Mexican and Mexican American

Below are categories for questions that have been answered by community members. Keep in mind that the following responses may represent many members of this group but do not represent all people in a community. Not all people from diverse populations conform to commonly known culture-specific behaviors, beliefs and actions. Each person is an individual, as well as a community member.

What cultural / ethnic / religious traditions or beliefs should law enforcement be aware of?

  • Spending time with family and friends are vital parts of life.
  • Many Mexican immigrants and Mexican Americans are Roman Catholic Christians.

What is the appropriate manner to greet you? (demeanor, non-verbal, body space, handshake, bow, male-female interaction etc.)

  • Knock on the door and identify yourself. Be calm and use a non-confrontational tone.
  • "Hola. ¿Cómo estás?" "Hello. How are you?" instead of "Who speaks English here?"
  • Address the situation being called to handle.
  • Bring out the person you want to speak with. For example, if approaching a group of youth separate them and talk to them individually.
  • Never assume someone is less intelligent because of a language barrier.

Who should be addressed or acknowledged first? Who is the head of the household?

  • Males are typically the head of the household, especially in the older generation, and often answer all questions.
  • Ask: "May I speak to the head of household?"
  • Wait outside, don't just walk-in.

What is your view / perception of law enforcement? What has been your community's experience with law enforcement?

  • This community has trust issues based on history of mistreatment and racial profiling.
  • If they are undocumented, families may face fear of deportation.
  • Mexicans and Mexican Americans often feel police treat them differently and make them feel inferior.
  • They feel disrespected when the police tell them to sit on the curb.
  • Just because they dress a certain way, it's unfair to assume they're criminals.