The evil gringo/güero/guiri

Somehow I thought I’d head back from Mexico brown and fit instead of white and fat as usual. As it happens, the ladies preferred shopping trips and cheap shoes to Pacific beaches and my magnificent physique, dropping me off most days at dirty bars full of güero-haters.

The widespread dislike among Mexicans of (male) blondes, even bald ones, is clearly an exercise in blame redistribution–power remains heavily and cosmetically inconveniently tilted in favour of those of predominantly Iberian ancestry–but the national myth of Indians and creoles struggling against Anglo-Saxon oppressors often takes bizarre forms. Check, for example, the work of Stalinist muralists like Diego Rivera (eg in the Palacio Nacional), where the conquistadores are often displayed as principally light- or red-haired.

A Mexican friend’s cousin works illegally in the US as PR man for a Mexican constructor. His job consists of buying off fire department, planning and other officials. He used to travel on a French passport, but on one of his breaks he went to Quebec where, on re-entry to the States, the Quebecois noticed that he couldn’t speak French. They deported him to Mexico and closed that window down. Now he travels with a forged US driver’s licence and says “American citizen” as waves it at border officials. He’s blonde and very, very fat, and hasn’t had any problems yet. Being a gringo’s not all bad.

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