Whenever my students are writing about Cubans, Uruguayans, Spaniards, Dominicans, Argentinians, Venezuelans, Colombians, etc., I always know that by the end of the essay, all these people will be mysteriously transformed into Mexicans. Often, I read statements like, “Jose Marti was an important Cuban thinker and the fighter for Cuban Independence. He loved his country of Mexico and worked hard to make it independent from Spain.”
The culmination of this trend was achieved in the passage I read today: “Jose Enrique Rodo, a thinker and educator from Uruguay, hated the United States and Mexico. Mexico was part of the United States, which is why he hated it. As a Mexican, he hated his own nation and wrote critically about it.”
Is there a way I can politely bring to my students’ attention the Earth-shattering news that not all Spanish-speakers are Mexican?