I got to be honest.
Today, I woke up with the intention to steal some shit.
I don’t know what’s happened to me?!?
You know, we got these uncontrollable urges to steal.
Us foreigners are just crazy ass motherfuckers.
We were never taught to not steal like those moral Mexicans who always knew right from wrong.
Oh no – we never got that lesson.
Thankfully, I got the memo today!
Someone finally told me how it is.
That, in Mexico, stealing is NO BUENO!
Well, thank you for educating me!
I just had no idea beforehand.
Here’s the announcement in question that I read not too long ago.
You know – it reminds me of my days back in Iowa.
There was a story that came out into the local news way back in 2017 when it was reported that some gal was raped in Mexico.
Among all of the other stories you hear about people in Mexico doing other morally questionable activities like rape, murder, selling drugs, etc.
I was beyond angry and insulted watching this happen to one of my own, a girl who worked hard to have the money for a vacation to Mexico.
So I went around telling other Mexicans not to rape anybody.
I asked them this simple question: "Finally, ask yourself, are you truly a good person or are you raping foreigners?"
Hey – a few Mexicans been raping. The rest need a reminder to not rape, don’t you know?
Different cultures for different folks.
We foreigners in Latin America need to be told not to steal and Mexicans need to be told not to rape.
It ain’t any of our fault for not knowing otherwise!
Neither of us were told about the strange customs of the other people!
Th strange customs of not stealing and not raping!
In all seriousness though, the post above actually did generate a little bit of a conversation among foreigners and Mexicans in a “Expats in Mexico” group on Facebook.
I saw it back when I was living by Lindavista but never got around to talking about it on here.
Though it get me going for 30 minutes in the moment thinking how retarded the post was.
So let’s get to it then.
What is there to say about something like this?
A Call to be Humble
Let me start by saying that I don't think all of the post is bad. There's one particular theme I agree with that I'm getting vibes from when I read this story.
Particularly from this paragraph here:
"Appreciate people singing for a few coins, selling crafts from their homes, and people working hard to serve you the food you brag about on Instagram. The reality of this country is one of extreme poverty and disparity .."
Of course, who doesn't like a call to be humble?
I agree with that.
Though I do push back against it slightly.
For one, why do only foreigners need to be told to be humble?
In my experience living in Mexico, I've seen way more foreigners literally BEND OVER BACKWARDS like you can see in this story here to satisfy the locals.
Of course, you got some asshole foreigners also but you also got a shit ton of asshole locals as well.
Everyone can be a little bit more humble, no?
On top of that, I also sometimes take a little bit of an issue with calls to "be humble" because the context in which it is said gives bad vibes.
Essentially, you got the "higher than thou" local and the smug social justice warrior who interpret being humble as being someone who gets taken advantage of and lets locals fuck them over because "oh, they're so poor. It's OK."
Assuming said call to be humble is directed towards everyone and not just foreigners with no xenophobic vibes and assuming we aren't asking anyone, foreigners included, to be pushovers, then I'm cool with a call to be humble.
Let's move on.
"It's Not Your Country"
Then we have this quote here.
"This is a message to all the foreigners living and enjoying the benefits of this city and this country, RESPECT the people and the place that's welcoming you, this is not your country and you must not take advantage of the people who open their doors to you. While we're at it, have the decency of learning the basics of the language, traditions and economics ..."
While I don't disagree with learning the language, traditions, economics and respecting others, I don't entirely agree with his "this isn't your country" statement.
For most foreigners, this is true.
However, you do have PLENTY of foreigners who spend years in Mexico, have property in Mexico, have residency and/or citizenship, have Mexican children and a family living here, a business, etc.
How is it not their country?
They weren't born here but they are PART OF SOCIETY like anyone else.
Of course, this isn't applicable to most foreigners who visit Mexico as most are tourists.
Though the post above was posted in a "expats in Mexico" group where the majority likely do have at least residency and quite possibly some of the other things listed before (citizenship, a family here, business, property, etc).
They pay taxes. They take their kids to local schools. They have years or decades here.
This is their country too.
Let's flip it around to help you understand.
Is a Mexican born person who lives in the US and satisfies many of the above (family, business, kids, etc) part of the US?
Is it his country too after so many roots have been put down in the US?
If someone were to say no, they'd be called racist.
Which, if we're being honest, they quite likely are perhaps.
So why can the Mexican in that circumstance say that it is his country but the person born in the US, Canada, Europe, Mongolia or wherever cannot say the same about Mexico if they have the same amount of roots above put down?
This is the hypocrisy I see among many Latin Americans who are, in my opinion, a little more closed minded to the idea of us "becoming part of their country."
Of course, the US has plenty of its own ignorant folks like that and not everyone in Latin America is like that.
It's only been my impression anyway, after even seeing some foreigners with actual citizenship down here being told to go home, that people in Latin America are more broadly speaking less exposed to this fact of life.
That fact being that some folks from the so called "first world" do become immigrants to a country down here and it does become "their country" too.
And the truth is that the US has a lot more immigrants to its country than most Latin countries and so more folks in the US are exposed to this detail in life.
I've had my own experience trying to explain to folks in Mexico that I live here as you can read in this article and some just can't believe it.
Some find it strange!
Not necessarily that they hate me living here but it's just a new concept for SOME folks in Latin America.
And, to be fair, I think this level of surprise to the idea is also heavily dependent on the type of Latin American you are talking with.
Of course, every country has xenophobic cunts and that's just how they are.
And some areas of Latin America have A LOT more foreigners who do live there than other parts. Consequently, folks in those areas are more exposed to this detail and are more open minded to it.
Places like that would probably include your typical capital cities like Mexico City or Buenos Aires and also various touristy areas like San Miguel de Allende or Cuenca.
On the flip side, try living in a city like Pachuca in Mexico and you'll notice a little more surprise from the locals.
Though, as I said, the "surprise" they carry is almost never hostile and just one of curiosity.
Still, a few can be hostile but life goes on.
So, in short, a country like Mexico can be "our country too" but that's heavily dependent on who we are talking about and what roots they actually have in the country.
But let's move on.
Self-Hating Foreigners with a Fake Story?
Right off the bat, I am getting “fake story” vibes from what I’m reading.
It sounds more like a fake story made to basically just shame foreigners for whatever purpose.
The purpose not being much obviously outside of just shaming us.
But I do have questions.
First, if this was in a touristy area (assuming it was since that’s where most foreigners are), I can’t imagine it’d be difficult to get the police on them.
Despite the police being a common joke in Mexico, they aren’t the worst thing in the world in Mexico City as they do arrest numerous criminals as you can see here.
And that’s not even a touristy area.
When I lived in touristy areas like Roma Norte, I saw more infrastructure in place to help report crime.
Second, the waitress cried?
To be honest, this could’ve happened too.
I don’t know how much of a prick her boss is.
But, on the flip side, I’ve seen locals skip out on the check and no crying commenced.
No distressed workers.
Still, the story isn’t totally absurd.
Someone wanted to steal a free meal and the boss was a prick.
Both things happen in the real world.
And, given that the witness was able to pay the full 700 MXN bill, I imagine he or she is comfortable financially.
And, in my experience, it’s usually upper class folks (some of them anyway) in Latin America who take on more of a social justice attitude that has some semblance to leftist ideas in the US.
So I can see how an upper middle class Mexican could be involved here.
Regardless of the validity of the story, let’s dissect it a little bit more.
First, in case anyone was doubting my intentions, I truly believe thieves suck.
Since I am a foreigner also, I don’t want anyone thinking I’m thinking that stealing is OK.
In the same way that the typical Mexican knows that raping is bad, I know that stealing is bad.
Still, let’s start with the obvious – stealing is a big NO NO.
If you buy something (food or whatever else), you should pay for it.
Is Maria a Rapist?
I’ve already hinted at this argument a few times now so I won’t dig much more into it.
But the idea being – why the fuck are you telling us?
The article has a strong vibe of “us vs. them” mentality.
“As a Mexican, I’m beyond angry and insulted from watching this happen to one of my own.”
So you wouldn’t be as angry if this happened to someone else that wasn’t Mexican?
“Finally, ask yourself, are you truly living in Mexico or are you just taking advantage of it?”
This is another reason why I suspect the story is bullshit.
It sounds more like an invented story that isn’t completely unbelievable (with minimal details) just to throw out for the purpose of driving home a larger message.
Especially in the context of life in Mexico City nowadays with so many more foreigners in the city these days than before.
With that, you have some xenophobic cunts who hate having more foreigners in general and others who have more specific issues (like seeing an x amount of foreigners not wearing a mask).
Still, how would it sound in reverse?
I know this argument is played out a lot in the US and, if we’re being honest, the audience this argument is meant for is always ignores it as those who are hypocritical are not educated enough to realize it.
Still, would it sound right if I went up to a random Mexican in the US – like a woman I know named Maria who runs a Mexican restaurant in my hometown – and go…
“Maria, didn’t you hear? A MEXICAN raped an innocent woman in Mexico, Maria. I hope you are acting respectfully and not raping anyone today, Maria!!!"
Like how much of a jackass would you sound regardless of the nationalities involved?
Because that’s what this story is.
Some random ass foreigners (who might not even share the same nationality or native language of me but at least the same skin color I assume) did something illegal.
Therefore, we need to remind all the other foreigners (especially those of the same skin color) that it’s wrong to steal.
To make this even more similar to the example with Maria, I wouldn't even need to come at her with a story about a Mexican raping someone.
By the logic of the story above, you are free to remind anyone who shares the same skin color or at least is a foreigner like Maria to remind Maria not to rape anyone.
For example, I had a roommate in college who was from Pakistan.
He was as brown as Maria and was also a person who was born outside of the US.
So let's say he went CRAZY one day where he runs outside, rips his shirt off, beats his chest and yells loudly "I MUST RAPE SOMEONE!!!!"
Then proceeds to rape someone.
Could I go up to Maria then and be like "yo Maria, there was another foreigner who was as brown as you caught raping someone. I hope you are living a decent life where you ain't raping anyone, Maria."
Then she rightfully goes “what the fuck does that have to do with me, cocksucker?!?”
And you know who else is retarded?
Anyone who, for whatever reason, isn't putting blame on the boss in the story that stole from the waitress.
The Boss is a Faggot
In reading this story, I found it funny that no accountability is held on the boss.
It really shows the backward third world way thinking of the storyteller in question.
So you going to blame the foreigners only (who do deserve blame) but you aren’t going to shit on the boss?
The boss, though probably not a millionaire, can probably afford the 35 dollar (700 MXN peso) expense.
And, though I’ve never been a business owner in Mexico, I imagine that there’s a thing called insurance in the country for business owners.
Not to mention that said thieving foreigners probably stole in a touristy area and would be more easily caught in such an area with all the cameras around if the boss took the effort.
Not like they are in Neza or some shit.
Regardless, where’s the accountability held on the boss?
“You Don’t Know Latin America”
As you can see here in the comment section of the post, this is an argument against the idea of holding accountability to the boss.
I get it.
It’s true – shit doesn’t work down here like it should.
Still, there’s two things to be said.
First, if we’re putting out blame for this situation, I would argue the boss deserves as much blame here as the thieves.
After all, the boss is a thief objectively speaking.
He has no right to steal someone’s wage for some shit that they didn’t do.
He is objectively stealing from an employee that had nothing to do with the loss.
What does he expect?
The employee running after the foreigners to restrain them and force them to pay?
As a boss of a company, he has to expect some losses.
The thieves in question do need to pay for what they did but the boss shouldn’t be able to do what he did.
And while I get that things don’t work as well in Latin America, this is no excuse.
“Well, it’s just Latin America. Suck dick.”
I want a Latin America with labor laws that work and where shit works in general.
Not where we throw our hands up and go “oh well, sucks for that bitch.”
And that also means a Latin America that holds those two thieves accountable.
At the end of the day, it’s not like we’re asking for much here.
Just enforce a basic labor law – you can’t steal from your employees.
And I say the word "enforce" because I imagine said laws are actually on the books.
Well, it's an assumption anyway. I have no idea but I would imagine that they are but not enforced properly.
And, given this is a large city like Mexico City, there’s more resources to stop this behavior.
I get how it’d be more difficult in a more rural area like some village in Chiapas.
So efforts, while not perfect, can be made.
So, at the very least, blame needs to be put on the boss also.
Even if that makes the local uncomfortable by putting a spotlight on how it’s not just foreigners who do stupid shit down here but plenty of locals too.
Still, let’s wrap this up.
The Gringos Without a Budget
As you can see here, it’s not unheard of gringos traveling around the world without a budget.
Consequently, some of them might feel entitled to acting in an illegal manner by stealing shit.
In the same way you got Mexicans who act illegally in the US.
At the end of the day, assholes be assholes.
But, more importantly, it’s a point I’ll always reiterate.
I don’t see much issue with the gringo who is 20 and lives down here for adventure and assuming he doesn’t do illegal shit.
Of course, it’s different if said gringo is 40.
Nothing wrong with a poor gringo anyway – I mean, let’s be real – what is he going to do anyway in that decade of his life? Traveling is probably more fulfilling than most other things he could be doing at an age of 20 where nobody takes him seriously anyhow.
But the type of poor gringo that is stealing stuff is a problem in some parts and obviously should be denounced.
Nothing defensible about it.
Next, you have the argument by some that “this happens everywhere!”
People “dining and dashing” in any country.
That’s technically true.
I used to work in food service.
Subway, Jimmy Johns, a college pizza place, etc.
Still, this is where I’d say there is a difference.
There is a difference between the local in the US or Mexico that legitimately has no money and steals food versus the world traveler (digital nomad or whatever name you give them) that steals food somewhere.
The traveler had to have money to begin traveling.
I can at least feel some sympathy for the local who steals food in any country even while acknowledging that stealing is bad.
Maybe the dude legit needs food?
But, if you have been traveling, you had money for flights and bus trips that could’ve been spent on food.
No reason to be traveling.
It feels different for obvious reasons.
So I’ll leave it at that.
Anyway, there isn’t much more to say on my part.
It’s a interesting piece to comment on in my opinion.
Had me thinking for a little bit.
Mostly in annoyance at the assumption that all of us foreigners need a reminder to not steal and not take advantage of folks because some random ass European couple who might not even share the same nationality of me stole something.
And, even if they did share the same nationality as me, that doesn't mean I need the reminder to not steal.
In the same way that, even if Maria was literally friends with my Pakistani roommate and went bowling with him every Tuesday, that doesn't mean she needs a reminder to not rape if the Pakistani dude decided to rape someone.
She didn't have shit to do with it and I didn't have shit to do with the European couple that stole.
Regardless, it was an entertaining post to consider.
If you have anything to add, drop a comment below in the comment section.
And follow my Twitter here.
Thanks for reading.