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Bernie Krisher of American Assistance for Cambodia set her up in Phnom Penh twice more, but each time she ran away after a few days, desperate to get back to her meth supply" (Kristof and WuDonn, p.39). While I have not returned to Mexico and the carefree lifestyle I led there, I cannot deny having the desire to do so, on occasion. While I know that the life I lived there was not the right life for me, I still long to return to it on occasion.
Of course, the differences in countries and cultures are, in many ways, becoming less apparent as the world becomes more global. This globalization has challenged the existing social structures in many countries, including those countries with castes or caste-like socioeconomic divisions. Discussing India, Kapur stated that, "ancient social structures are collapsing under the weight of new money. Bonds of caste and religion and family have frayed; the panchayats, village assemblies made up of elders, have lost their traditional authority" (Kapur, p.2). While India and Mexico are not identical, the two countries share a tradition of having a caste-like structure that can trace its roots to European influence in an imperialist-occupied nation. Therefore, if changes in the United States are linked to changes in India, I believe it is reasonable to assume that changes in the United States can be linked to changes in Mexico. India once rejected American-style capitalism as immoral (Kapur, p.1). However, in India, money has been a critical factor in tearing down the walls between the socioeconomic classes, serving as an equalizer and bringing opportunity to the poor.
One of the reasons that I feel so strongly about eliminating the social stigma that is attached to being poor or working class is because I believe that when people create castes and discriminate against groups of people, it only evokes more violence by creating polarization and encouraging opposing ideologies. This is why I feel as that it is important not to identity with a single background. By living in the United States and Mexico, I have come to understand the importance of hard work and self-value. I do not know that I would have this understanding if I had not grown up in Mexico and experienced an ideological change upon coming to the United States, because I feel like the contrast between Mexican society and American society helped me understand these differences.
I believe that by bringing true capitalism and globalization into Mexico, I can be an agent of change in helping break down the walls that currently divide the socioeconomic classes. In India, the introduction of global businesses into the country brought money, business, and opportunity into the country. I think that this could be repeated in Mexico. With this influx of money, I expect that Mexico will see an increase in education and opportunity for people in the lower socioeconomic classes, much like has occurred in India. Furthermore, although globalization and Americanization has led to an increase in American-style crime, my hope is that globalization will actually lead to a reduction in crime in Mexico. Currently, the opportunities for Mexicans in the lower socioeconomic classes are so limited that they become easy targets for drug cartels and other criminal organizations. I hope that increasing legitimate opportunities will help usher in a broader cultural change, because poor people will no longer feel compelled to engage in illicit activities, debase themselves, or even kill people in order to provide for their families. This decrease in violence should elevate national stability, which will encourage additional international investment. I also hope to challenge gender stereotypes that have helped keep women in poverty, by encouraging them to understand that they are permitted to contribute (Kristof and WuDunn, p.201).
When I left Mexico, I had a feeling that the lifestyle I had lived, and the privilege I experienced were wrong, but I did not understand why they were wrong. Only by being exposed to the American notion of equality did I really come to understand how inappropriate it is to abuse people simply because they have less money than I do. I want to be an agent of change in my home country. I know that Mexican attitudes can change because my attitude changed. I am an entrepreneur who seeks changes and genuinely cares about the social impact of my actions. I decide what my own identity is, and I will take it upon myself to teach this ideology of the individual being in charge of his own identity. Furthermore, I believe that this change in self-identity is not limited to people. I agree with Barber's idea of a world consisting of "a confederal union of semi-autonomous communities smaller than nation-states, tied together into regional economic associations and markets larger than nation-states -- participatory and self-determining in local matters at the bottom, representative and accountable at the top" (Barber, N.p.). To me, I have learned that change is not only frequently sparked by one, but also frequently initiated at the bottom.
Barber, Benjamin. "Jihad vs. McWorld." The Atlantic. N.p. 1 Mar. 1992. Web. 6 May 2013.
Kapur, Akash. "How India became America." The New York Times. 1-2. 9 Mar. 2012. Web.
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Kristof, Nicholas and Sheryl WuDunn. "Microcredit: The Financial Revolution." Half the Sky:
Turning Oppression into Opportunity for Women Worldwide. New York: Vintage
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Kristof, Nicholas and Sheryl WuDunn. "Rescuing Girls is the Easy Part." Half the Sky: Turning
Oppression into Opportunity for Women Worldwide. New York: Vintage Books, 2009. 35-46.
Obama, Barack. Dreams from My Father: A Story of Race and Inheritance. New York: Crown
Sen, Amartya. Identity and Violence: The Illusion of Destiny. New York: W.W. Norton & Company, 2007.
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Restaurant Workers Tells Us…[continue]
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