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Memo From Mexico | Reflections Of An American Immigration Reform Patriot Living In Mexico
"How can you be so ignorant of, and rude to, the government and people of your host country?"
That was the entirety of a letter from a reader I received earlier this year, rather typical of some of the angry mail I receive. Some readers seem very upset by the fact that I reside in Mexico, yet write for VDARE.COM.
My response is, Why not reside in Mexico and write for VDARE.COM?
But rather than just tell me she disagrees with my point of view, she accuses me of being rude and ignorant.
Another was sure I'm on the payroll of some corporation. That's a rich one!
But it all comes with the territory of living in Mexico and writing for VDARE.COM.
I have addressed some of these issues in previous articles:
- How Can I Live in Mexico and Write for VDARE.COM? is a defense of living in Mexico and writing for VDARE.COM.
- The Education of a Gringo in Mexico explains how living here helped influence my thinking on the National Question and make me an immigration restrictionist.
Another reader wrote me to tell me I was "confused", because some of my articles are positive and others are negative. Well, life is like that isn't it, positive and negative?
I love living here in Mexico and it's been a great experience. My experience has broadened my perspectives. There's nothing like living in a foreign country to make you feel more like an American.
There are some gringos in Mexico who never assimilate. They live here for years and never learn Spanish. That means they have to associate with other Americans or other English speakers.
I would never have wanted to do that, it's too limiting. Besides, you can never really get into the culture here without the Spanish language.
On immigration, there are Americans here who think like I do. We love Mexico, and simultaneously, we want the U.S. to control the border. And we see no contradiction. In fact, as I've often argued, mass emigration is harmful to Mexico in the long run.
On the other hand, there are Americans here who are rabid promoters of open borders.
And many others just don't give a hoot either way.
There are some Americans here who have ceased being loyal to the U.S. They've moved from being "expatriates" (living out of the fatherland) to being "ex-patriots" (former patriots).
There are Americans here who fit the stereotype of the "Ugly American" – they want everybody in Mexico to conform to their expectations. At the other extreme, there are Americans here who are so gullible they fail to see the culture's defects. Everything, no matter how objectionable, is "a beautiful native custom" and all Mexicans "are a beautiful people".
I have always striven to avoid both extremes. Each is demeaning to Mexicans.
What I try to do is see Mexico as it is, seeking to understand the culture on its own terms. This is not the United States and never will be. It's another culture, and I respect that. I don't want Mexico to become Americanized and I don't want the U.S. to become Mexicanized. Is that so unreasonable?
Mexico is a very different country from the United States, with different roots and different traditions. I don't think that Mexicans need to copy everything in the United States in order to improve their country, because I don't think everything American is going to function in Mexico (nor vice-versa).
In the past, when I've heard Mexicans making unfair comments about the United States, often involving immigration, I have lost my temper and argued with them.
As the years passed I've tried to do that less, or at least be more careful. I've learned that I'm not going to change people's minds about everything, especially not in one conversation.
Writing for VDARE.COM has helped me! It's provided me with an outlet, so I don't have to argue with every Mexican who disagrees with me.
Besides, it doesn't really matter what Mexicans think about U.S. immigration policy. If America would only get control of her border and defend her culture, it wouldn't matter what the Mexican government did. They would have to accept it.
I have discovered, too, that regardless of what their government says, many Mexicans, if I have the opportunity to explain my point of view, will at least hear me out. They may even be sympathetic.
And I speak Spanish in everyday life. I certainly haven't lost my American accent. When I open my mouth, if they don't know already, they know I'm a gringo. I'll probably never lose the accent, since I learned Spanish as an adult. If we learn a foreign language as an adult, we can become fluent, but most of us will never lose that accent.
I do try to get the grammar and vocabulary right. The good thing is my wife speaks good Spanish, and her father is a well-recognized teacher of Spanish.
Although I use Spanish in daily life in Mexican society, in my English classes all these years, I have used English. In fact, some students have been surprised to learn that I even speak Spanish. (For more on my English teaching experience, see Learning English Here and There. Recently, one of my students even got me on YouTube singing in my class (in English).
My Mexican wife Lilia and I have two sons, David and Raphael. I have written about them before: My Two Sons and the National Question . (April 2003)
Before they were born, my wife and I decided that they would be bilingual in English and Spanish. The way we did it was very simple. Since they were babies, I spoke to them in English and my wife spoke to them in Spanish. And it worked wonderfully. It's called simultaneous bilingualism. They speak both languages well.
And they don't mash them together into some barbarous form of "Spanglish."
My sons seem to be well-liked on the middle-class street on which we reside. They have been referred to as los americanos (the Americans). On one occasion one of my sons wanted to purchase an item from a boy who told him he didn't want to sell it to ingleses (English people).
I'd also like to point out that I've never once been censored here in Mexico by the Mexican government. Only once did I receive a letter from a Mexican official complaining about my articles. And I don't know if he spoke for himself or his department.
But the Mexican government has never stopped me from writing anything that I wanted to in an article for VDARE.COM.
Thanks to all the readers through the years who have sent me encouraging letters. I plan to keep on writing.
And, too, thanks to those who send negative letters—they keep me on my toes and are highly entertaining!
American citizen Allan Wall (email him) resides in Mexico, with a legal permit issued him by the Mexican government. In 2005, Allan served a tour of duty in Iraq with the Texas Army National Guard. His VDARE.COM articles are archived here; his Mexidata.info articles are archived here and his website is here.