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From East Indian to Mexican Philosophy

By Mari D. González

I grew up in Mexico. We have a very unique religion that sets us apart from the world. Although on the outside it might be seen as pure Catholicism, the essence is Indigenous. The most revered deity is the Virgin of Guadalupe, not Jesus. In that sense, we are not necessarily Christians but Guadalupanos (Dr. Jalife-Rahme). Mexican’s virgin is the western Virgin Mary fused with the Native American goddess of Tonantzin

Para Los Pueblos Originarios de México, the natural world, and the Cosmos are very relevant. Southern Mexico’s original languages are very spiritual and grounded in nature. For example, the word “heart” is often used in the indigenous languages’ conversations to express that one is talking from deep within and with endearment. We have the word “corazonada” which can be translated as “from the heart” which is very common among Mexicans to express intuition.  

The closer I get to my indigenous spirituality, the more relevant and absorbable Vedic concepts are for me. Therefore, when I read the word “Heart” in the book, The Teachings of Ramana Maharshi, I understood it with a deeper, close-to-home experience.

I am on a quest to learn more about my indigenous spiritual roots to make awakening more relevant to my own experience as a Spanish speaker who grew up in Mexico. English is my second language and the British/US culture is an added layer to my worldview. From the perspective of the Spanish language and Mexican culture (High-Context), I perceive both the English language and the British/US culture as narrower (Low-Context). It is expected that several concepts will be lost in translation between Indian thought translated into British English and the Mexican perspective when reading Indian sacred books in English. I find it helpful to trust my “heart intuition” when I find myself at a concepts’ crossroads.  

Mexico’s 5,000 years of culture, civilization, and spirituality–Mayan, Tolteca, Zapoteca, Olmeca, Totonaca, Mexica or Azteca, and Tehotihuacana–are comparable to India’s old history. Unfortunately, just like Indians lost a lot of sacred books to Moslem control, old Mexico lost most of their venerated writings to the Catholic Spaniards during their 300 hundred years of colonization. During that time, what was not lost, it was syncretized. However, Indigenous culture is very palpable among Mexicans. It is in our genes. It is what sets us apart. The way we socialize, relate to others, see the world, our food, and our spirituality are more Indigenous than Spaniards. Our philosophical history is not easily available to study and there are not be accessible books to read and study. The essence of our philosophy has been taught by parents to their children just as in our whole culture. 

Currently, more youth and adults are making efforts to revive, reconnect with, and conserve our Indigenous culture. We see more people in leadership positions wearing Indigenous attire with pride. We are in the introspection identity development stage due to the high toll on the Mexican economy, public health, and political corruption. What has kept us going is the culture which includes our millenary spiritual values and indigenous cosmology whether we have Indigenous genes or not. 

An Argentinian Yoga instructor told me once that for Mexicans it is easier to connect to ancient Indian wisdom because of our old indigenous roots. Yet, we still need to make the necessary adaptations and avoid wrong interpretations. This will ensure relevancy and meaningfulness to our individual and cultural experiences. Love (heart), awareness, and spirituality as in humanness are “one” in Indian and Mexican philosophies or any other philosophy for that matter. 

Yet, we need to understand that even when our destination might be the same–finding the ultimate truth,–our paths to arrive are not the same. We all take different modes of transportation and roads. Additionally, as human beings, we also have the inherent need for meaning continuation. In this process, we go from our uniqueness–diversity or analysis–into that Oneness–inclusion or synthesis.

Tonantzin Image by Monaghan BGH 290; Gunn Allen SH 45

Latino en Estados Unidos

El párrafo al final escrito por Alex Gonzlar describe claramente el sentimiento de ser Latino en Estados Unidos o lo que es identificarse con los demás inmigrantes de Latino América.

“El momento final de la ceremonia de entrega de los Premios Oscar, y uno de los momentos más importantes de toda la noche…; cuando el director Alejandro González Iñarritu, de descendencia o ascendencia mexicana, y quien ya había ganado minutos antes, el Premio como Mejor Director; luego, al recibir su Premio Oscar, a la Mejor Película, pidió la atención de todos, al final, para un extraordinario mensaje a favor del movimiento pro-Reforma migratoria en esta nación, al decir lo siguiente : “Para finalizar, solo quiero tomar un segundo, quiero dedicar este premio también a mis compatriotas mexicanos…, aquellos que viven en México.., es mi oración que podamos construir el gobierno que todos merecemos…; y para aquellos que viven en esta nación, quienes son parte de la más reciente generación de inmigrantes en este país…, es mi oración también, que puedan ser tratados con la misma dignidad y respeto de todos aquellos que vinieron antes, y construyeron esta increíble NACION DE INMIGRANTES…!!”

Wowww…!! Tremendo mensaje político…; valiente, fino, claro, fuerte, elegante, consistente, honesto, y directo a la yugular….!!! Excelente hermano Alejandro…, gracias, porque aun cuando no somos mexicanos, indirectamente nos incluiste a todos quienes somos inmigrantes, y nos sentimos en ese instante, completamente identificados con tus palabras….!!! Gracias, amigo…!! #OscarAwards  Alex Gonzlar

European, Indigenous and African in Mexicans

I love personal stories and to see how they are part of that bigger picture. I have always been fascinated by the history of the borderlands. Although I majored in Business Management and Communications, I was allowed to do my senior research project on Chicano and Mexican-American literature.

As a lighter-skin Mexican who had grown up believing the myth of having mostly European ancestry, this project was a real eye opening. The more I learn about whom I considered the “other,” the more I feel connected with my indigenous side.

Culturally, Mexicans are more indigenous than we are ready to admit yet, “hay una directriz que nos separa,” there is fine line that separates us by color as a result of the almost gone colonialist ideas.

Let us reconcile our true history and embrace our indigenous people and the African-descent Mexicans as part of the Mexican society and who we are historically. By seeing them both as equal citizens, Mexicans will have acquired a broader ethnic identity.

¡Hola Venky! Indian and Mexican Cultures

By Mari D. González

Hola Venky

Every time I hear complaints about the lack of diversity in Hollywood movies, I wish those who are dissatisfied and passionate about portraying a more realistic picture of the world resolved to change things around.

The reality is that in recent years, white-Americans have become a minority group in California while Latinos and Asians have continued to grow in numbers.

The movie ¡Hola Venky! is a great example of being proactive. According to the Mexican Heritage Corporation based in San Jose, ¡Hola Venky! is a romantic comedy that highlights Mexican culture and music, and also spotlights Indian culture, creating a rich, modern fusion.  “The film follows Venky, a divorced Indian engineer, as he comes to Silicon Valley and falls in love with a Mexican woman, Inez, whose father was a noted mariachi musician.”

Most people who have had any contact with people from India and from Mexico will immediately notice the richness and colorfulness in both cultures’ music, food and dress. That does not mean we should minimize the gaps between these two cultures which can make interactions either captivating or cheerless, depending on how open you are.

But, for those of use who love intercultural communication, ¡Hola Venky! promises to be the perfect movie.


Mexicans: The More Segregation, the Less Assimilation.

By Mari D. González

The less segregation, the more assimilation. It is a give and take situation.

~Altar de Muertos~

~Altar de Muertos~ (Photo credit: uteart)

The highest level of education a Latin American immigrant has, the more willing he/she is to assimilate. Yet, he/she gives up his cultural origins. In terms of their level of integration in the U.S., there are implications for both the Mexicans and the more assimilated Latin American groups in the U.S. While the later might enjoy greater economical benefits than Mexicans, Mexicans is the only ethnic group that has kept its cultural roots generation after generation at the expense of not enjoying such economical benefits.

While Mexicans have refused to assimilate, they have influenced the U.S. culture in every way. A couple hundred years from now, the only culture alive in the U.S. will be the Mexican (Dia de los Muertos, piñatas, mariachi, tacos, etc.). The rest will be passing technology, brands, and disposable things. Mexicans have the ability to layer several cultures without renouncing their own. I’m very proud of every single bilingual and bicultural Mexican-American in the U.S.

The Latino and Mexican Online Consumer

Mexico City - Diana Fountain near El Ángel de ...

Mexico City – Diana Fountain near El Ángel de la Independencia (Photo credit: Anirudh Koul)

By Mari D. González

I’m a graduate student in Intercultural Communication doing research on online marketing specific to Latinos in the U.S. and Mexicans in Mexico. I do a lot of reading on the topic and just finished reading Joe Kutchera’s book, Latino Link: Building Brands Online with Hispanic Communities and Content.

His is a complete read on the intricacies of the Latino market from a global and international perspective. He is not simply expressing his opinions. He does extensive research and lets the voices of other experts speak and share their valuable in-the-trenches experiences. Latino Link presents the real step-by-step, “how to” market to Latinos and to middle-class Mexicans who travel from Mexico to shop in the U.S. that I haven’t found in other books.

We already know the Latino/Hispanic market is large and expanding. The numbers are there–just check the Pew Hispanic Center website. Yet, we need to understand the complexities of comparing and contrasting this market within the context of the general market. And, beyond that, he compares the Latino market with Mexico as a stand alone and expanding online market. Kutchera talks about the “invisible consumer,” the affluent and middle-class Mexican buyer whose potential has not been recognized. Why? Perhaps, because most executives and so-called Hispanic marketing consultants have been fixated on the stereotypical Latino/Hispanic and the Mexican (in Mexico) consumer and continue to exploit the market based on such stereotypes.

What I enjoyed most is Mr. Kutchera’s ability to investigate without a preconceived premise or hypothesis. He is open to being surprised and finding new knowledge outside the box even from his own nephews who are habitual internet users and are the present and future consumers. As a consumer behavior researcher who focuses on the cultural and linguistic aspects of the Latino/Hispanic y en el mercado de Mexico, and the market in Mexico, I highly recommend Latino Link.

Edited by Connie Cobb

Facebook Ten Top Countries

By Mari D. González

Last year, the August 13, 2010, Huffington Post’s Huffpost Tech, listed the following countries as the top Facebook users:

  1. U.S.
  2. U.K.
  3. Indonesia
  4. Italy
  5. India
  6. France
  7. Germany
  8. Mexico
  9. Turkey
  10. Canada

This year, as of July 5, Check Facebook, a Facebook marketing statistics site, contains a slightly different list of top Facebook countries:

  1. U.S.
  2. Indonesia
  3. U.K.
  4. India
  5. Turkey
  6. Mexico
  7. Philippines
  8. France
  9. Brazil
  10. Italy

What makes these countries top users?

  • extensive access to Internet
  • high population numbers
  • users’ affinity for U.S. culture
  • familiarity with the English language
  • a high number of young users
  • or, a combination of some or all these variables.

If you follow Internet use around the world, you might be familiar with the popularity of other social network sites such as Google’s Orkut in India and Brazil. With Brazil making this year’s list, one can speculate that users are moving from Orkut to Facebook. Yet, only 31.46% of Brazilian online users are on Facebook.

As for Indonesia, Turkey, Mexico, and the Philippines, 100% of online users are on Facebook, which means no other social-network or online communication platform is competing.

Why isn’t China on the list? China’s government prevents Internet users in China from accessing Facebook. The most popular site in China is RenRen, which can be accessed in the U.S. and is supported by U.S. investors.

Another question: Are the top 10 Facebook countries selected based on the percentage of each country’s total population of active online users or on the total number of users?

For example, 30% of Mexico’s total population (112,322,757 x .3 = 33,696,825) are Facebook users but 70% of Canada’s (34,507,000 x .7 = 24,154,900). It appears that Mexico made the list based on population-number advantage, and Canada was dropped because of its smaller population.

Edited by Connie Cobb

Latinas Use of Social Media

By Mari D. González

Brazilian market research firm Sophia Mind reports some preliminary differences in social-network sites use between American and U.S. Latinas -women from Latin America including women of Brazilian descent.

Sophia Mind summarizes, “while American women use social networks mostly to connect with friends and family, [Latina women in the U.S., Brazil, Argentina and Mexico] use social nets to find information on products and services” (Malykhina, 2010, ¶ 4).  The study notes the lack of culturally relevant content for Latina women in the U.S., and concludes that only 21% U.S. Latinas/Hispanic women feel social networks meet their needs.

Census 2010: A Historic Background South the Border

By Mari D. Gonzalez

1810-2010:  Identity of Blended People

The more blended people in the Southern Hemisphere of America began the tedious task of being named, boxed, and “other-ed” by their settlers five centuries ago. Mexican as a nationality came about exactly two centuries ago when “La Nueva España” gained independence in 1810 and it named itself Mexico after its indigenous roots.

There wasn’t neither a country named Mexico nor “Mexicans” before then. The process for Mexicans to develop their own cultural identity began with the Mexican Revolution and culminated with La Epoca de Oro, The Golden Era, of cinema in the 1950’s and with the amazing proliferation of world-class visual art by icons such as Khalo, Rivera, Siqueiros, and Orozco who exposed a rather dignifying Mexican working class and their popular culture.

Mexicans, as any other labeled people, do not represent a particular classification but “una amalgama” between the already ethnically diverse Spaniards whose background could have been Arabic, Jew, Celt, or other from that well-mixed Southern region; slaves from Africa; and the local indigenous peoples.

“Mongrels, Bastards, Orphans, and Vagabonds”

Latin Americans, as did Latin Europeans, continue to mix and blend. According to scholar and historian Gregory Rodriguez’ (2007) research reported on his book “Mongrels, Bastards, Orphans, and Vagabonds: Mexican Immigration and the Future of Race in America,” the majority of second- and third-generation Latinos marry outside their own ethnicity.

Latinos, people with origins in Latin America, have already gone through what this country is about to. This census year, the task of boxing people, who from the beginning of history have blended despite legal, religious, and social limitations, will be incommensurable.

Hopefully, this tediousness will prompt us to give up classifying people solely on physical appearance.

El Proceso de Aculturación y la Diversidad de la Cultura Latina/Hispana

Contribución de Aurelia Fierros

Mi recopilación informativa y reflexión sobre el tema se basa más en un principio empírico y en la observación directa/periodística del fenómeno al que hoy llamamos Spanglish. No obstante, coincido con el resultado de tu estudio formal en que, sí hay una particularidad en la utilización del Spanglish por parte de la primera, segunda y hasta tercera generación de hijos de inmigrantes hispanos, cuando mezclan los idiomas que nos ocupan (inglés y español) para dar origen al híbrido que aquí tratamos de explicar. Es definitivamente distinto al utilizado -por ejemplo- por los pachucos en los años 40s y 50s.

Las palabras expresadas aquí, http://www.hispanicla.com/archive/espanol-y-spanglish/ son sólo un muestrario finito aunque se entiende que el vocabulario del Spanglish no lo es tanto, en el sentido de que -de nuevo, por ejemplo- muchos anglicismos son aceptados hoy en día como incorporaciones formales a otros lenguajes, incluido el español. El caso más explícito tal vez sea el de los vocablos de la nueva tecnología, los que día a día se incrementan y gracias al internet, un amplio público y mayormente los jóvenes, los adoptan con gran facilidad.

Por otro lado, la cuestión de las lenguas indígenas con relación al español y los inmigrantes, es otra que representa un reto no sólo en EE.UU. sino también en nuestros propios países latinoamericanos. Me encanta saber que hay quienes se apasionan en el tema al grado de enfocar sus estudios académicos a disciplinas relacionadas. El tema no tiene fin y es casi adictivo pero será siempre enriquecedor recibir sus comentarios.