Aztecs Among Us?

My recent columna about whether Aztec savagery influences violence in Mexico today drew muchos responses. Here are two:

Dear Mexican: 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 observation today. The reason Mexicans are "sketchy" or "violent" or whatever the stereotype is, is due to the treatment they receive from their respective environment. I've worked lots of jobs where I worked side-by-side with Mexicans back home. What I have found is that in Huntington Beach, Mexicans still had some Napoleanesque machismo complex complete with super pervy behavior. Here in this hellhole state, the Mexicans are about double the classic stereotypes that I encountered back home.

What I've found is that the pinche güeros here are about seven to 10 times more ignorant, and this lends itself to overt racism. This level of intolerance of la raza I feel is what develops the combative nature of the Mexican. Persie

Dear Persie: You're referring to internalized oppression, the observation that minority groups end up believing and acting out the 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 fulfilled stereotypes on foreign men overcompensating their machismo to mask the pain of living among Know Nothings — just look at Marco Rubio.

You missed an opportunity to correct a misunderstanding in your reply to Puzzled by Narco Violence when he describes the Aztecs 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 necessary to appease their gods. It 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. Naco de Neza

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

 
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