Monday, May 4, 2009

Loonies and the flu - que lastima

The radio entertainer called it the "Mexican flu" and, without bothering to check the facts, suggested everyone avoid Mexico and Mexicans.
CNN used a graphic calling it the "Killer flu," and other cable TV shows, needing something to fill their time, ramped up coverage to the point of semi-hysteria.
Tabloids in London used thinly veiled racist language about Mexico and Mexican.
The Chinese government has locked up all Mexicans, in quarantine, after one case turned up.
Readers in San Francisco, arguably America's most liberal city, railed about slamming the borders shut, leaky borders being the problem, and the flu proving the lunacy of allowing Mexicans to come to the U.S. to work, even legally. Racism was explicit in many remarks, and implied in others.
Ignorance -- more kindly defined as a lack of education -- is almost always the breeding ground for fear that leads to racism.
Gotta blame somebody. And never let the facts stand in the way of stupidity.

As a U.S. citizen who has just returned from two weeks in Mexico, where we were treated well and courteously, this is really embarrassing.

I hope my friends in Jalisco never see or hear the ignorance some of our pubic figures have shown, and the racism that seems to jump out of many of the comments -- particularly those posted anonymously on the web.
For the record: this flu has indeed affected more people in Mexico than elsewhere, so far, but the scientists who are studying it say it may have originated in Europe or the U.S. or Mexico, no one is sure at this point. I am hoping it turns out to the the Texas flu, which is one of many possibilities.

And while some people have died, it is not -- on the global scale -- a killer flu like the one in 1918.

My friend Michael, who lives in Mexico, found a pretty pointed song about the swine flu at this link

Cut and paste it into your URL slot. It is funny, and crude.

Then today the New York Times reported on some of the over-reactions and how Mexicans have become scapegoats. That is located at

A few facts might help defeat this sort of over-reaction.

Everyone is concerned about catching the flu. But it is quickly becoming apparent it is not a "killer flu" as it has been depicted, any more than any other flu. You might want to compare the death rate of this specific flu to automobile deaths, homicides, or other facts of U.S. life.

Maybe I can start a movement. Let's all go out to dinner at a Mexican restaurant this week, order an expensive dinner, and leave a big tip with an apology.

Or, better yet, take a vacation in Mexico.

We did, and enjoyed it.

1 comment:

Michael J. Fitzgerald said...

Bien, bien... How about dinner at Juanita's down the street tonight?