Posted by: martinworster | July 12, 2007

51. LITTLE MEXICO

The Mexican thing…

Click to enlarge!Sometimes it feels like I’m living in Mexico. Indeed California used to be Mexico so it there is a poetic justice as slowly but surely Mexicans take back the land that used to be theirs. The US Senate is trying to push through a bill that makes it illegal to be an illegal immigrant. They also want to build a big wall on the Mexican border. It’s an interesting and volatile time to be living here. Some people have likened the uprising as akin to the Civil Rights movement. Two weeks ago there were massive demonstrations all over the country. On May 1st there was a mass boycott – A Day Without Immigrants – that was designed as a way of showing how important immigrants are to the economy. It’s one of those apparently irresolvable issues. Mexicans and Latinos want to come here and make a better life for themselves, even if it means skulking across the border illegally. Some American citizens object to paying taxes for illegals who may become a drain on the shooling, health and other social security budgets. Some of the Mexicans carried Mexican flags on the demonstrations which really irked some Americans. It has created tensions across different communities. Some African Americans object to Mexicans coming here and taking jobs illegally they could be doing. It’s a postmodern nightmare.

I live near Santa Anna and Costa Mesa which are very Mexican areas. That’s the bizarre thing here as everything seems to be less mixed up ethnically than perhaps in the UK. Newport Beach is very rich and white, Range Rover mums and million dollar condos on the marina with phat yachts parked on the water. Two miles inland and it’s a low rent contrast, strip malls and run down neighbourhoods with immigrants slaving for less than the minimum wage. It is a land of contrasts here, perhaps most exemplified by the Tijuana border where the First World meets the Third (or is it Second). Smiling brown Mexicanas sell sweets to the day tripping white Southern Californians who grin down from their gas happy SUVs. Bizarre.

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