[Editor’s Note: The following letter to the editor was received in Spanish. The original version is being reprinted, along with an English translation.]
Solo quería felicitarte por tu columna de opinión en el periódico [“Estrellas Mexicanas sin una,” marzo 2]. Aunque no soy mexicano he conocido bastantes desde que estoy aquí en California y creo que, como bien dices, la estupidez del sistema en el que nos encontramos no tiene límites al momento de estereotipar a las personas, en este caso a las minorías.
A pesar de no ser mexicano, pero si latinoamericano, creo que el excesivo abuso del estereotipo es una de las peores muestras de la ignorancia de la gente en este lugar; ignorancia que se presta para montar comedias en parámetros absurdos. Podrían, como bien señalas, hacerse muchas películas acerca de “el mexicano” que no tendrán nada que ver con una pistola y dos gringos tras de ella…pero estamos lamentablemente del otro lado de la frontera y aqui el mensaje lo construye el dinero del productor y lo sustenta la estulticia de quienes lo consumen.
La tarea del periodista, en este caso tu, es denunciar esta realidad y tirar de las orejas de las personas que, como yo, a veces no caemos en cuenta de lo que consumimos porque simplemente Julia Roberts es increíble. Una vez más felicitaciones.
I just wanted to congratulate you for your last opinion column in the last issue of the Campus Times [“‘Mexican’ stars without one,” March 2]. Although I’m not a Mexican, I’ve met several since I lived here in California and I believe that, as you cleverly say, the stupidity of the system in which we are living doesn’t have limits when stereotyping comes to scene, in this particular case, stereotyping minorities.
Although I’m not a Mexican; but Latin American, I believe that the abuse of the stereotype is just one of the examples of ignorance; this ignorance becomes the base for absurdity. Lots of films about “The Mexican” could be made, certainly, and none of them would show two “gringos” looking for a gun. However, we are on this side of the border and, here, the message is built by the money of producers and is supported by the foolishness of those who consume this message.
I think journalists’ work, you in this case, is to denounce this reality and criticize it. A journalists’ work is to touch the arms of people like me and make us look at what’s going on “just in case we didn’t notice it;” to touch the arm of people like me that go to the theater because of Julia Roberts. Once again, congratulations.
Regarding the editorial “Free expression granted for all” [March 9], I strongly oppose the ideal of free expression at whatever cost. Too many people use the arguments of free expression as a means to force their forms of expression on others. I have no objection to the person who wants to listen to Eminem in the privacy of their room or through headphones. However, as the father of two boys, aged 6 and 3, I resent the bombardment of our ears and sensibilities by people who seem to think their “right” to listen to whatever they want takes precedence over other’s rights not to have to listen to it. The acceptance of earth-shaking stereo systems simply perpetuates this attitude; I do not hear lovers of classical music forcing their music on the general public and I would be offended if they did. When “free expression” is manifest in not only offensive lyrics but also in forcing others to listen to it through the use of excessively loud stereo systems, then I think those “rights” need to be curtailed. A pilot program in Colorado and Alaska forces offenders of loud music ordinances to have to listen to “Barney” and other syrupy music at the same volume they forced on others. Do we have to resort to that, or will some more sensible solutions prevail?
Professor of Movement and Sports Science