> I agree that this is not a unique situation. I just wanted to say that if
> I were a Mexican citizen I would have a different perspective on the
I'll grant ya that much. They may have stolen it from the Aztecs, but they surely held claim over that land before we did. There is, in fact, a movement in Mexico called "Reconquista," which, boiled down, refers to their attempt to retake the American Southwest, viewing Mexican illegals as "troops" assisting in their effort.
For anyone that wants the thorough history of how Spain wound up with claims to Mexico, this is a great read:
> It's interesting that you bring up Cortez the Killer, it is one of my
> favorite songs. I am on thin ice here trying to discuss something that
> really is outside my culture, but it has always surprised me that many
> Mexican people want to identify with the conquistadors, and are proud to
> trace their roots to Spain. Maybe it was the slant I was given at school,
> but I always sort of saw the Spanish invaders as the bad guys that
> destroyed a great culture. Of course many of the people of Mexico (most?)
> are of Spanish origin and may not see it that way.
Neil Young did a lot of great stuff (particularly 1994's Sleeps With Angels), but Cortez is an unquestionable classic. Really should snare that Zuma album someday, as it's somehow managed to slip under the radar for years. Only ever heard Cortez via the Decade compilation....
Interestingly, in my grade school system (in western New York), if there was any slight bias to our textbooks it was towards the Spanish. I remember doing a long book report on Hernando Cortez, and the Aztecs were generally portrayed as rather primitive, violent people. I'm sure most of us know that Aztec and Inca civilisations were actually rather advanced for their times, but there's no denying the human sacrifice element they celebrated.
As to your last point... I think part of the ambiguity is the fact that most Mexicans are neither Aztec nor Spanish -- most all of them are some combination of both Native and Spaniard. Like you, this is outside my culture as well, but my understanding is that this is one of the reasons why many of them look at themselves as uniquely "Hispanic" as opposed to Spanish. There's no denying the uniqueness of Hispanic culture with it's historically "caudillo" aspects --- anyone who is familiar with Spain (particularly Castilian Spain) looks upon Mexicans as being as different from themselves as, say, Japanese.
History really is a fascinating subject -- it's too bad that a career in it (typically school or college teachers) rarely pays even half of what something in, say, IT does.