You Are Not A Typical Mexican!
By Rosamaria Casas
How many times have I heard this statement since I arrived at Lakeside over three years ago? Dozens! The most amazing fact about it is that most people that emphatically assure me of this, only know perhaps two Mexican women (besides their maids and Aurorita Michel or other ladies at the banks). Typifying or being typified is, to me, a generalization as misleading as saying I hate the Germans, the French, the Brits or the Italians. Nobody could, or should, hate an entire country. There are always compatible people in every corner of the world. And every human being is different.
But, what is a typical Mexican? I’ll answer, like a Jesuit, with another question. What is a typical US citizen? Not even the stereotypes of the cowboy films are the same. John Wayne, as an actor or as a human being, had nothing “typically” in common, in the movies or in real life, with Clint Eastwood, another famous cowboy. Writers? Barbara Bickmore, a successful writer, besides writing has nothing “typically” in common with other successful American writers like Alice Walker or Danielle Steele. Every one of them is entirely different from the other. The same goes for the men of Lakeside. Every person is unique. Not all US citizens look alike, not all Mexicans look like “Mexicans,” or like the stereotype in people’s imagination.
About women like me “not typical Mexicans”. There is a whole generation of women “like me.” We were all educated in the same school, we all speak at least three languages, most of us have travelled a lot, read voraciously and have had successes and failures in the different walks of life each one followed: wives, divorcees, career women, widows, with children or without, nuns still in the convent and some out. They are all over the country and you can find them in politics, in hospitals, in shopping centers, in universities in radio, in television. Several of us write, there are two or three successful artists and many mothers of four or five children and scads of grandchildren. Not all of us practice the religion in which we were educated, not all of us have the same political ideas and not all of us live the same way. We have some points in common: our handwriting looks alike, we all need reading glasses and we all have gray hair, tinted or not, wrinkles, with facelifts or not!
(Ed. Note: This article was written some years ago, when Rosamaria was the editor of this publication. Prior to relocating at Lakeside, she was with the Mexican Foreign Service, having been posted in Athens, Paris and London. Returning to Mexico, she took up writing, and over the years won two of Mexico’s most prestigious literary awards. She was also, I might happily add, the person most responsible for getting me the Ojo editorship.)