Culture

I Seem To Be The Only One Offended By This Mexican Theme Park In South Carolina

Instagram/ @puertoricanflagsup @jennyhodgie

When you think of the term “south of the border,” you probably think of states in Mexico — you know, places that are actually south of the border. Not many people think of a Mexican theme park in South Carolina, but that is exactly what I came across on a recent road trip. This bizarre concept is a fullblown theme park with restaurants, shops, rides and a mascot named Pedro.

The idea for this huge tourist attraction came to the mind of its founder, Alan Schafer, in 1949.

thesouthoftheborder.com

This theme park technically is south of the border because it’s in South Carolina just south of the North Carolina border. However, what first began as a beer depot, according to its bio on their website, slowly grew to include a restaurant, a drive-in, a motel, multiple shops, a miniature golf course, a campsite, and so on.

It might have been a funny or cool concept 60 years ago, but in today’s political era, it doesn’t feel like a Mexican homage at all.

So why a Mexican theme? Schafer, while doing business in Mexico in the ’40s, recruited two Mexican men to help him start a theme park.

Araceli Cruz

According to the site, Schafer helped two Mexican men get to the U.S. and hired them as bellhops at Schafer’s motel. Instead of calling them by their individual names, Pedro and Pancho, people just combined these names to simply Pedro. (Because why not, right? ?) So “Pedro” became like the mascot and can be seen throughout the grounds.

Most of the 175 billboards for this park can be seen up and down Interstate 95. Each one tells you how far you are from “The South of the Border.”

No matter how corny #TheSouthoftheBorder billboards are. It always lets me know how close I am 2 my grandma's house. Very nostalgic 🙂

A post shared by Lashay Dopejestic Basnight (@dopejesticbasnight) on

As the Instagram above says, the billboards are completely corny and dated and literally everywhere. According to the site, there are 175 billboards between the Virginia/North Carolina state lines. That’s a small number compared to the original 250 billboards that existed.

This place is hardly a tribute to our culture, but more like a weird fantasy of what some people think Mexico is like.

Instagram/@
itismeganjones @littleanchorboutique

Yes, I was curious to stop and take a look but mostly because I – a Mexican-American – couldn’t believe a Mexican-themed tourist attraction existed in South Carolina.

I felt extremely uncomfortable being there mainly because I was the only real Mexican there. The whole place felt like a big fat joke, as if Mexicans are something to gawk at and laugh about.

Araceli Cruz

I initially thought we could stop and have a margarita, but one look around and I honestly wanted to get out of this insane Chuck E. Cheese-like place.

I seem to be alone in thinking this place is borderline racist because other people are having a great time.

We are under attack at #thesouthoftheborder

A post shared by Zoe Mayer Parsigian (@zomapa) on

Yes, dinosaurs are also celebrities here right alongside Pedro. Why? Who knows?! Maybe because Mexicans and dinosaurs have something in common? Are we both extinct?!

And as you can see from these Instagrams, most people who love this place are NOT Mexican.

For some weird reason, The South of the Border was on this lady’s bucket list.

Apparently, taking a picture with Pedro is also a must.


The Pedro statue is what I found to be probably the most offensive.

Drivin 20 hours ain't so bad with this squad! #DisneyBound #13hoursdown #7togo #SouthOfTheBorder #Pedro

A post shared by Betz?? (@tyrannosaurus_betz) on

IMO, this kind of theme park could be more relevant in a place like California or Arizona, where the Mexican culture thrives and can be celebrated in a powerful way.

Aside from the sombreros and mustaches and all the other stereotypes, what makes this downright disrespectful to me is that the Latinx population in South Carolina is 5%.

Araceli Cruz

In the early ’50s, when this place was first built, the Latinx community in the area was a lot less than 5%, almost non-existent, which makes the idea of this theme park seem nothing but exploitive.

Schafer caricatured Mexican culture instead of actually celebrating it.

Araceli Cruz

READ: 9 Ways I Felt At Home In South Korea


Would you visit “The South of the Border?”

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A 70-Year-Old Mexican-American Woman Was Attacked Because Her Assailant Thought She Was Asian

Things That Matter

A 70-Year-Old Mexican-American Woman Was Attacked Because Her Assailant Thought She Was Asian

Photo via @the_asian_dawn/Instagram

In another incident that highlights the anti-Asian sentiment that is on the rise in recent months, a 70-year-old California woman was attacked in Eagle Rock, earlier this month. According to news reports, a young woman attacked her while she was exiting the bus to pick up groceries.

The elderly woman, who goes by Becky, is Mexican-American. But her attacker yelled an anti-Asian slur at her before physically assaulting her.

According to AAPI news site Asian Dawn, Becky’s attacker was a 23-year-old woman who was also riding the bus with her. The woman did nothing to provoke the attack. The young woman ended up dragging the older woman from the back of the bus to the front of the bus. Becky ended up in the hospital with a broken nose, a concussion, two severely swollen eyes, and chunks of her hair torn from her head.

According to Becky’s son, who only goes by Pete, while the family are Mexican-American, people often mistake their family for being of Asian descent. According to Pete, no one intervened to stop the young woman from attacking his mother.

“Nobody would help. Not even the bus driver,” the woman’s son told The Eastsider.

Finally, the young woman stopped her attack after a fellow passenger called 911. The police were able to apprehend the young woman after issuing a bulletin for her arrest.

According to Pete, his mother has a long road of recovery ahead of her. Already suffering from lupus and arthritis, her mother is having trouble walking. Her leg is badly bruised from the assault.

The fact that the victim was Mexican-American serves to illustrate how ignorant and hateful these racist attacks are. There is no rhyme or reason to hate.

Many are linking the rise in anti-Asian hate crimes to the COVID-19 pandemic, as the virus originated in Wuhan, China. The violent racists that have been attacking people who appear to be of Asian descent believe that Asian-Americans are somehow personally responsible for the pandemic.

If you to support the #StopAsianHate cause, donate to organizations like gofundme.com/AAPI or the Asian American Legal defense fund here.

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Here’s How You Can Help Daunte Wright’s Family After He Was Killed By Police

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Here’s How You Can Help Daunte Wright’s Family After He Was Killed By Police

Police have taken another Black man’s life, this time it’s 20-year-old Daunte Wright. Protests have broken out in cities across the country as the nation reacts to the killing of yet another young Black man.

But as the nation reacts to the murder, Wright’s family – his mother and child – need all the support they can get right now and thankfully there are many ways that we can all be better allies while helping support the family that Wright leaves behind.

Daunte Wright is the third high-profile police murder in Minneapolis.

Daunte Wright was driving to his older brother’s house with his girlfriend on Sunday afternoon, when police pulled him over for expired tags. Police said they found an existing warrant for Wright’s arrest and attempted to handcuff him.

Bodycam footage revealed Officer Kim Potter shot Wright when she claimed to be reaching for her taser. He died on the scene, just 10 miles from where former police officer Derek Chauvin is on trial for the death of George Floyd.

According to CNN, Daunte’s death is at least the third high-profile death of a Black man at the hands of police in Minnesota in the last five years. And Daunte Wright’s death comes less than a year after the police killing of George Floyd, which sparked protests around the world.

Daunte Wright leaves behind a family still struggling with such an immense loss.

Daunte’s mother, Katie Wright, spoke out about the fear he experienced before his death. Daunte called her after the police pulled him over, at the suggestion of his older brother. “I know my son was scared. He’s afraid of the police, and I just seen and heard the fear in his voice. But I don’t know why, and it should have never escalated the way it did,” Katie told Good Morning America on April 13.

According to Katie, Daunte believed he was getting pulled over for his hanging air fresheners, then she heard “scuffling” and an officer told him to hang up the phone. “I tried to call back three, four times and the girl that was with him answered the phone and she said that they shot him and he was lying in the driver’s seat unresponsive.”

If you’d like to help support Daunte’s family and demand justice, below are a few resources and action items:

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