Working Papers in Educational Linguistics (WPEL)

Article Title

Mexicans Be Like




This article explores the use of “Mexicans Be Like” memes in terms of the heteroglossic tension they both employ and produce, and the ways in which meme examples creatively recontextualize ideas about immigration, the border, contested histories, models of personhood, racialization and presumptions of social value. I understand these memes as an opportunity for viewers to position themselves in political, social and cultural landscapes, and in so doing contribute to an environment where consumers are not passive but quintessentially productive, altering the meme content, and redeploying them into new social domains. In an attempt to appreciate the work “Mexicans Be Like” memes do, I consider how the “Mexicans Be Like” meme produces and contests certain models of personhood and the social values associated with them. This piece explores how the producer/consumers of this meme are necessarily bricoleurs, constructing meaning via their thoughtful deployment of cultural, at times stereotypic, referents. This article points to ways in which people produce meaning through their engagement with the meme form, using it to challenge dominant narratives in the context of a collaboratively produced Web 2.0 environment.