Mexican Society and Culture
Mexican society is an epitome of socials schisms. Wide disparities in wealth, social status, and educational levels exist across different sections of Mexican society and across the country’s many regions. After the liberalization of the economy in the 1990s have resulted in the emergence of a rising class of well-educated and affluent elite who are a direct contrast to the vast majority of the rural and urban poor many of who still reel under poverty and related socio-economic hardships. In between these two classes is the middle class whose condition have not changed much even in the cities. The worst off are the rural landless poor who live on low daily wages. They are in direct contrast to a growing breed of wealthy farmers who own most of the agricultural land and resources and therefore garner most of Mexico’s agricultural income.
The family is at the center of the social structure. Outside of the major cosmopolitan cities, families are still generally large. The extended family is as important as the nuclear family since it provides a sense of stability. Mexicans consider it their duty and responsibility to help family members. For example, they will help find employment or finance a house or other large purchases. Most Mexican families are extremely traditional, with the father as the head, the authority figure and the decision-maker. Mothers are greatly revered, but their role may be seen as secondary to that of their husband.
Mexican society and business are highly stratified and vertically structured. Mexicans emphasize hierarchical relationships. People respect authority and look to those above them for guidance and decision-making. Rank is important, and those above you in rank must always be treated with respect. This makes it important to know which person is in charge, and leads to an authoritarian approach to decision-making and problem-solving. Mexicans are very aware of how each individual fits into each hierarchy—be it family, friends or business. It would be disrespectful to break the chain of hierarchy
Etiquette and Customs
- Give a slight bow or shake hands when introduced.
- When greeting a Mexican women bow unless she extends her hand then shake hands.
- Stand close together when talking.
- Mexicans often hold a gesture (handshake or hug) longer than Americans.
- Don’t stand with your hands on your hips or in your pockets.
- Flowers should always be given when visiting a Mexican home.
- Keep both hands above the table.
- Don’t sit until told where to sit.
- Don’t leave table to quickly after everyone has finished eating.
- Drinking too much is looked down upon—especially by woman.
- Do not arrive on time because you will be the only one that does.
- Leave a bit of food on your plate when you are done.