Mexican’t Believe It

, , , , | Learning | June 8, 2017

(I am working in a junior high classroom helping a group of students with their English homework. This is not long after Trump takes office and the students are reading a magazine article about Trump’s different stances on the environment, immigration, economy, etc. I am explaining to them about his ideas about the border wall with Mexico.)

Student #1: “But I don’t get it. Isn’t Mexico part of the U.S.?”

Me: *fumbling for a response* “Are you thinking of New Mexico?”

Student #1: “No, Mexico Mexico.”

Me: “…No.”

(The rest of the students are either laughing or gaping at this point.)

Student #2: *pointing* “There’s a map over there. Go look.”

(I lead Student #1 over to the map and show them Mexico and the US.)

Student #1: *wide eyed* “Ooohhh… that makes so much more sense. Like, I couldn’t figure out why all the other states wanted to keep people from one state out.”

(At this point, I’m just nodding and trying not to laugh.)

Student #1: “How did I get to seventh grade without knowing that?”

(I thought it best not to answer.)

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  • arglebargle

    Thank God he learned. That beats the snot out of us reading this same story in 7 years when he’s got a job where he’s checking ID’s.

  • Dsru Bin

    Maybe he thought that there are just two parts of Mexico (new and old)? Seventh Grade is when we did geography, and most students in my class couldn’t label all 50 states on a map.

    And Baja California is in Mexico, which isn’t confusing at all.

    • arglebargle

      I think I was 5 or 6 when my parents got me a jigsaw puzzle of the states. Consequently, knowing the states and capitals is right along with knowing the ABCs. Simple things like that give your kids an amazing advantage in life.

      • Dsru Bin

        I had that puzzle as a kid, and I could put it together relatively easily. But nobody said I was supposed to LEARN anything from it!

        (The truth is, I learned the shapes and locations of the states from the puzzle; I just never learned the names of the states (no capitals on my puzzle))

      • Kathryn Baggs

        I had the Canadian version. Not sure if I learned anything from it or not… but I probably did.

  • Kristen

    Mexico is a part of North America. Maybe he got that mixed up?

    (Did he think Canada was part of the USA too?)

    • Lou Miller

      I used to work (US national only) directory assistance and you wouldn’t believe how many times we had callers that refused to believe that Canada is a country and not a state.

      I had one guy say calling Canada can’t be an international call because he can see Canada from backyard window.

      • Tiffany Tyler

        I want to laugh react your comment but alas, Disqus doesn’t allow it. 😂😂😂

    • Kathryn Baggs

      So many people mix up Canada being a different country. Of course this often comes from those who ask if we live in igloos and have out houses. *facepalm*.

    • allahboleh

      Isn’t it? America’s hat?

  • Flami

    Thank goodness he learned that at 12 years old.

    • Novelista

      Isn’t the first step to recovery admitting you have a problem? 😉

      • Flami

        That’s true.

  • Max

    “Like, I couldn’t figure out why all the other states wanted to keep people from one state out.”

    Florida.

  • Don Burke

    People have made it to adulthood without knowing that New Mexico and District of Columbia are places in the USA.

    • allahboleh

      Don’t forget Puerto Rico!

  • Serabeth

    The way in which the kid speaks (in this story) would suggest he’s neither an idiot nor unwilling to learn, so I would say this is a failure of the education system.

  • Kitty

    Well, given that the way I understand that America’s education system is very… America-focused (and I think a lot of America’s society is, too, in general), I think it would make sense to not really get to know anything beyond the American borders…

    • Leah

      I understand your point. However even with the US’s inward focus this surprises me, given what a popular holiday destination Mexico is for many americans, and the big fuss over illegal mexican immigrants.

    • Harold George Wagner III

      I honestly don’t understand that observation. We most certainly do study things outside of America.

      • Jenna

        From speaking with Americans in America (as a tourist/visitor) I don’t understand your lack of understanding. Quite often it’s seemed like Americans DON’T know anything about the outside world. Not all (or even, admittedly, the majority) but definitely more than I’m comfortable with.

        • Phil Adler

          I know more about Americans than someone outside the US will ever know. We aren’t as ignorant as some think, and I’d like to apologize for our vocal stupid minority

  • Bethany Lieflijk

    You see, this is why I prefer Australia- eight provinces instead of fifty. You can actually theoretically spend time studying other countries!

    • Red Dragon

      Six states and two major territories, (plus eight other territories). No provinces.

      • Bethany Lieflijk

        …I called them provinces as a catch-all so I wouldn’t be yelled at for calling them states. You just can’t win…

        • Red Dragon

          Wasn’t meant as chiding or harsh Bethany, so sorry if it came off that way. Provinces is a Canadian thing (cold Australia…) , but yes, much easier than 50.

          • Bethany Lieflijk

            No, provinces are more associated with Canada. You could be correct in calling the States of America provinces, you just wouldn’t do it often.

        • Leah

          Who would yell at you for calling them states? That’s what we call them. Even recognising that two are technically territories – most of them are states so that’s the standard generic term.

          • Bethany Lieflijk

            It’s the standard reaction. It happens more often than you think.

            “The eight states…”
            “Actually, two of them are territories.”
            “You know, I was never officially taught the ACT was counted in the first place.”

            (…Also, what’s with ‘we’?)

          • Rebekah

            A) Red Dragon literally just wrote that provinces were a Canadian thing. B) I would assume Leah is Australian, thus making “we” [Australians] the natural pronoun for her to use in her statement.

            Edit: fixed a typo

          • Bethany Lieflijk

            Provinces are used day-to-day in Canada. It is accurate, if not common, to call states in US or Australia provinces.

            …Yes, I suppose it’s accurate. It just sounds like she’s excluding me.

          • Rebekah

            I’m not Australian, but I’m pretty sure she just meant that states in Australia are called states so it’d be silly for anyone to yell at you for using the correct terminology.

          • Leah

            What Rebekah said. I’m Australian so ‘we’ is the correct pronoun for me to use in that context. In my experience most Australians will refer to australia’s ‘states’, when speaking in general conversation, and only bother going into specifics on the territories if it’s relevant to the conversation. (eg, if a person said “I’ve been to every state in australia”, another person would probably reasonably expect that to include the NT and ACT).

  • I guess he had been walled off from the truth.

  • allahboleh

    Well, you’re from California, so…