What makes a Mexican a Mexican"
One of the most hilarious things about the 2012 elections are the claims that Mitt Romney is of Mexican descent. According to the media, Mitt Romney’s ancestors migrated to Mexico due to the rampant violence against their religion. The early Romneys where Mormon and in order to get away from all the sectarian violence ended up settling in the northern state of Chihuahua, Mexico.
When the Mexican revolution erupted, some Romneys decided to head back into the United States. The group of Romneys that returned to the United States included George Wilcken Romney, who was born in Mexico. If many of you care to look back and Mitt’s family tree, you will see that none of his ancestors were not of Mexican descent. They were Americans who immigrated to Mexico and did not intermarry.
The issue whether Mitt Romney is of Mexican descent, or not, brings lots of questions to mind. What makes a person a Mexican, Latino, American? Many people that are born outside of the United States get offended when people from the United States call themselves American as if the United States alone was all of America. There is a saying that America is from Canada all the way down to “La Patagonia.” This means that everyone that is born in the American (South, North and Central) Continents is American. I think that includes by default those living in the Caribbean. So, if we apply the same reasoning, that those who are born within the geographic boundaries of a region get to call themselves “of that region.” For example, if you are born in America, then by definition you are an “Americano” or “American.” Same as the Romneys from Mexico that are born in Mexico are “Mexican.”
While it is hard to admit, if people who are not born in the United States claim they are American, because they where born in the American continent then the Romneys by the same definition can be considered Mexicans if they were born in Mexico. So what is all this outrage about? For one, while I can admit that perhaps by being born in Mexico a person is called Mexican, I believe that legally, at least on paper that person is a bona fide Mexican, when it comes to the law. On the other hand, I do believe that being a Mexican or American goes beyond geographic boundaries. A collective identity is formed by a collective or groups going through the same historical events. It is shared by a group sharing a language, and traditions.