When Will “Mexican” be OK?

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Here in Queretaro I take three classes for my Spanish Major. They are: Advanced Writing, Language and Society, and Linguistics. In two of three classes, students say that I get good grades only because I’m Mexican and already fluent in the language.

The other day, while in Mexico City, I heard a student from my study abroad group say that everything is ‘dirt cheap’ here in Mexico. I asked what he meant, and he said that everything was always less than 1,000 Mexican pesos, usually less than 500 pesos and because of that, everything is ‘dirt cheap.’ I said to him that that is a very American way of thinking.

The equivalencies of 1,000 and 500 pesos are about 50 and 25 US dollars. In Mexico, American money obviously goes a long way, but people in Mexico don’t work for American dollars; they don’t get their paychecks in American dollars. I asked him to think about that, but he didn’t seem to care and even seemed upset, he may have taken my comment as a challenge. The average pay in Mexico is 88 pesos per day, a bit more than 4 US dollars, per day.

I invited my friends to go Morelia, Michoacán with me. Morelia is a colonial city that is also the capital of my home state. The city is safe itself, although Michoacán has a level 4 travel advisory, since most of the state is rural, and has space for crime to exist. Besides the point, they were unsure. A friend said, “we’re White, and we look White. We’re probably at a higher risk than you, since you look Mexican.”

I just want to know when it will finally be okay to be and look Mexican.