All you need to know about Iberian America

“This is Mexico! Speak Spanish!”

Published October 1, 2022 in Learning Spanish & Portuguese , Mexico - 0 Comments

For most people, there is a certain phrase that tends to sound xenophobic.

Well kinda.

That phrase is often one shouted at foreigners who are not speaking the dominant language of the country they are in.

Where, in the distance, you can hear someone  yell "this is x country! Speak our language!"

The most scenario we often hear about is the gringo in the US shouting "this is America! Speak English!" to some random Latino.

Funny enough, such a phrase is also used in Mexico by some people.

Though, in my experience, I have never heard of a single Mexican actually getting into the face of a foreigner and say "this is Mexico! Speak Spanish!"

Though, as I have seen online, a similar sentiment is felt by some Mexicans when they hear foreigners speaking in English or other foreign languages.

Some of them might not like it and even write articles about it but never have I seen one demand that the foreigner speak Spanish to their face.

There are a lot of ironies though that come with this.

For one, you have no shortage of Americans laughing at Mexicans online about how ironic it is that they demand we speak their language when, as you can see here, so many Mexicans don't speak English in the US and are seemingly the worst immigrant group for learning English up there.

“Immigrants from Mexico have the lowest rates of English proficiency (34%), followed by those from Central America (35%), East and Southeast Asia (50%) and South America (56%). Immigrants from Canada (96%), Oceania (82%), Europe (75%) and sub-Saharan Africa (74%) have the highest rates of English proficiency.”

But, funny enough, you have gringos also who feel the need to judge other gringos on this topic also.

Gringos do that all the time.

Judging other gringos to feel better about themselves.

Be it judging other gringos on who has more time here as I wrote in this article to judging them for not experiencing "the real Latin America" as I wrote here.

Perhaps judging them for not making enough local friends as I wrote here.

They're almost like "pick me women" in that they compete against each other to be "the better gringo" that spent more time outside of the bubble than you, knows the local language better than you, has more local friends than you and always has, as I wrote here, some secret area in Latin America that they think that nobody else knows about.

And so some of these gringos will also do the job of Mexicans by arguing that "this is Mexico! Speak Spanish!"

Personally, I know a friend of mine named Blayde can be a bit like this also.

He isn't an ass about it where he tells people to their face "you need to speak Spanish as this is Mexico."

But I know he looks down on other gringos for not learning Spanish while living here.

Just thinks he makes us gringos look bad and that, be it for the Mexican in the US or the gringo in Mexico, one should respect the culture and language of the people who live there.

Which, to be fair, I'll give him credit on that one.

At least he's consistent.

Versus some of the gringos who bitch about other gringos not learning Spanish but think it's perfectly OK for Mexicans or any foreigners to never learn English in the US and will do the most impressive mental gymnastics to argue that it is different when it isn't.

Still, be it Blayde or anyone else, it's just ironic again for the gringo to be stepping up to the plate to argue this "this is Mexico! Speak Spanish!" point.

On top of that, the greatest irony I have seen with gringos arguing the "this is Mexico! Speak Spanish!" point is when they do it to Mexicans of all people.

As if Mexicans need a reminder that they are in Mexico.

Well, in some cases, I could understand why as some of them really do seem like they don't know.

Regardless of how inappropriate it might seem to beat down a Mexican verbally with the phrase "this is Mexico!" it is overall very ironic and kinda funny to me.

Let's get to what happened.

"This is Mexico! Speak Spanish!"

A few months ago or more, I remember being at some language event here in Mexico City.

I stopped going because they just didn't seem as fun as the ones I have been to in Colombia, Bolivia, Argentina, etc.

It seems the people here in Mexico City actually take the "language learning" bit more seriously and it's less of an event for partying, drinking and maybe hooking up as I wrote about here.

Less pussy and beer and more Spanish or English lessons.


Anyway, I went to one of those events where we all sit down with complete strangers around a table and talk in basically English or Spanish.

Personally, I don't care as much for the Spanish lessons because I've been learning or speaking in Spanish for 14 years now (more or less).

It's not perfect but I feel comfortable with the language.

So, in these type of events, I'm cool with speaking in English.

While I don't like some Latin Americans who try to force English onto me for reasons already discussed on my blog, I don't mind it at these events because I agreed to show up to an event where they want to practice English.

It's not like some fresa type Polanco dude is trying to vomit onto me his English to show how "educated" he is or someone trying to force me to practice English when I didn't agree to it.

So I'm mostly speaking in English at the event. 

And, at the event, there is some random Canadian chick from Toronto (if I remember right as it was some big city).

There was also a white Mexican who spoke English pretty natively from the sound of it (no accent) and who seemed to be from a comfortable background.

While at the table, we were all speaking about whatever.

The usual "get to know each other" and "how you like Mexico City" topics.

And the Canadian chick was hell bent on sticking to Spanish as much as she could during the event.

Or it seemed so anyway.

It ended up being one of those conversations that you encounter in Latin America where one party is speaking English and the other is speaking Spanish because both parties are too hard headed to switch to the other language.

I wasn't really involved in the conversation though as it was on the other side of the table but was noticeable to me for that reason as it's always funny to see one of those odd "bilingual" conversations play out.

And, at some point during the night, I guess the chick got flustered or whatever and ended up saying literally those exact words mentioned before.

Something along the lines of "you know this is Mexico, right?"

The Mexican dude looked confused.

"I'm like trying to practice my Spanish and here we speak Spanish."

The guy retorted with a "yeah, I know this is Mexico. I'm Mexican."

There was some laughter and the ice broke.

She seemingly didn't seem embarrassed by her reminder to the Mexican that he is in Mexico.

And, from what I remember, I think the dude ended up being nice to her and switching to some Spanish casually.

Which was nice of him because, from what I could tell, her Spanish was dog shit.

Some of the most basic mistakes like "yo estar" instead of "yo estoy."

But she was obviously making an attempt to practice and this obviously was the event to be practicing to be fair.

It wasn't like the Mexican dude really needed to practice since his English was literally native sounding perfect.

Didn't even seem like he was trying to show off his English skills.

Felt more like a moment of, given how shit her Spanish was, he just preferred to keep it in English and maybe was there to make friends or whatever he was doing there.

But that's all.

Anything to Add?

To be honest, I've been guilty of it also.

I've never said to a local something as funny as "this is Mexico," but I will admit that I do lose respect for the Mexican who insists on speaking in English for the superficial reasons as mentioned.

The bigger issue I have with it is that sometimes it feels like some Mexicans are cucks against their own culture.

Those malinchista types that put on a pedestal all things foreign culture and have no respect for their own culture.

Like I wrote here about some Latin Americans trying to be something they are not.

Many of these same types will stick to always wanting to speak in English.

It's not so much the "speaking English" bit that annoys me (though it can depending on the context) but the sight of anyone who seems to not care or want to be seperate from his own culture.

Like this one Mexican dude I met who called himself "Jimmy" even though, if I remember right, I think his real name was Sergio.

So, for those Mexicans, I would agree strongly that they need to be told "this is Mexico! Speak Spanish!"

Though I would probably just that phrase to more directly say "stop being a cuck. You're a Mexican and you will always be a Mexican. Be proud of who you are."

But that would be as ironic and dumb for me to say to a local as it would be for anyone to tell a Mexican "this is Mexico! Speak Spanish!"

The image of such a foreigner really taking a stand and arguing that to a local is just funny as fuck to think about.

Almost suitable for a South Park episode.

At any rate, it's all I got to say.

If you got anything to add, drop a comment below.

And follow my Twitter here.

Thanks for reading.

Best regards,


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