white majority is just fearful of losing their majority status.

However, what I especially don’t understand is how the majority of white voters, who likely can and have gone to mexico for vacation, or have encountered a real, live, mexican person before could have voted for Trump given his remarks. It’s one thing to demonize a hypothetical group of people, but quite another to have friends and know people who are Mexican, people that also have their families in the United States, and think that it’s good foreign policy to ‘build a wall’ making it more difficult for them to visit relatives. Furthermore, there seems to be a shocking amount of hypocrisy involved in going to a country for tourism, being welcomed by many of the people there, but not welcoming those some of those same people in return to one’s own country. And for those same people that proclaim that everyone in American should speak english, I sincerely wonder how much spanish those individuals learned before travelling to Cabo to sip cheap margaritas on the beach.

I can only conclude that those making xenophoic comments must have a different, possibly flawed conception of what America is meant to be. Because in my mind, idealistic as it may be, the United States largely represents a dream of a meritocracy, where those who have a vision, with the capability and ambition to achieve it, come for greater opportunity. Anyone from any country who is willing to work hard, and relinquish their given citizenship for values like democracy, fair play, and hard work can become an American. And for those tout the United States as a ‘white, christian, nation,’ I await impending census data that may show an intermixing of culture and race, shifts in religious beliefs, and the changing of the United States as a country.