The Economist’s Ignorant Article on “Old” Mexico: “They Didn’t Jump the Border—It Jumped Them.”

Feb 3, 2014
9:16 am

Leave it to The Economist to be ever so ignorant. Recently, the UK-based magazine published a piece called “Old Mexico lives on.” It went viral. The piece was trying to make the point that ever since the 1848 Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo, territory that used to be Mexico’s but it now part of the United States is still heavily influenced by history and culture. That makes sense. They even had a graphic to prove it (screen grab from the page):

Nonetheless, the way the online piece explained the point made our heads turn. Here is the end of the piece (emphasis is ours):

But a century and a half later, communities have proved more durable than borders. The counties with the highest concentration of Mexicans (as defined by ethnicity, rather than citizenship) overlap closely with the area that belonged to Mexico before the great gringo land-grab of 1848. Some are recent arrivals; others trace their roots to long before the map was redrawn. They didn’t jump the border—it jumped them.

Was that even necessary? Yes, @nu4jm6, we agree.


Yes, even in a piece about the cultural history between Mexico and the Southwest, people have to bring up the stale and ignorant image of the “border jumper.” FYI, guess The Economist doesn’t look at actual historical photos when it writes things. For example, see this image. Who is jumping what here?”


The Economist’s description in that final sentence is just lazy and insulting. You think that they would have done more work about this topic, but why actually do more work about it? Anyone who follows and lives this topic could have easily told the magazine that if it did want to include the whole notion of borders in this conversation, using the expression “We didn’t cross the border, the border crossed us,” might speak more to the issue here. See the subtle difference there? Just saying.