The Danger of Stereotypes

How stereotypes shape our views and perspectives.

Stereotypes of Mexicans and Illegal Immigrants

Mexican’s, similar to white people, have many different stereotypes associated with them. These stereotypes originated when Mexicans started illegally crossing the border from Mexico into the United States. The Mexicans were trying to escape Mexico from all of the drug trafficking and terrible living conditions. They wanted to come to the United States and live the American Dream. Anthony Dwarkin tells us how unfortunately when they arrived here they found it to be near impossible to find a high paying, steady job because no company would hire an illegal immigrant, they were forced into manual labor often working for “under the table payment”.

Since the majority of Mexicans coming to the United States at that time were illegal immigrants working in manual labor, this is where the stereotype that all Mexicans are landscapers or construction workers came from. Also, that all Mexican women are housekeepers and maids. This is seen in the novel, Tortilla Curtain, when Candido searches for work at the labor exchange and often ends up landscaping or in construction. Similar when America finds work she is cleaning lady. Candido and America never made enough money to successfully move into an apartment and had to reside living down in the canyon. Since neither the occupation of most Mexicans does not pays very well, many Mexicans cannot afford a good standard of living, which is where the stereotype that all Mexicans are poor and dirty originated.

This is often the stereotypical job of a Mexican male in the United States.

Unlike the white stereotypes the Mexicans and immigrants do not have separate class system stereotypes. The majority of the stereotypical Mexican illegal immigrant population is poor and some even homeless. This is seen in southern California area where many illegal immigrants have smuggled across the border and have no place to live and no money, which forces them to live along the side of the road. Many look on this living style poorly, especially the upper/middle class, who has little sympathy for them. As seen in the Tortilla Curtain when Delaney and his wife Kyra see the Mexicans on the streets leaving a bad image for their community and make it look like an inner city. In general, Mexicans do not have a very good stereotype and it is often degrading to them. Many people look poorly upon Mexicans, even if they do not fit into the stereotype.

This picture shows the common living conditions of an illegal immigrant or poor Mexican trying to live in America

The following YouTube clip is of the Latino comedian, George Lopez. He often makes fun of the Mexican stereotypes, which is ironic because he has a Mexican background. In this YouTube video, between 7minutes, 30seconds and 8minutes, 10 seconds, Lopez talks with Mila Kunis about how Miley Cyrus was caught smoking Salvia. Lopez questions how Miley got the salvia, and states that it should have been the Mexicans because they are always on the side of the freeway.

This leads me to the final stereotype that I will discuss, which is the stereotype that all Mexicans are drug dealers. This originated from the fact that there is a vast amount of drug trafficking in Mexico. Since drugs sell for high prices many of the immigrants found that they could make a reasonable living off selling drugs which they have smuggled across the border from Mexico. Specifically Tijuana is the main location of one of the world’s largest drug cartels. Below is a picture showing Mexicans smuggling drugs across the border.

Mexicans smuggle drugs into the United States through secret under ground tunnels.

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