Are Western Cowboys Plundering Mexican Culture Again?

  • Traditional Knowledge Systems Under Threat Of Appropriation 
  • Plundering Of Mexican Culture Leads To A Strange Sauce Debate
  • Cinco de Mayo; Significant Holiday Or An Excuse To Get Drunk?
Plundering of Mexican Culture

Not all cultural exchange is appropriation or even misappropriation. Some cultural icons travel as ambassadors for their nation. The problem is that far too many products exploit cultural Mexican connotations they’ve no real right to. No online sportsbook site in Mexico will claim to be Canadian or swear it’s French. However, when it comes to the plundering of Mexican culture, there are, just like in the movies, some clear examples. The good, the bad and the ugly.

It is only in recent years traditional iconography and culturally localized knowledge systems have begun to gain the protections intellectual property rights have for so long granted to so many products. Prior to this the plundering of Mexican culture was pretty much endemic. Embroidery rip-offs by Carolina Herrera and Isabel Marant, were notable as was the furniture plagiarism of Louis Vuitton. However whilst these are ghastly cultural thefts, there are some more glaring examples.

Perhaps the brightest shining star is Corona Extra, the beer that has risen to be one of the most popular in the world. Still brewed in Mexico, this beverage is a favorite with hipsters who have lime wedges to spare. The skilled marketing, developed distribution network and globe spanning owners make it a big player. Mexico now exports more beer than any other country in the world. The plundering of Mexican culture shouldn’t be confused with this world-wide success story. 

Plundering of Mexican Culture corona
Corona Extra

The Good – Mexican Corona Beer Exports Span The Globe

Of course, for every Hugo Sanchez Marquez you get there’s a numpty who can’t kick a ball. When it comes to the plundering of Mexican culture there is no worse example than Tabasco sauce. With vast swathes of local history wholly ignored, the origins of this spicy condiment are murky. The debate seemingly between two men neither of which was Mexican. Any Mexican gambling laws of embarrassment might put a stop to this would be so very, very wrong. 

Plundering of Mexican Culture tabasco
Tabasco Chipotle Edition

The Bad – Tabasco; A Culinary & Cultural Misappropriation

Perhaps most indicative, however, are the Cinco de Mayo celebrations. Apparently, consumers were not content with lazy stereotypes in movies or bastardized versions of traditional dishes. They wanted more, and in the 1980s beverage companies figured out just how to give the people what they wanted. They mangled someone else’s history, added marketing, and perpetuated the plundering of Mexican culture. For Mexicans, the day holds no special attraction because it’s not really part of their culture. 

Plundering of Mexican Culture
Cinco de Mayo – Image source: Flickr

The Ugly – Cinco de Mayo Celebrations Are A Hijacked Holiday

So then Mexico finds itself under threat. The cultural carpetbaggers could sweep the heritage of centuries away in an instant. Appropriating or misappropriating at whim. Perhaps only the fates get to decide. Those who like to bet on sports in Mexico at bet365 may wager Corona Extra shows the way. The more pessimistic may look at the hot sauce and see that as the future. Either way, the plundering of Mexican culture will continue, be it by the good, the bad, or the ugly.  

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We take a look at three examples highlighting the plundering of Mexican culture, the good, the bad and the ugly. 

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