Mexican Kids Hating Mexican Kids, And Why It's Okay
La Opinión had a fascinating front-page piece yesterday about kiddies at Creek View Elementary School in Ontario regaling each other with a rhyme that translates as, "I don't want to go to Mexico ever again, again, again/Mexico stinks, stinks, stinks/There's a fat policeman at the door, door, door." Parents and school officials are flipping out, and La Opinión even interviews some psychologist who warns that "the danger" of such a chant toward a student's self-esteem "can be profound." Even crazier is the comments of one Herlinda Donis, president of the Los Angeles Unified School District's Parent's Cooperative. "We have cases of kids that, from 4 years old onward, are embarrassed to say they're from Mexico, and if in their own schools they hear insults toward their country [Gustavo's note: um, your child's in America, chula: hope you meant "ethnicity"], then this child will definitely grow up with enormous trauma," Donis freaks to Opinión reporter Claudia Nuñez. "No one should permit that something like this should happen."
Do these same parents ever raise a fuss when their kids chant, as every Mexican kid has chanted in history, "Chino, chino, japonés: come caca y no me des"? Doubt it--but I digress. Not only is the Smelly Mexico chant silly in a schoolyard type of way, it's also doesn't rank high in the history of American schoolyard taunts--definitely no "Smear the Queer." For instance, back when I attended Thomas Jefferson Elementary in Anaheim during the 1980s, all the kids liked to play La Migra, which involved one group of kids acting as Border Patrol agents, another acting as illegal immigrants, and someone shouting "LA MIGRA!!!" to start a mestizaje of hide-and-go-seek and tag. Thomas Jefferson was super-majority Latino by that point, so we'd often have the few white kids play Mexicans, and Mexicans play the migra. No one's sense of self-esteem was harmed, although we suffered more than a few scraped knees.
If the Creek View kids who uttered the Smelly Mexico rhyme were white kids using it to beat up on Mexicans, I'd see the need for alarm. But it seems that it's Mexican kids using it amongst themselves. Indeed, one Mexican second-grader told Nuñez, "Here, almost all the kids sing it. It's just a song!" I haven't taken psychology since my freshman year at Orange Coast College, but it seems the Smelly Mexico rhyme is a way for the Mexis to deal with racism (the fat policeman is the border guard, not returning to Mexico signifies a fear of deportation, and the Mexico stinks line is a satirical reappropriation of Know Nothing rhetoric) similar to the traditional use of fairy tales to teach kids about life's depravities. Of course, such simple logic isn't going to placate the PC pendejos at the Mountain View School District (under whose jurisdiction Creek View falls), which promises to investigate the situation and stop the kiddies from being kiddies.