Ask a Mexican

Ask a Mexican: The Aztecs were notorious butchers and cannibals

Dear Readers: My columna a couple of weeks ago about whether Aztec savagery influences violence in Mexico today drew muchos responses, both bueno and malo. Here are two:

Dear Mexican: I enjoy reading all of your replies and was thinking about the last reply you wrote about the violence/Aztec blood question posed to you. I grew up in Huntington Beach and am a "brown man" (Iranian descent). I'm currently in Shitzona finishing up pharmacy school and made an interesting (to me) observation today at a gas station. The reason Mexicans are the way they are — "sketchy" or "violent" or whatever the stereotype is — is due to the level of treatment they receive from their respective environment. I've played lots o' fútbol back home and worked lots of jobs where I worked side by side with Mexicans. What I have found is that while back home, the Mexicans still had some kind of Napoleonesque machismo complex, complete with super-pervy sexual (toma, güey, etc.) behavior. Here in this hellhole joke of a state, the Mexicans are about double the classic stereotypes that I encountered back home.

It got me thinking, and what I've found is that the pinche güeros here are about seven to ten times more ignorant, and this naturally lends itself to overt racism. While I grew up in bro-y, stars-and-stripes, surf-Nazi-punk HB, Arizona seems to have beat conservative Orange County over in terms of its discrimination (as everyone knows). This donkey's-ass level of ignorance results in a level of treatment from the white ruling class that is extremely cold, condescending, rude, arrogant and downright oppressive to the minority class — which in this case is overwhelmingly Mexican. This level of intolerance of la raza, I feel, is what develops the combative nature of the Mexican. While this is a very simple observation, I wanted to get your thoughts on it, as I have always been very bewildered by some of the actions of the Mexicans I have interacted with throughout life.


Dear Persie: You're referring to internalized oppression, the sociological observation that minority groups end up believing and acting out the very stereotypes that the dominant culture imposes on them. Such pathologies usually manifest themselves in long-established minority cultures, though; in the case of recent Mexican immigrants, blame any fulfilled stereotypes on the fact that most foreign men use their machismo to mask their pain of living among Know Nothings — and if you don't believe me, look at Marco Rubio.

Dear Mexican: You missed an opportunity to correct a misunderstanding in your reply to Puzzled by Narco Violence when he described the Aztec as "notorious butchers and cannibals." Yes, human sacrifice was practiced by Mesoamerican cultures like the Mexica, but in the context of religious ceremonies, they believed it to be necessary to appease their gods so that the universe would not come to an end. It was part of their belief system and was performed by priests in a very strict ritual, and although it was done on a vast public scale, the goal was to recall the spiritual justification for the empire by its subjects. In that respect, they were not much different from their European counterparts, where public executions drew huge crowds and where the goal was to reassert the sovereign's divine power after it had been injured by a criminal act. The important thing is that neither society should be judged by its brutality and that in their appetite for death as spectacle, they were not fundamentally different. (On the subject of cannibalism, I would remind the writer that recent evidence has proved that it was practiced in Jamestown, Virginia, by the pilgrims).

Naco de Neza

Dear Wab: In other words, the Aztecs were notorious butchers and cannibals. Gracias for clearing that up!

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Gustavo Arellano
Contact: Gustavo Arellano