Thursday, August 14, 2014

signs of the time

Well, this is something you are most likely not going to see in Canada or The States. 

Not the sign to the left.  That is a product of the American Old South.  I am talking about the advertisement below -- an advertisement that would cause the claxon of propriety to sound a warning.

The advertisement is for an apartment in Morelia -- I believe.  It sounds quite attractive.  Even with the requirement for a six month lease.  The surprise comes in the third to last sentence. 
Fully furnished, remodeled two bedroom apartment in el centro, one block from the Mercado San Juan and close to downtown restaurants. Extra large living room, dining room, kitchen, one bath. Private entrance, completely secure. Main level features two patios and a separate storage room.  An upper level offers sweeping sun-rise views, a new built-in barbecue, bar area and patio big enough to hold a dance on. Cable TV and Internet provided.  Owner prefers male renters or mature women. A small, well-behaved pet is acceptable. Six months minimum lease required.

"Owner prefers male renters or mature women."  One can only imagine what the walls of that apartment have seen to result in that odd restriction.

I remember seeing similar advertisements when I was growing up in Oregon.  "Single gentlemen only."  "No children."  "No single ladies."

A long line of legislation has erased those restrictions from the classified advertisements -- well, at least, where classified advertisements still exist.  I suspect they have almost all migrated to the internet these days.

Of course, the sentiments survive.  If a landlord is reluctant to rent to young men, she can simply not rent to them -- always risking a visit from the fairness police.  And a subsequent fine.

Mexico simply skips the hypocrisy step.  If you own a piece of property and you don't want to deal with your own prejudices, you simply put them out in public to be read by all.  And, if someone gets offended, they just need to learn to deal with it.

It makes those of us from the north just a bit uneasy.  After all, "male renters preferred" does not create the same visceral reaction as "No coloreds."  And, even though there are huge historical differences between the two, they still strike northerners as -- well, wrong.

And if I find the advertisement offensive?  What can I do?  Here's an idea.  Mount your moral horse and don't bother responding to the advertisement.  Even if you are a preferred male or mature woman.

Who knows, after a few snubs, we northerners may conform Mexicans to our particular brand of hypocrisy. 

Who says cultures can't learn from one another?

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