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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
what the Yucatecan Mayas
I have a random question. Yucatecan...does that mean the state or the peninsula? Does it change when we say Yucatecan Maya. I go to Quintana Roo a lot and always call it "the Yucatan". I have often wondered how wrong that is. Is the difference between "Yucatan" and "El Yucatan" clear?

Correct me if I am wrong but I have always felt like culture on the peninsula was rather unified. I mean do people from Merida relate to those in Chetumal and Campeche more than say in Oaxaca/Mexico City/Durango/Chiapas. Clearly this is not black and white (Maya probably have different views than Latinos and plenty of people from Mexico City live on the peninsula etc). I ask because I just noticed that all thee states were part of the Yucatan Republic.

I once read that culture in Mexico is so diverse that you can travel 100 miles in almost any direction from almost any town and experience a cultural change greater than we see in the USA between Boston and Atlanta (something like that). If this is true than I would expect Merida and Chetumal to be really different...is the Yucatan an exception?
 

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Thats great history.

One of the reasons I like the Caribbean Coast of Mexico and Central America so much is the result of all this history. The Spanish dominated politics and social dynamics inland, but most of the coast was isolated. This allowed for incredible cultural diversity to evolve on the coast. Latin influences abound but the indigenous and black culture also abound (Maya in Yucatan, English and Creole Belize, Garifuna, Miskito, Blacks in Costa etc).

I bring it up because during the Mexico/Texas debate, those in the Yucatan were (as you mentioned) not participating. They were focused on their own independence. Within 2 years of Mexican Independence from Spain the Maya created the Yucatan Republic. It lasted as long as the Tex/Mex conflict...the Maya gave up their independent Republic the same year Mexico gave up on Texas.

I never heard about the Yucatan trying to be a US State. That's interesting.
By Spanish you mean Spaniards right?
 

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There is no doubt that the Peninsula has its own culture but that is pretty much true of any area that was isolated for a long time. Many of the upper class Mexicans from Yucatan and Chiapas for that matter would study in Europe rather than Mexico City as it was eaier and more prestigious to go there than Mexico City.

Once day I was visiting the house of Belisario Dominguez in Chiapas and I realized that all the books in his office were in French as he had gone to Paris to study medecine. Apparently that was true for a lot of the sons of the upper clases both in Chiapas and in the Yucatan.

I worked with a French man once who was an engineer and had lived in the Yucatan for quite a while and worked on the team who built the airport in Merida. He told me that the Yucatan was very isolated in those day and had its own culture .He cherished the wonderful memories of his life there.

But I think it is important to remember that indigenous would travel great distances to trade so there is no area totally intact and without influences from other tribes, cultures etc..You had to that the Europeans and the Africans who also went through there and you have a pretty unique culture in many parts of Mexico.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 · (Edited)
You can refer to natives of Spain as either "the Spanish" or "Spaniards".
And I really meant Spanish as well as Mexicans (other nationalities too) of Spanish decent.

I never use Spaniard. I have heard that word used in a derogatory context too many times. This especially true when used by the "locals" (the whites descendant from pirates) in the Bay Islands Honduras but I have also heard it used by blacks (even Latinos...or people I would have expected to identify as Latino) throughout the Caribbean coast. I am not sure its a derogatory but its always been derogatory context.

I asked a Mexican (of Spanish descent) from Mexico City about this in a rural area near Chetumal.. He said that his dialect, color and facial features stand out like a sore thumb in the area he lives. He has a Roman nose, a PhD and a hard time understanding his neighbors (linguistically and culturally). They are mostly mestizos that live in a very poor isolated area. He said that any animosity comes from him being wealthy, educated and from the capital...not necessarily his "race" per se. He added that wealthy outsiders (that dont fit in) are generally "Spaniards" from the "city". I heard the exact same thing from a my Roman nosed business partner in Tortuguero Costa Rica.

All I am pointing out is that it is used for some Mexicans, Hondurans, Nicaraguans and Costa Ricans of Spanish descent too. I accidentally used Spanish the way I have heard them use Spaniard. I have a feeling I should avoid that.
 

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And I really meant Spanish as well as Mexicans (other nationalities too) of Spanish decent.

I never use Spaniard. I have heard that word used in a derogatory context too many times. This especially true when used by the "locals" (the whites descendant from pirates) in the Bay Islands Honduras but I have also heard it used by blacks (even Latinos...or people I would have expected to identify as Latino) throughout the Caribbean coast. I am not sure its a derogatory but its always been derogatory context.

I asked a Mexican (of Spanish descent) from Mexico City about this in a rural area near Chetumal.. He said that his dialect, color and facial features stand out like a sore thumb in the area he lives. He has a Roman nose, a PhD and a hard time understanding his neighbors (linguistically and culturally). They are mostly mestizos that live in a very poor isolated area. He said that any animosity comes from him being wealthy, educated and from the capital...not necessarily his "race" per se. He added that wealthy outsiders (that dont fit in) are generally "Spaniards" from the "city". I heard the exact same thing from a business partner in Tortuguero Costa Rica.
In the US it's become common for uninformed people to call anyone who speaks Spanish as their first language "Spanish". But, of course, this is incorrect. Do we call everyone whose native language is English "English"? Of course not.

I've never heard "Spaniard" being used in a derogatory way in the States. Here, of course, you would say "español". There are, however, a few derogatory ways to refer to Spaniards in Mexico, like gachupín. A Mexican of Spanish descent is still Mexican, not Spanish. It sounds like things a bit different in Chetumal, though. I've never been to that part of Mexico, but in the places I have spent some time in, I've never heard of wealthy outsiders referred to as "Spaniards", unless they were indeed from Spain. Anyway, thanks for sharing these revealing anecdotes about life and attitudes along the Mexican and Central American coasts.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 · (Edited)
A Mexican of Spanish descent is still Mexican, not Spanish. It sounds like things a bit different in Chetumal, though. I've never been to that part of Mexico, but in the places I have spent some time in, I've never heard of wealthy outsiders referred to as "Spaniards", unless they were indeed from Spain. Anyway, thanks for sharing these revealing anecdotes about life and attitudes along the Mexican and Central American coasts.
I did not mean to say that the Mestizos called him Spaniard in Chetumal but that they related to him as someone of more Spanish heritage and it was not necessarily a good thing. I got the impression in was more like the way we think of the Aristocrat. It seemed similar to what I have seen other places without using of the word.

Now that you mention it, everywhere I have heard this was in areas where English is common among the locals... like the Bay Islands, Miskito Coast and Caribbean of Costa Rica. Chetumal is so close to Belize maybe a bit of it drifted over.

I learned Spanish in the Bay Islands where this is common. The first time I heard it used, it was one of the most offensive shocking things I've ever heard. I probably notice it more because of this. I also never quite understood it since, like you said, they don't call me English. This is why I ask people from time to time and why I don't use it.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
As for "unless they were from Spain" I did not mean they would use it for Gringos. They use it for rich Nationals that look European. I think this has to do with when they came from Spain. They may be nationals but they are rich and look a lot like the people that they fought to get there everything back from.

I know its taboo but I thought "shade racism" was common in Mexico. That is, elite lighter skinned people looking down on darker more Indigenous populations.
 

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As for "unless they were from Spain" I did not mean they would use it for Gringos. They use it for rich Nationals that look European. I think this has to do with when they came from Spain. They may be nationals but they are rich and look a lot like the people that they fought to get there everything back from.

I know its taboo but I thought "shade racism" was common in Mexico. That is, elite lighter skinned people looking down on darker more Indigenous populations.
This is definitely not something that exists in Mexico, as far as I know, except for areas like Chetumal. Good God, Spaniards haven't been running things in Mexico for over two hundred years! Historical memories run long and deep in certain parts of the country, whether for better or for worse, I cannot say.

Of course, this kind of racism exists in Mexico though many Mexicans will deny it.
 

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I know its taboo but I thought "shade racism" was common in Mexico. That is, elite lighter skinned people looking down on darker more Indigenous populations.[/QUOTE]

I am not sure why you used the word "elite" there, amigo. Racism is rampant in Mexico and people with lighter skin look down on people with darker skin routinely no matter their social class.

When we drive between San Cristóbal de Las Casas and Lake Chapala in our Mexicianplated acr, we are normally above suspicioun and let through d without hesitation but when our dark.skinned indigenous friends are with us, we are subject to thorough searches and intensily questioned as to documentatoio. Such is life.
 

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There is a huge racist tradition in Mexico, mostly towards indigenous people
I don't think Ing. Carlos Slim, Lebanese origin, gets discriminated, even though he's not european or blonde.
As I said, mostly goes to indigenous, then black people, and then...any racial or religious difference one may have
 

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That is a good point Gary, it mostly goes towards indigenous although they are plenty of decent people with indigenous. The nasty ones are pretty nasty.
I had a black friend from Surinam in San Cristobal and she told me she was much less discriminated against in Mexico than in the US but the she was stunningly beautiful and exotic looking so tat may have helped her.
MY friends from Oaxaca in Ajijic are called something like tagadas which makes me laugh but really upset them.
When I asked a local why the name I was told it was just a nickname and nothing racist was meant but I can tell you the recipients of the nickname do not appreciate it,

By the way I have never heard of "tagadas" is that something nasty or just some silly nicjkname?
 

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That is a good point Gary, it mostly goes towards indigenous although they are plenty of decent people with indigenous. The nasty ones are pretty nasty. I had a black friend from Surinam in San Cristobal and she told me she was much less discriminated against in Mexico than in the US but the she was stunningly beautiful and exotic looking so tat may have helped her. MY friends from Oaxaca in Ajijic are called something like tagadas which makes me laugh but really upset them. When I asked a local why the name I was told it was just a nickname and nothing racist was meant but I can tell you the recipients of the nickname do not appreciate it, By the way I have never heard of "tagadas" is that something nasty or just some silly nicjkname?
I've never heard that, it would be interesting to find out what it is, possibly a nasty thing I'm afraid
 

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There is a huge racist tradition in Mexico, mostly towards indigenous people
I don't think Ing. Carlos Slim, Lebanese origin, gets discriminated, even though he's not european or blonde.
As I said, mostly goes to indigenous, then black people, and then...any racial or religious difference one may have
My observations have been similar ... regarding discrimination in Mexico.
 

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Regarding racism in Mexico, sadly it runs even within families. Many years ago I was taking a third-class bus from Mexico City back to Texcoco, where I was living at the time. I started chatting with a nice middle-aged Mexican woman, who told me that her niece had married an American guy. She mentioned how surprised she was that a "tall handsome" American had fallen in love with and married her niece, since her niece was "fea" (keep in mind that often "feo/a" here means "not attractive" rather than "ugly", the basic translation of the word into English). When I protested that, of course, her niece wasn't "fea", she responded, something on the order of, "But she's so "morena" (dark). After that comment, there wasn't much for me to say.
 

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Regarding racism in Mexico, sadly it runs even within families. Many years ago I was taking a third-class bus from Mexico City back to Texcoco, where I was living at the time. I started chatting with a nice middle-aged Mexican woman, who told me that her niece had married an American guy. She mentioned how surprised she was that a "tall handsome" American had fallen in love with and married her niece, since her niece was "fea" (keep in mind that often "feo/a" here means "not attractive" rather than "ugly", the basic translation of the word into English). When I protested that, of course, her niece wasn't "fea", she responded, something on the order of, "But she's so "morena" (dark). After that comment, there wasn't much for me to say.
Wow
But that is a very wide spread way of thinking
In that case, Halle Berry would be super fea!
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
I am not sure why you used the word "elite" there, amigo. Racism is rampant in Mexico and people with lighter skin look down on people with darker skin routinely no matter their social class.
Yeah, that was a really poor choice of words. I meant they think they are elite.

I also meant for it to be a question. What I am trying to figure out, is weather the "power class" is still dominated by "Spanish Blood". This goes back to members of the Criollo Caste thinking they were of pure Spanish descent. Are they still in charge?

In reference to "no matter their social class" I would generally agree but I have seen it go the other way (although not in Mexico). Along the Caribbean Coast people often consider themselves Caribeño regardless of race. It is a cultural distinction that relates to Caribbean life. In this situation people often cross race to side with other Caribeño before they would agree with the outsiders. If the outsider is a rich, pale National they call him a "Spaniard" but if that guy had an identical twin that had been living a Caribbean lifestyle for a few generations he would just be another guy.

This is NOT TO SAY these people don't discriminate against each other. They all distrust each other (and more) and the only thing they agree on is that they don't like Costa Ricans...lol. But within a "given shade" the discrimination is much greater towards non Caribeños. Its a unique case of culture being more important than race or religion.
 

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Yeah, that was a really poor choice of words. I meant they think they are elite.

I also meant for it to be a question. What I am trying to figure out, is weather the "power class" is still dominated by "Spanish Blood". This goes back to members of the Criollo Caste thinking they were of pure Spanish descent. Are they still in charge?

Power class in Mexico, and I think in the world, is dominated by money.
Coming back to Mexico, Spaniards are not in power anymore, and even back then, Criollos were considered lower class compared to Iberic Spaniards, born in Spain.

Then again, Spaniards were under Arabic rule for...800 years and also under Romans for many years, how much pure blood would that be? Arabs are dark people you know?

I have some Italian, French, Arabic, Spanish and I think there is a bit of stray dog bloods in me, so I have to defend this non pure race position!
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
I have some Italian, French, Arabic, Spanish and I think there is a bit of stray dog bloods in me, so I have to defend this non pure race position!
I hope it did not come off like I was defending purity. I'm a mutt too!
I just thought this was a bigger part of Mexican politics than it is.
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
Boy, I sure opened a can of worms using the word "Spanish". I kept digging so I could better understand a dynamic that most of you claim does not exist. However, the author of this paper describes the dynamic in detail.

QUOTE from Manchester University Department of Social Anthropology @ http://jg.socialsciences.manchester.ac.uk/Peasants/mestizaje.html:

"What the elites of the region have done over the centuries is manipulate ideas about "ethnic" difference to divide lower class people against each other: to encourage them to feel they are intrinsically "different" and have nothing in common. So again we can see that looking at how ethnic distinctions are constructed is not just an academic issue. It has very important political implications, especially given that national elites tend to be seen by ordinary people as different from themselves and essentially "more European"....

"Mexico’s political history after 1856 is the history of the rise of a new mestizo elite. It is, however, an elite which is extremely authoritarian as far as Indians are concerned; it is an elite which has fully internalized the old Creole ideology of whitening as progress and sees itself as a progressive force in history because it is leaving the backward Indian past behind"...

"On the negative side, however, we must recognize that the national state in Mexico and the regional state governments are still controlled by non-Indian elites which have vested interests to defend"...
END QUOTE

So.... Maybe Mexico is not ruled by Spaniards, but according to this paper... "more European" people that "internalized the old Creole ideology" "still controlled" Mexico.

Oddly enough this paper (published scientific literature) also uses both "Indian" and "elite". Its amazing how intertwined these subjects can become.
 
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