Culture

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

Instagram/ @puertoricanflagsup @jennyhodgie
CREDIT: 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
CREDIT: 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
CREDIT: 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
CREDIT: 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
CREDIT: 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
CREDIT: 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
CREDIT: Araceli Cruz

READ: 9 Ways I Felt At Home In South Korea


Would you visit “The South of the Border?”

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Rihanna Hilariously Took A Jab At Trump While Taking Out The Trash On Inauguration Day— ‘I’m just here to help’

Fierce

Rihanna Hilariously Took A Jab At Trump While Taking Out The Trash On Inauguration Day— ‘I’m just here to help’

Tim P. Whitby / Getty

Rihanna just proved that she’s capable of just about anything. Last week, the class act proved that she can class up even the trashiest of things. While on a walk to the curb with bags of trash the singer rocked diamonds and a pair of satin pink peep-toe heels and gloves in a pointed jab at former President Trump. 

She might be a star but Rihanna isn’t afraid to get her hands dirty when it comes to taking out the trash on behalf of President Joe Biden.

Last Wednesday, the singer and fashion designer celebrated Biden’s inauguration and Trump’s exit with a silly post on her Instagram page. Dressed in stilettos, the “Love On The Brain” singer carried two bags of garbage out to the curb with a caption that read “I’m just here to help #WeDidItJoe.”

The comment was a clear nod to Vice President Kamala Harris and President Biden’s historic win and their ultimate swearing-in last week.

Dressed in a vintage tee-shirt reading ‘End Racism By Any Means Necessary’ Rihanna threw some shade and the trash away. 

Continuing to throw shade in the caption, Rihanna added: ‘I’m just here to help.’ The singer has proven herself to be an ultimate fan of the Biden-Harris ticket. Last year when they won the election she tweeted about their win writing “The faces of history makers, boundary breakers, and WINNERS!!CONGRATULATIONS to you both, and mostly to the American people!! So much work to do, so much hurt to undo! Let’s GO! I’m so proud of you America!”

Fortunately, it looks like Rihanna is showing no signs of slowing down her celebrations this year.

On Sunday, the Savage x Fenty owner shared a video of herself dancing in a hotel room while sporting some of her own line’s lingerie.

After doing some twerks and showing off a Savage x Fenty dotted mesh skirt, and a set of matching gloves, RiRi gave fans a fun Valentine’s Day champagne toast.

“Cupid could NEVA!” she captioned her post. “#ValentinesDayCountdown.”

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Another International Brand Has Been Accused Of Copying Indigenous Mexican Designs

Entertainment

Another International Brand Has Been Accused Of Copying Indigenous Mexican Designs

DANIEL LEAL-OLIVAS/AFP via Getty Images

Although it comes as no surprise, it’s still as frustrating as ever that an international fashion brand has ripped off traditional designs of Indigenous cultures. This time, it’s an Australian label that appears to have copied the designs of Mexico’s Mazatec community.

Although the company has already pulled the allegedly copied dress, the damage appears to have been done as many are rightfully outraged at their blatant plagiarism.

Australia’s Zimmermann brand has been accused of copying designs from Mexico’s Indigenous community.

Mazatec people from the Mexican state of Oaxaca have expressed their outrage over yet another attack on their traditions. They claim that an Australian company – Zimmermann – has copied a Mazatec huipil design to make its own tunic dress. The dress, which was part of the company’s 2021 Resort collection and retailed for USD $850, has since been pulled from the company’s website due to the criticism.

Zimmermann is an Australian fashion house that has stores across the U.S., England, France, and Italy. While the huipil is a loose-fitting tunic commonly worn by both Indigenous and non-Indigenous women across Mexico.

It’s hard to argue that the brand didn’t deliberately copy the Oaxacan design.

Credit: Francoise CAVAZZANA/Gamma-Rapho via Getty Images

When you look at the Zimmermann tunic dress alongside a traditional huipil, it’s hard not to see the resemblance. The cut of the Zimmermann dress, the birds and flowers embroidered on it and its colors all resemble a traditional Mazatec huipil. 

Changes made to the original design – the Zimmermann dress sits above the knees and unlike a huipil is not intended to be worn with pants or a skirt – are disrespectful of the Mazatac culture and world view.

The Oaxaca Institute of Crafts also condemned Zimmermann and called on the brand to clarify the origin of its design.

For their part, Zimmermann has pulled the dress and issued an apology.

Zimmermann subsequently issued a statement on social media, acknowledging that the tunic dress was inspired by huipiles from Oaxaca

“Zimmermann acknowledges that the paneled tunic dress from our current Swim collection was inspired by what we now understand to be a traditional garment from the Oaxaca region in Mexico,” it said.

“We apologize for the usage without appropriate credit to the cultural owners of this form of dress and for the offense this has caused. Although the error was unintentional, when it was brought to our attention today, the item was immediately withdrawn from all Zimmermann stores and our website. We have taken steps to ensure this does not happen again in future.”

However, it’s far from the first time that an international brand has profited off of Indigenous designs.

Unfortunately, international fashion companies ripping off traditional garments and designs – especially those of Indigenous cultures – is far too common. Several major companies have been accused of plagiarism within the last year.

In fact, the problem has become so widespread that Mexico created a government task force to help find and denounce similar plagiarism in the future. Among the other designers/brands that have been denounced for the practice are Isabel Marant, Carolina Herrera, Mango and Pippa Holt.

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