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Mexicans are not smart or fragrant enough to defeat the Asian peril

Defeatist doom

Stern response Last week, I wrote about the need for the likes of Wal-Mart and Dell to set up engineering and computer science training centers in Mexico. This proposal - which is the only way the US can defeat the growing Asian peril - has been well received.

Many of you, however, have raised questions about the intellectual prowess of our southern neighbors. I find this disgusting, although not unexpected. Choosing to underestimate and demean Mexicans will get us nowhere. I know this. Our president knows this. Our CEOs know this.

Wake up, America!

Turning to your letters, we find an immediate example of the ignorance that I'm forced to deal with.

Asians smell better and are smarter.

Plus asian women are much better looking than spanish women who normally smell like trash dumpsters or diapers.

The coward who wrote this revealed himself only as "American." Asian and "Spanish" women are equally beautiful, and they only smell like dumpsters if you hang out with them in dumpsters.

Dear Mr. Stern,

I loved the article about Mexican smarties. I'm not Mexican, but I was going to school for Computer Science untill I switched to EE. I'm a junior in it, but I am too lazy to finish it. I live at home with my family and run a computer repair business from there. I find myself in an educational rut. How does one find the motivation to finish a degree like EE and become successful and consistant?

Sincerely, Jeremy Baham

If you can figure out how to become "consistant," then you're a better man than I.

You hurt your own message with the statement, "Or, if you're one of those pathetic young Democrats, you can pretend to work hard at your politics classes, shoot a few rounds of golf for the school team and then whore yourself for millions in Washington."

Being a Washington whore has much less to do with your party affiliation than the fact that you want to be a politician in the first place. There are fat-cats on both sides of the house, "working" all those hours for the special interests; most millionaires in search of more millions, not honest men and women trying to help the country. You want to pretend that you're trying to help the downtrodden minorities by casting aspersion at the upper-crust, middle elite (?), but you show the exact arrogance you deride, and you don't even have a real job!

How about you take on the truly rich, the people who earn astronomical salaries for doing absolutely nothing. Once you've knocked them down a peg, feel free to come back after us tech guys without degrees. I might not have wasted 4 years and tens of thousands of dollars chasing a piece of paper, but at least I can hold down a real job, and get good work done in the meantime.

Stan Smith

I think Stan has been spending too much time hanging out with Al Gore.

You lost me when you said that India and China graduate millions of engineers. That statement has been widely disproven.

China's graduation rate of actual 4-year equivalent engineers is about 200,000 per year, at best. India's may be about 350,000 (engineers and computer science degrees) of which only a fraction are considered trained well enough to support the businesses of the U.S. (McKinsey estimates only about 25% have sufficient skills, see this story.

The U.S. graduates about 72,000 4-year engineering degrees, about 28,000 graduate engineering degrees - and about 150,000 if you include computer science degrees. Oddly we always leave out the CS degrees, even though the overwhelming number of jobs offshored - or imported via H-1B visas - are computer science/software jobs. (References to sources are available here.)

These numbers are even more amazing if you would notice that India has five times more people aged 20 to 29, and China, ten times more people aged 20 to 29, than does the U.S.Their pool of raw material is immense relative to that of the U.S. There are other reasons - like no labor laws - that India is a very popular outsourcing destination.

Encountering that "urban legend" error up front - that India and China are training millions of engineers, pretty much killed the whole article's thesis for me. Oh, I have an undergrad degree in computer science, an M.B.A., and am finishing a graduate certificate in biomedical informactics from the informatics program at a premier med school.

Please do not insult us by calling us lazy.

Edward Mitchell

Describing our engineering crisis as an "urban legend" does a huge disservice to this great country that I'm trying to protect. Such opinions fly in the face of what any IT CEO or educator will tell you.

Old Ed seems more hung up on showing that he has a better way to calculate engineer numbers instead of looking at the larger issue. That's not a lot to be proud of, and I don't think it's worth destroying the future of America just so he can feel right.

There is just one little problem: How many Mexicans who are good in math and science have you ever met?

J Ho

Defensive much, Ho?

you realize none of these stereo types are really true...unless people 'will' them to be true by collectively putting themselves down and not believing they can acheive.

likewise the otherside is great exaggerating the strength of their position as a type of propaganda to both motivation their country, and to demoralize the west into a nihilistic way of thinking and defeatism where failure is viewed as envitable.

so the real problem is lack of belief in collective acheivement that a nation is capible of and demoralization, coupled with exaggerated believe in what the other side is capible of acheiving to the point of giving up and yeilding all positions... its a psycological disorder...It can be stopped at any time when enough people decide they are not going to put up with this anymore... this nation needs to have courage to revalue the worth of its people and to take charge over it destiny rather than submitting to mediocracy and defeatism.

Anonymous Freescale employee

Er, no one invited Wittgenstein to the debate.

Nice article Otto but don't slam the Democrats without giving due justice to the Republicans. I don't recall a time where more scandals have slammed the Whitehouse due to corruption and greed. Neither are your friend and both may be your enemy. Last time I looked they weren't looking out for my interest.


Thanks for completely ignoring the thrust of the article and focusing on your loser Democrat leanings.

I hope your statement about there not being enough skilled engineers was said with tongue-in-cheek.

You'd need to spend some time AS an engineer to understand the business. Perhaps you are; perhaps not.

There are plenty of "skilled" available and willing unemployed or underemployed engineers in the U.S. The "shortage" myth has been rambling for too many years thru the media industry as the media feed off each other- even the IEEE was suckered into believing there was a shortage a few years ago during the "boom". I'm answering after reading about 1/3 of the article; the response is happening on a spur of the moment as I'm in a "mood" and couldn't hold back, which I usually do.

I recognize the articile is written to be humourous and with lots of spam statements for effect. However, I still need to counter the statement regards the purported "shortage" of engineers. regards,

Walt Smith

I've got $100 that says Walt Smith and Stan Smith are brothers or lovers.

Mr Stern, what does it mean to "put the EE back in Meexican"? I din't understand that.

P.S. I'm a mexican engineer living in the US since 2000. I have an MS in information technology that I got in the ITESM, the most respected private school in Latin America and I'm... unemployed. It looks like nobody here in San Antonio, TX thinks like you.

Luis Ibarra

That's for an electrical engineering degree, of course.

ar Otto It will take a million-trillion years for the mud-brained mexicans to catch-up with the Indians and Chinese brains to outweed them in the american soil ! good luck with your fajitas :-)

Karthik Natarajan

Another defensive response and very misinformed. Fajitas come from Texas - the home of Dell, Compaq and many other technology companies - not Mexico.

Mexicans, or more correctly Mestizos have a significantly lower average IQ than Orientals. Whilst the average IQ of East Asian Indians is just 80, i.e. comperable with that of African-Americans, their population size means that more of them fall within the right-hand side of the bell-curve than Mestizos. It's a lie to say that America needs more third-world immigrants, you can read more to confirm this at

Regards, Adolf

We're going to leave this one alone for so many obvious reasons.


I was impressed about what you wrote, and I think you make a strong point. I´ve, somehow, saddly been seeing that young americans just get thru high school and then they think they´re ready for life. Even some take some kind of technical degree and think they´re on top of the world, intellectually speaking. I´ve noticed how these technical institutes are growing at an amazing rate.

3 years ago I tried to enter the University of Arizona... got the papers and everything, but due to financial problems couldn´t make it in. Even so, I finished my career in Administrative Information Systems in Cd. Obregon, Sonora, Mexico (my hometown) and feel more capable than a lot of proffesionals I´ve met in Arizona.

You mention some kind of computer science test to get some papers... are you talking about a citizenship or something like that?... if so, where can I get more information about this test? I hope you get to read and answer these questions...

Best Regards, Jorge Luis Fernandez Lopez

The test was just a proposal, but I like your gumption Jorge.

Dear Otto, I used to see you simply as a redneck with prostrate issues, but your article showed such clarity and incisive logic I had to stand back and admire it. Can you address this in Europe some time? Paul Crawford

I gave up on Europe long ago, Paul. It has no hope, especially once the Gulf Stream is reversed. Start buying your "made in China" jackets now. ®

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