Culture Shock: The Mexicanization of the United States

Although originally from the Northeast, I’ve spent the last decade plus in Los Angeles and have raised my sons there. I admit I haven’t assimilated very well. As a Bostonian, I still hate the Lakers, and my taste for Mexican food is oh-so-slowly developing.

Immigration matters were unknown to us in Boston, but upon moving to Southern California, the topic was literally all around us.

And living in a bilingual region has its daily challenges.

One of my most frustrating L.A. scenarios occur whenever going to a fast food restaurant and being served by someone whose primary language is not English.

As a family, we may order two each of something, five separate things twice, etc. My problems occur when we order anything numbering more than two. The person serving us always seems to hesitate and repeat the greater-than-two number back at us as a question, before ultimately getting the order wrong.

Although Burger King’s motto used to be “Have It Your Way”, getting it your way IS a problem. I’ve almost given up trying to customize an order in Los Angeles. It’s almost as if you’re being ignored. Either the item you requested omitted is still there, items you did want are now gone as well as those you request removed, or the entire order is different than the one you asked for in the first place.

Illegal immigration is a hot button issue in Los Angeles. My take is the following: I don’t care where you came from. There is a process. As a person who had to go through the process twice for an ex-wife and stepdaughter, I know the process is a royal pain. And there were times I thought just fly them to Mexico City and I’ll meet them on the other side of the border like everyone else.

But the law is the law and not everyone has the benefit of a border they can walk across. The laws are clear and if you decide not to obey them, then you are at the mercy of law enforcement and you’ve lost my sympathy. I’m sorry if your country is poor, your government corrupt, or the many other reasons people feel give them the right to give our laws the finger and proceed on in.

Personally, I’d love to see our government abolish the 14th Amendment.

One of the original intents of the Amendment was to make the children of slaves U.S. citizens in an effort to better assimilate them into American society. That good intention has been taken advantage of by people coming across the border eight-and-a-half months pregnant. The United States may just be the only country that allows illegal foreign nationals automatic citizenship for their offspring and the fact that it is obviously now being abused is an understatement.

One hundred and thirty-seven years after the fact, the case can be made the 14th Amendment has long since outlived its original intent and usefulness.

Ironically, I’ve had one of the pro-illegal immigrant arguments debunked before my very eyes.

The argument is that the illegals do the jobs Americans won’t do. I had agreed with that argument, although it’s not a justification for law breaking. Then I had the pleasure of spending the last couple of weeks visiting the beautiful city of San Diego. Now since San Diego is a stone’s throw away from the border in comparison with Los Angeles, one would think that Latinos would dominate service-type jobs here.

You can imagine my shock to see that the majority of McDonald’s, Burger King’s and the like we’ve patronized here are manned by white and black Americans. My success rate with getting an order prepared correctly has jumped significantly, but the main issue is that Americans HAVE taken those jobs. In fact, upon closer inspection I’ve noticed that black and white Americans are working in the back of these places as well, preparing the food, mopping the floors, washing utensils, etc. It’s the closest feeling I’ve had like I’m in America since moving to California.

That was not a racist sentiment. It’s just refreshing to be served by someone who understands you clearly, and it’s also pleasing to see that the main excuse activists who want an open border use to justify the onslaught so clearly bashed.

“Mexican immigrants do the work Americans don’t want.”

Yeah, right. Come check out San Diego.

Apparently the illegals may consider San Diego too close to the Border Patrol for comfort and have migrated to Los Angeles and points north.

On one of my brief drives back to L.A., we tried an experiment. My son and I stopped at a Burger King for breakfast in the San Fernando Valley. We ordered a coffee, an orange juice, and four (Four?), yes four Croissanwichs with sausage. The drinks came correctly, however we got three sandwiches with sausage and one with ham. I guess a 75% success rate is a good thing.

Welcome back to Los Angeles.

Now maybe I have the benefit of looking at San Diego with a fresh perspective, but it seems that the notion of assimilation has really taken hold here. I’ve met Latinos here who while maybe speaking Spanish at home, speak perfect English to those who speak English.

While in the “melting pot” that L.A. boasts it is where ethnic groups geographically separate themselves, and all non-Spanish people are told they must learn Spanish in order to do lucrative commerce and assimilate, San Diego seems to be all that Los Angeles isn’t.

Now tomorrow, I have to drive back to the City of Angels for a day.

Okay, I can deal with the traffic since I know when and where to utilize the side streets there.

But Burger King and McDonald’s will never be the same for me because I now know there is a better way to do business. I’ll have to go back to inspecting my order before leaving the drive thru because chances are my order will be wrong.

I know harping on my fast food linguistic challenges may seem petty to some of you, and it just may be. But the whole issue of illegal immigration and the issues of assimilation may be more easily understood by its impact on the simplest of everyday activities.

And the downright lie told by activists that Americans are unwilling to work at certain jobs seems to have been proven false.

Not by some lengthy study conducted by suits at a think tank hundreds of miles away.

But at a fast food drive thru in San Diego.

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