Son of Polemic High Court Justice in Mexico Spells Out Latin American Privilege in #Collegescam

Mar 14, 2019
9:24 pm

“The Mexican elite, usually so hypocritical, is more honest than the American in one respect: We feel no need to engage in meritocratic dissimulation & pretend that the children of the rich grow up to be rich not because they were born rich but because they worked hard.”

That is how Nicolás Medina Mora, son of Justice of the Mexico Supreme Court Justice, Eduardo Medina Mora, started a Twitter thread rant the day news broke about a sweeping college admissions bribery scandal involving some of the most elite universities in the United States. His rant gives a raw and unfiltered window into the far reaching tentacles of the Ivy League mystique and the role it plays among the wealthy and privileged class in Mexico and other Latin American nations, when, as Medina Mora says, the “colonial elites” return home countries with their BA or MA diplomas under their arms.

“The notion that going to a place like Yale, as I did, could somehow make one more deserving of inherited privileges that one would have had whether or not one went to college at all is patently absurd,” Nicolás wrote. “But the truly nasty part is that going to a place like Yale will in fact make it easier for you to acquire even more wealth and even more privileges.”

The author’s father is a very prominent politician in Mexico, one who has held important roles —and has been involved in multiple scandals— across three presidential administrations. His approval into Mexico’s high court in 2015 was incredibly controversial, with critics noting that his close ties to the then-exiting President, Enrique Peña Nieto, would undermine the court’s independence.

Before becoming Justice of the nation’s Supreme Court, Eduardo Medina Mora was Ambassador to the United Kingdom and then to the United States from 2013 to 2015. As Attorney General under former President Felipe Calderón, he is attributed as being the legal architect of Mexico’s war on drugs that has taken a toll of thousands of dead and missing people. Prior to that, he was Secretary of Public Safety, and from 2000 to 2005 head of the domestic intelligence agency—the equivalent to the United States’ National Security Agency.

So, Nicolás s in a very privileged —no pun intended— position to speak with authority about the role of U.S. Ivy League education in the Americas. In a personal essay he published in 2014 in BuzzFeed, he alludes to the reality of growing up as the son of a powerful politician: “I told him I felt trapped in the rancid atmosphere of wealthy Mexico City. I told him I felt misunderstood by my soccer-playing peers, and that I was afraid that the cartels were going to kill me because of my father’s position as the country’s attorney general.”

That conversation, by the way, allegedly took place between Nicolás and the Nobel laureate Gabriel García Márquez, who met Nicolás in an intimate familial setting in Mexico when he was a teenager. In that encounter, Nicolás’ mother gave the Colombian author samples of her son’s short stories. The second time they met was because García Márquez had read, and liked, the short stories and thus wanted to meet again.

Here is Medina Mora’s full Twitter rant (made a paragraphed piece by Thread Reader):

The Mexican elite, usually so hypocritical, is more honest than the American in one respect: We feel no need to engage in meritocratic dissimulation & pretend that the children of the rich grow up to be rich not because they were born rich but because they worked hard.

Here, if you are academically serious, you go to public college — which is free. Like, actually free. Private schools will take anyone who can pay. With a few small exceptions, they are diploma mills runs by entrepreneurial Jesuits.

The notion that going to a place like Yale, as I did, could somehow make one more deserving of inherited privileges that one would have had whether or not one went to college at all is patently absurd.

But the truly nasty part is that going to a place like Yale will in fact make it easier for you to acquire even more wealth and even more privileges.

All ideological superstructures are lids on the trashcan of theft. The latent message of most Ivy League propaganda is that attending such schools will make you worthy of things you would have been given anyway. But the material function of those schools is to make you richer.

And then there is the function of elite American education in the colonial context! Because, of course, the one thing that can make a Mexican rich boy like me worthy of his inheritance is an American education.

“Oh he is not like all the other mirreyes fifis! He worked hard and got into one of those American schools! He’s really smart and hard working!”

But again, this is just the lid. The function of the Ivy League in places like Mexico or India is to train and indoctrinate cadres of loyal and well-thinking colonial elites who will push for American interests in their countries.

The idea is that you will go to New Haven or Cambridge for four years, make good friends, ideally the sort of kid who winds up in the Senate foreign policy committee, and go back home full of warm feelings for American folks, neoliberal economic theory, and a love for Budweiser.

Which is partially why they really don’t like it when you try to stay. What good are you for the empire holding down a journalism gig in New York on an H1-B visa? Somebody has to run the state oil company, kiddo, and do you really want it to be someone who didn’t take Macro 101?

And it is then when the ironic double-consciousness of the colonial elite kicks in. Because, of course, for all of the ways in which they are hedge funds with classrooms on top, it is possible to read philosophy even at elite schools.

And so there you are, having acquired the critical apparatus and the ironic distance necessary to see just how grotesque your position is, which would have never happened had you gone to Jesuit school in your country, unable to stay but also unable to return in good faith.

Then you return, not so much in good or bad faith as faithlessly, realizing you went to America for 10 years and all you got was a stupid t-shirt that you’ve learned would be tacky to wear in public and an anguished lucidity about how your choices are not yours, but your class’.

All of which is to say: If you are going to bribe Yale to let your kid in, you might as well just write him a check for the tuition and the bribe and put him in touch with a wealth manager who’ll make sure he’ll put at least half of it in U.S. bonds before blowing the rest in blow.

If you send your kid there, he will either graduate being every bit as useless and rich as he was when you bought him a ticket or discover that his very existence is predicated on centuries of genocide and plunder, which will make him all the more useless, if not any less rich.

Your protestant piety about proving that God has chosen your family for good things because you are morally good by nature is bad as theology and worse as a life-habit. Just own up to it — you are rich and you shouldn’t be! You do not deserve any of it! Any!

This has been my report from the colonies, where creolism is alive and well, and where an entire generation of lil criollitos had their perfectly good minds, so suited to the parlor game of fine prose, ruined by degrees in economics and other styles of bean-counting.

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