Re: Different prejudices

Kotliar (viomar@ATHENS.NET)
Tue, 23 Apr 1996 10:38:23 -0500

one culture might be misinterpreted in another, I think his idea that in
Mexico all people are accorded full dignity is not in accord with my
experience in the Yucatan where John lives. I found many people in the
ladino population to be openly derisive towards the more traditional Maya.
They were not making friendly jokes. For example, I was told quite frankly
that it was beneath my dignity to be seen talking to much or walking around
with Maya farmers or carrying one of those useful woven plastic bags to
market because it was something a indian carried and people would comment.
The Maya on the other hand, I found to be as John describes them, an
extremely tolerant folk with a good sense of humor. (Great punsters and
jokesters). I enjoyed their company very much, learned alot from it and
thus braved the disapproval of other segments of the population by
continuing to make unseemly contact. Fortunately a gringo is already
assumed to act inappropriately at times so I don't think it hurt my
relations with ladinos very much.
I think both Mexico and the U.S. have far to go in treating peoples
different from oneself with dignity, and that both societies have much to
learn from each other as well.
What use are anthropologists? I think they can act to draw attention for
different communities to try and tolerate differences, and in understanding
those differences learn and grow. I think cultural anthropologist,
biological anthropologists, archaeologists, linguistic anthropologists etc.
etc. can all contribute to this dialog.

my $.02

Jay K.