A conversation around "Mexicana: The case for sombreros and tequila."

Sean Ayres’ articles never fail to strike up an enthusiastic discussion. The following comments have been taken to highlight the diversity of stances around the issue. The full discussion can be read here: <https://www.facebook.com/metiormagazine/posts/2232768196750139>.


Portia Heathcoate; on assumptions made.

OK. So all of the assumptions you based this article on are wrong. So is your definition of racism. This night is flat out racist. You've got a Mexican telling you it's racist. That false equivalence to Ireland? The Irish helped colonise Australia and have zero problems with Irish parties. See it's this thing called consent that makes the difference.

I have no problem with tequila and sombreros, but there is something seriously wrong with holding up a racist stereotype as a representation of a culture and using it as an excuse to drink. If this had been a balanced article then that should have been a featured point, not a sentence. You're not making an argument for it not being racist, your [sic] rationalising the problems so [sic] can go without feeling guilty.

-          Portia Heathcote


Kyle Williams’ rebuttal to Portia Heathcoate’s comments.

Some broad issues with what you wrote:

1. How is this party racist? If it was the "landscapers and drug-runners" party I might get it, but it's young adults having fun by borrowing from Mexican culture.

2. You use the Irish being part of the settling of Australia as an example for why they're different from Mexicans. Yet didn't the Mexicans settle the part of America Mexico now is, and drove out or repressed the original inhabitants? Claiming that the Mexicans and Irish are different because one were colonisers and the others were victims is ignorant of history.

3. You've got one person saying the entire cultural intellectual property of Mexico is off-limits. Would you call of St Paddy's if one Irish person said they were offended by it? How we choose the person who decides a  [sic] the acceptable ways to engage with another culture?

4. Finally, the notion of cultures having an intellectual property no-one else can touch and needing to remain pure is problematic. It arbitrarily divides us by skin colour and nationality, rather then [sic] bringing us together. And it ignores that no culture exists in a vacuum, but draws upon every other influence around it. Throughout history this has been for the better, and I guarantee your favourite foods, music, clothes, entertainment and the like were beneficiaries of this. Taking a reactionary view towards globalisation, and rejecting newfound opportunities it gives to us to experience and enjoy each other's cultures doesn't help anyone: it just divides us and prevents everyone from enriching their own lives.

-          Kyle Williams


Author Sean Ayres weighs in on the discussion.

 Hi Portia
Sorry you’re disappointed with the article. First off my definition of racism is not incorrect you just adopt a broader view. Racism is essentially discrimination of a race under the assumption of racial superiority. 

I think the Mexican student in question was upset at the title, was against generalisations and wanted it to reflect the culture better, I don’t think she ever claimed it was racist. I would be hesitant around assuming she had a greater issue with it. The student also said a simple tequila and taco night would be sufficient for them to come.

As for the equivalence with Ireland, my point isn’t that everything is always okay, it’s that the argument isn’t clear cut [sic]and there are many possible equivalences.

I’m curious on your point on stereotypes. I’ve clearly stated negative stereotypes are unhelpful. I put that sombreros aren’t a stereotype they are clothing from Mexico, distinct from Native American war bonnets or seedy western movie Mexican villain costumes. I also stated examples of stereotypes that weren’t degrading for Australians. If you want to make an argument for sombreros being a racist stereotype then you need to rely on a lot of controversial nuanced concepts and different standards for racial groups

Also as far as my article being balanced I think you should know that a lot of opinions went into creating this article from people that don’t necessarily agree with me personally but agree on the finished product, not sure what you expected it to be.

-          Sean Ayres


Gabrielle Hart requests correction of claims she supports the article in its Final form.

Sean Ayres While I gave you feedback on your article, I certainly did not agree with the finished product. I disagree with pretty much all of it and I made that clear. I’m surprised that you think that any of it reflects my views as it doesn’t seem like you took on anything that we discussed. Please do not use my name as support for it.

-          Gabrielle Hart