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Anthony Bourdain Perfectly Captures America’s Hypocritical Relationship With Mexico And Its People

"Our brother from another mother. A country, with whom, like it or not, we are inexorably, deeply involved, in a close but often uncomfortable embrace."

Posted on May 4, 2014, at 7:37 p.m. ET

With Mexico on the mind because of Cinco de Mayo, Anthony Bourdain took to Tumblr to talk about America's troubling relationship with its neighbor.

Charles Sykes/Invision / AP Images, File

He began by talking about how much Americans love Mexican food before jumping into the crux of his point:

Despite our ridiculously hypocritical attitudes towards immigration, we demand that Mexicans cook a large percentage of the food we eat, grow the ingredients we need to make that food, clean our houses, mow our lawns, wash our dishes, look after our children. As any chef will tell you, our entire service economy—the restaurant business as we know it—in most American cities, would collapse overnight without Mexican workers. Some, of course, like to claim that Mexicans are "stealing American jobs". But in two decades as a chef and employer, I never had ONE American kid walk in my door and apply for a dishwashing job, a porter's position—or even a job as prep cook. Mexicans do much of the work in this country that Americans, provably, simply won't do.

He juxtaposed a drug war fueled by American appetites that has killed 80,000 Mexicans, with the richness, beauty, and culture Americans all too often don't see.


He wrote about how his attachment and fondness for Mexico comes from the kindness he was given from its people.

Getty images

"In nearly 30 years of cooking professionally, just about every time I walked into a new kitchen, it was a Mexican guy who looked after me, had my back, showed me what was what, was there—and on the case—when the cooks more like me, with backgrounds like mine—ran away to go skiing or surfing—or simply flaked," he wrote.

"I have been fortunate to track where some of those cooks come from, to go back home with them. To small towns populated mostly by women—where in the evening, families gather at the town’s phone kiosk, waiting for calls from their husbands, sons and brothers who have left to work in our kitchens in the cities of the North."

"So much of my career as a chef I relied on Mexicans," he said in an interview previewing the latest episode of his show Parts Unknown.

"So I have sort of a deep love and a deep anger for the hypocrisy of our relationship with that country."

Many on Twitter were touched by his fierce passion on the issue. A love letter to Mexico from @Bourdain

Bill Esparza@streetgourmetla A love letter to Mexico from @Bourdain

01:07 PM - 4 May 14ReplyRetweetFavorite

"Mexico...has always been there for us, to service our darkest needs and desires." Thank you, @Bourdain.

Liz Martinez@LizMartinezG

"Mexico...has always been there for us, to service our darkest needs and desires." Thank you, @Bourdain.

03:58 PM - 4 May 14ReplyRetweetFavorite

@RealAdrianC @bomani_jones High five to @Bourdain That’s fucking truth right there

Brian Zygo@bzygo

@RealAdrianC @bomani_jones High five to @Bourdain That’s fucking truth right there

02:48 PM - 4 May 14ReplyRetweetFavorite

And then Bourdain concluded by waxing nostalgic about the lesser-known beauty the country has to offer:

In years of making television in Mexico, it's one of the places we, as a crew, are happiest when the day's work is over. We'll gather round a street stall and order soft tacos with fresh, bright, delicious tasting salsas—drink cold Mexican beer, sip smoky mezcals, listen with moist eyes to sentimental songs from street musicians. We will look around and remark, for the hundredth time, what an extraordinary place this is.

The Mexico episode airs on Sunday, May 4 at 9 p.m. ET on CNN.

A BuzzFeed News investigation, in partnership with the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists, based on thousands of documents the government didn't want you to see.