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[Xmca-l] Re: Stereotyping Latin America and Mexico at the U. of Louisville
What we see is obvious invocation of symbols of Mexican culture.
Insensitivity resides in the nuance of cultural resonances, not in the invocation of symbols, per se, of course.
In this case, the costuming was with respect to folkloric traditions of Mexico, not to active garb of a religious or ethnic community.
What you and Annalisa are reflecting in your blanket condemnation of this university president is a tradition of cultural interpretation of our own community, not a set of moral principles.
We do better as an academic community when we scrutinize our own cultural practices, and not just those of others.
When I asked "Why is this a put-down, rather than a celebration of Mexican culture" it's because I can easily imagine regimes of interpretation where that would be the case. My cultural antennae did not signal alarm at the picture, as they would if the image were of people in blackface or in Hassidic or Muslim garb, or if the Mexican depiction had been degenerate, with dirty and torn folkloric costuming.
I wonder if we have any of Mexican scholars on our list who could share their experience of the image.
From: email@example.com [mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org] On Behalf Of David Preiss
Sent: Sunday, November 01, 2015 12:55 PM
To: eXtended Mind, Culture, Activity
Subject: [Xmca-l] Re: Stereotyping Latin America and Mexico at the U. of Louisville
I don't see an issue of nuance here. What I see is that they just are obviously insensitive to Mexican culture. Cultural vilification in this case originates from the lack of attention on behalf of university authorities to the symbolic nature of cultural symbols and their evident degradation to the status of pretended funny costumes for a party totally unrelated to the culture associated to those costumes. I could grant some empathy to uneducated college first year students, not to a president that is responsible of their education.
On Sun, Nov 1, 2015 at 3:26 PM, David H Kirshner <email@example.com> wrote:
> Thanks, David and Annalisa.
> I agree with the examples of blackface, Hassidic Jews, and devout Muslims.
> But this is about nuance, not about open-and-shut universal principles.
> I live in the Southern U.S., and while aware of the politics you speak
> of, I'm not sure it translates into cultural vilification, per se.
> Perhaps that's why these university folks, who wouldn't think of
> dressing in blackface or as Hassidic Jews or devout Muslims thought it
> would be okay to dress in folkloric Mexican costumes.
> -----Original Message-----
> From: firstname.lastname@example.org [mailto:
> email@example.com] On Behalf Of David
> Sent: Sunday, November 01, 2015 12:14 PM
> To: eXtended Mind, Culture, Activity
> Subject: [Xmca-l] Re: Stereotyping Latin America and Mexico at the U.
> of Louisville
> On addition to what Annalisa points out, they dressed like that for a
> halloween party. If they would have dressed themselves as Hassidic
> jews or devoted muslims for, I insist, a Halloween party, that would
> have been antisemitic or islamophobic. So, Mexicans are scary Halloween monsters?
> Something to be afraid of? And certainly they don't look like they are
> celebrating Mexican culture, but using cartoon-like Mexican symbols as
> an aside of whatever they intended to be doing at that moment.
> Very insensitive when you have Trump treating Mexico and immigrants
> like a public enemy or the plague and even Latin origin candidates
> giving away their roots for the sake of political power.
> That university president should leave his post, he is dishonoring
> academe as a whole by remaining in his position.
> On Sun, Nov 1, 2015 at 2:51 PM, Annalisa Aguilar <firstname.lastname@example.org> wrote:
> > David K,
> > Your question about why this is a put down is really hard to believe.
> > But OK, think about it this way: If they were in blackface and
> > holding watermelons, would you get it then?
> > Annalisa