Cultural exploration

Assignment 1: the common image of the Sleeping Mexican in Mexican Folk Art

The Mexican Folk Art is well known for its great diversity which not only attributed to the different communities but also because of the existing raw materials. One of the common Mexican folk arts is that of the ‘sleeping Mexican.’ The statue depicts a Mexican man napping in a sitting position leaning against a wall. He is wrapped in a poncho and wears a huge sombrero. The popularity of the statue has gained popularity among Mexican restaurants throughout the United States (Canal, 2015). 

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The Mexicans love the statue and identify with it as a historical aspect of their lives that dates back to the 1800s. The Americans that traveled to Mexico came up with the writings that described how the Mexicans rested after working hard the whole day. By 1930, the image had gained so much popularity among the Mexicans that it was used in home decoration. Many wood carvings and sculptures were produced in bulk and they were even given to the tourists as souvenirs. 

For a long time, it was innocently sold to people who used it in the decoration of their entry gates, homes, and gardens. However, a protest ensured in San Antonio in 2012 when the Taco Bell used it as part of their logo. This uproar came about because the Mexicans viewed it as a stereotype depicting that the people of Mexico are lazy. This view came from the people that it was being used in the United States to show that the Mexicans are poor and lazy. This brings about the divisive nature of folk art because some people are for it and others wanted its production to be halted immediately (Canal, 2015). 

Still, there are those people that love art and want its production to continue. This group of people views it as a source of pride for the Mexicans because it is part of their history. They also associate it with the people being hard working. After a long day of work, the people become very tired thereby deciding to take rest. They then put on huge sombreros to cover their faces and wrap themselves in serapes and ponchos as they lean against walls taking a nap. Generally, the statute cannot be said to be used in stereotyping the Mexicans because it is historical and dates back to Mardonio Magaña and Diego Rivera. Needless to say, with a society that is so heavily commercialized and racist, such images and statues must be used cautiously to avoid issues of cultural insensitivity and discrimination (Magazine, 2019).

sleeping_mexican.jpg

Assignment 2: The Legal King of Colombian Exports

In recent years, Colombia hit world headlines because of its dealings in drug trafficking. However, one product that has changed the lives of the people of Colombia is coffee. Although the arrival of coffee to Colombia cannot be traced exactly, Colombia began its exportation of coffee in 1835. The United States became one of its major importers and in no time, coffee became the main revenue source for the government. In no time Colombia was exporting its coffee to different parts of the world. Through this, the country was able to grow as the rate of employment increase. Being a major source of revenue for the country, most of the development in Colombia came about due to the cultivation and exportation of coffee. Many families were also able to meet their needs thanks to coffee as an export crop in the country (Andrade, Overby, Rice & Weisz, 2013). 

To the people of Colombia, coffee growing is a tradition that has been passed down from one generation to the other. They view coffee as their identity as a country. Therefore, coffee is seen as a way of unifying the people of Colombia. Coffee growing has for many years become the highest employer of people in rural areas. The harvesting of the coffee is normally done by hand to ensure the quality is maintained, which means more and more people are employed in the farms. Many families can live well because of the cultivation of coffee in the country (Equalexchange.coop, 2019). 

At the same time, because of coffee cultivation and exportation, the rural areas of Colombia have been developed especially in terms of infrastructure. This facilitates the transportation of the coffee from the farms for exportation. Naturally, with such an economic activity where all citizens are involved, there is a sense of togetherness and patriotism. Similarly, when it comes to the issue of politics, even the leaders must be highly involved in coffee farming. They believe this will help them represent the country’s coffee well. Today, however, the country is paying greatly because of overusing pesticides over the years. At the same time, the country is facing a problem with soil erosion. Colombia is now facing a great crisis, which is highly impacting the small-scale growers negatively. It has driven most farmers into debt and poverty. However, the future looks brighter since the global coffee prices are rising (Andrade, Overby, Rice & Weisz, 2013).

References

Andrade, R., Overby, D., Rice, J., & Weisz, S. (2013). Coffee in Colombia: Waking Up to an Opportunity – Knowledge@Wharton. Retrieved 9 November 2019, from https://knowledge.wharton.upenn.edu/article/coffee-in-colombia-waking-up-to-an-opportunity/ 

Canal, N. (2015). What Makes The 'Sleeping Mexican' So Divisive?. Retrieved 9 November 2019, from https://www.wfae.org/post/what-makes-sleeping-mexican-so-divisive#stream/0 

History of Coffee in Colombia | Equal Exchange. (2019). Retrieved 9 November 2019, from https://equalexchange.coop/history-of-coffee-in-colombia Magazine, T. (2019). This Restaurant Advertised With a ‘Lazy Mexican’ Trope and These Detroiters Were Not Having It. Retrieved 9 November 2019, from https://www.latinorebels.com/2018/04/05/lazymexicantrope/

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