Mexican Folk Culture is constituted by Mexican immigrants in the USA, legal and illegal, and are predominantly those who don’t have medical insurance. Culturally, they are often called the poor ones, or el pobres. Their faith in the old ways—old stories, old medicine, old religion (and witches, demons, and spirits), mediated by curanderismo—is sometimes all that gives them esperanza y salud, hope and health. And perceived control operating from within their situation of poverty.
(excerpted from The WASP and El Curandero)
The still suffering Mestizos—the genetic mix of Native Americans (of all the Americas, not just the U.S.) and the sixteenth century conquistadors, (the conquering Spaniards)—are the ones that really count, as far as Mexican folk culture goes. The first thing Mestizos in Mexico do when their babies are born is to check their skin color and report it to l the extended family members in the waiting room, for they know the darker the skin all, the more discrimination the child will face. They pray for lighter skin. One can pretty well guess why Mestizos struggling in Mexico want to come to the U.S. where all men are created equal and the minimum wage is more than double. When they cross the border into the U.S.—some across the international border bridges, some across the Rio Grande River—they become known as el pobres, or the poor ones. They have suffered physically from poverty and mentally from alienation. It is through befriending el pobres that I can confront my awareness of existential guilt. Why should I have money and they don’t?