The level of racial tension and diversity in Mexico depends on where you go in Mexico. If it’s a mafia inhabited area then you’re going to find racism. If you have white skin, you speak English and they think you’re American or Canadian, they will kidnap you, but if you come to places like where I live, in Progresso, in the state of Yucatan, you’re going to be welcomed with open arms.
My husband is Hispanic, although he lived in Texas for over 30 years. I’m an American white woman. There are places where we go in Texas where we are snubbed and shunned and where we felt like they would just spit on us, but the same true for Monterrey in Mexico. As an inter-racial couple, we get a lot of issues. Down here in Progreso, where I live, there’s not one single problem. (Progresso is a fishing village in the state of Yucatan, about 45 minutes by car from the large city of Merida.)
In certain areas in in certain respects, the situation in Mexico is like the situation in the US. Every country has their own way of doing things but when you boil it down, we’re all the same. We’re hardwired the same, pretty much. In Monterrey, it’s not the expats who run the place. it’s the Hispanic people; the natives. And the people in charge put themselves above the white people, above the Gringos, because the Hispanics in Monterrey make a lot of money. Down here, the locals don’t make a lot of money, and they just accept people as family.
If you come in on a cruise ship they’re going to fleece you for all the dollars they can get. But there again, you just have to bear in mind that everybody’s got to make a living somehow and that’s how they make a living. I know when I walk through the mercado on cruise ship day, they’re not going to flock around me and ask me for American dollars because they know me. They’re just going to greet me, “Hey Mikki, how you doing? How’s it going today?”
(Mikki James celebrating her birthday in Progresso, Mexico, pictured.)