Stereotyping Mexicans in Mexico Is OK ...

As Long as the Star Is a 'Gringo'

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Laura Martinez
Laura Martinez
U.S. midfielder Landon Donovan is apparently so well-known in Mexico that he is the star of a new TV commercial pitching -- of all things -- a soccer-themed lottery product, Gana Gol, owned by Grupo Televisa.

In the spot, currently airing on Mexican television, Donovan attempts to sneak into Mexico by pretending to be a "real Mexican" guy (the peasant type, if you know what I mean) wearing a big hat, a colorful poncho and -- what else? -- a huge mustache.

"I'm mecsicano," he says to the guard with a heavy gringo accent.

Not to be fooled, the guard peels off his mustache and says: "Of course you're not, you're Landon Donovan."

As soon as the "gringo" gets caught by the guard, he runs away blurting out a profanity -- leero! -- often shouted at him during soccer games against the Mexican team.

I'm pretty sure the spot would raise a lot of eyebrows in the U.S., but in Mexico -- where political correctness has failed to catch on -- these images are culturally acceptable, or at least not even considered controversial, including the use of the illegal immigration issue or the stereotype of the "typical Mexican" to pitch a product (not to mention the fact that the product is a gambling game by a Mexican media giant).

Interviewed this week about the spot, Mexican author and social commentator Carlos Monsiváis said Mexicans do not care about these images, simply stating that: "It's hard to have national pride offended by something like this."

I couldn't agree more. Although I wonder if we find it extra funny simply because the stereotyped Mexican in question happens to be, well, a gringo.

Thoughts?

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Read more from Laura daily at Mi Blog Es Tu Blog.

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