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The term Anti-Americanism, or anti-American attitude, describes the expansive hostility or opposition to the policies, people, or government of the United States of America (Nossal, 2007, 63). Mexico harbors silent disgust for her neighbor the America. A wide range of actions by the America are likely factors towards this. Churned through Mexican television are feelings of ambivalence, Mexican ebbing culture, reproaches, curses and a sense of injured national dignity which is quickly blamed to America.
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These attitudes blaming, criticizing and/or opposing the United States of America have been branded anti-Americanism, and the applicability and nature of this term is always disputed. Brendan O’Connor, a Political scientist makes a suggestion that Anti-Americanism cannot be cut off as a steady phenomenon and that the expression came about as a jagged composite of prejudices, stereotypes, and criticisms towards the United States or its people, developing to more economically and politically criticism. Brendan O’Connor states that the use of the term “is only fully justified if it implies systematic opposition – a sort of allergic reaction – to America as a whole” (O’Connor, 2004, 80).
‘Why do they hate us?’ This is a question raised by President George W.Bush to the American people on 11th September (Bush,2001)’They’ alludes to Al-Qaida and less directly to the Muslim world. Anti-Americanism or anti-American attitude describes the expansive hostility or opposition to the policies people or government of the United States of America (Nossal,2007,63). Edward DJerejian Arab Specialist and former ambassador and House Spokesman in 2003 headed a Congressional advisory group to study America’s image abroad. In his report released in October ,2003,he announced that hostility towards the U.S.A was at shocking levels.
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Brendan O’Connor, a political scientist argues that anti-Americanism cannot be cut off as a steady phenomena since it came up as a jagged composite of prejudices ,stereotypes and criticisms towards the U.S.A or its people(.O’Connor,2004,80).Although Muslim countries have been branded anti-Americans ,they receive an overwhelming amount of support from non-Muslim states .The’ they’ used by President Bush in 2001 now includes most non-Americans (Friedman,2003). High levels of anti-Americanism are seen among Mexican citizens venting up in the televisions, in social websites and in the streets. of other countries as per the large scale internal polls taken since September 11th 2001.Other anti-Americans include friendly Muslim countries like Pakistan ,Indonesia and China, European allies such like France and Spain and Latin American countries such as Mexico ,Cuba and Brazil.(Pew Research Center ;Stokes, 2004).
Mexico has never developed any warmth feeling for the United States of America leave alone special fondness. Mexicans hate America with passion. The root cause of this hostility is dated back to history .According to Flora Lewis; history has made Mexico a sensitive neighbor with a hostility that resists U.S.A’s best reconciliatory efforts although the hatred is not violent. .In television programmes one can sense of Mexico’s injured national dignity, durable sense of historical victimization, scapegoats and collective misfortunes blamed on the US. Also cited for this hatred is envy that Mexico has got many resources yet it does not prosper.
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It therefore feels bad that former Mexican provinces such as Texas and California have developed into great wealth under alien hands. It is ironical that although Mexicans hate America, their lives are in America’s hands. High numbers of immigrants to the U.S.A from Mexico have been experienced. In fact for the last 30 years, the number has risen from two million -twenty three million immigrants. Additionally, Mexico is almost completely dependent economically on the United States of America as seen on every Mexican shopping street .Coca-cola, Simmons mattresses ,Bendix washing machines ,comic books ,dughnuts, Hawaiian, juice boxes ,pineapple juice and supermarkets can be found almost as readily not only in all but also in the remotest Mexican centers as in the United States.
Although different reasons for Mexico’s anti-Americanism are cited, America has also played a key role in generating anti-Americanism towards Mexicans through the television. American popular culture, namely television and movies has been blamed by U.S media scholars as a source of hostility .The scholars have further questioned the role of the media in shaping perceptions of America.(De Fleur and De Fleur,2003) In their argument, the U.S culture is equated to American music ,videos and television programs.(Stokes,2004;De Fleur and De Fleur ,2003) Television is one of the major mass media of the United states of America. Almost 99% of American households have at least one television while the majority of them have more than one. Although television is regarded as a source of information and entertainment more than any other media, it does more than just simply inform and entertain .Through movies, advertisements ,films and reality shows aired by televisions, negative stereotypes have been created to wards certain groups of people such as Mexicans a fact that infuriates them.
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American televisions have aired films that negatively portray Mexicans. An example is movies aired on CBS in which Mexicans were predominantly featured negatively. This led Nosotros, a Hollywood based association of Latino actors holding a press conference in 1979 in protest .Hollywood films shown on American televisions produce denigrating portrayals of Mexican women. An example is in the series of Mexican spitfire films with titles such as hot pepper (1993) and strictly dynamite (1834).Such negative stereotypic portrayals have done nothing but intensify Mexican’s hatred towards Americans. Mexican televisions have inn recent times seen to counter this by airing programmes that openly are critique to American interests The foregoing corroborated in a study by the communication of Michigan State University on’ Mexican – Americans-The new Ministry on Television,(1979), researchers Bradley Greenberg and Pilar Baptista examined 225 separate television episodes during a typical week of programming in each of the three year seasons. From this research there emerged three stereotypic role characteristics of Mexicans; the cop, the crooked and the funny Hispanic.
Such television films and movies are entertaining to other parts of the world but not in México, they are viewed with detest and disgust in Mexico. Besides television films and movies, anti-Americanism towards Mexicans is also generated through advertisements. Dr Martinez in a classic study on’ How Advertisements Promote Racism’(1969) notes that in addition to the instrumental purpose of the advertisement that is selling the product, there is a second purpose which is symbolic. In the case of many advertisements featuring Mexicans, the inferior social status of Mexicans and Mexican-Americans has been reaffirmed in the eyes of the audience. These advertisements portrayed exaggerated Mexican racial and cultural characteristics together with some outright misconceptions concerning their way of life. This symbolically suggests to the audience that Mexican people are comical ,lazy and thieving .
The following advertisements are an example of those that depict Mexicans in a negative way: ’Granny Goose’ shows a fat Mexican toting guns ,ammunitions .This implies that Mexicans are overweight and carry deadly weapons. ’Frito-Lay’ uses the character Frito Bandito showing that Mexicans are sneaky and thieves. ’Legget & Meyers features a character Paco who never ‘feenishes’ anything to imply that Mexicans are lazy to improve themselves. Camel Cigarette portray a ‘typical’ Mexican village all sleeping and bored with an indication that Mexicans are do-nothings and irresponsible. Philco –Ford shows a Mexican sleeping next to a television set implying that Mexicans are always sleeping.
Another way through which television generates anti-Americanism towards Mexicans is by denying Mexicans access to positions of employment where they might help to produce more realistic and humanistic portrayals of themselves. In more recent study by the U.S Commission on Civil Rights(Window Dressing on the set: Women & minorities television, (1997) ,it was observed that in a sample of forty stations including owned and operated stations of three major networks that is CBS, ABC and NB and public broadcasting that there is a low Mexican employment compared to their general population.
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Many studies have indicated that Mexicans continue to be represented as perpetrators of crime , low income, functioning in less prestigious jobs .In many reality shows ,they have been portrayed as having a tendency of speaking with thick accents. American television has in the above ways generated anti-Americanism towards Mexicans since the underlying social issues faced by Mexicans have seldom been addressed in the films ,movies, reality shows and advertisements. Never have Mexicans portrayed as people in control of their lives and capable of fighting for their rights or having interests in their own future. With all the anti-Americanism in them, can Mexicans become independent one day? Mexicans should embrace reality. Most of the stereotypes aired on televisions are typical of them hence no reason for alarm. In fact such advertisements and shows should be used to better their lives.
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