In talking about a Mexican sports car, host Richard Hammond says, "Just imagine waking up and remembering you're Mexican." (Laughter).
The Mexican embassy in London has asked for an apology from the BBC-produced show.
The guys, the British version of back-slapping Old School types, were being tongue-in-cheek of course. But at some point it just got to bee too much.
"... Mexican cars are just going to be a lazy, feckless, flatulent, overweight ogre leaning against a fence, asleep, looking at a cactus with a blanket with a hole in the middle as a coat."
"It's interesting cuz they can't do food, the Mexicans, can they? Cuz it's all, like, sick [vomit] with cheese on it."
"Yeah, refried sick."
Yeah, we make fun of bad British teeth and their delightful meat pies, but come on: Lazy? Asleep? After Hammond makes the comment about falling asleep and waking up to find you're Mexican, Clarkson says:
"Oh, it'd be brilliant. Cuz you could just go straight back to sleep again. 'Oh I'm Mexican ... '"
"That's all I'm gonna do all day."
"That's why I won't be looking to get any complaints about this because the Mexican Ambassador's going to be sitting there with the remote control like this [mimes holding the remote while snoring.] They won't complain. It's fine."
Ironically, the lazy Mexican, along with the baked-cheese plate, seem to be an American construct. (Melted cheese on a Mexican dish might even be an L.A. invention).
The richest guy in the world is Mexican. And the Real Housewives of Beverly Hills featured a Mexican husband. Many of us of Mexican descent are doing just fine, thank you, but Latinos still identify more than any other ethnic group in the U.S. as being the victims of discrimination.
At some point in an ethnic group's history (if you're Irish or Italian) you can have at it. At what point that is, it's not clear, though. Will Mexicans ever have their Irish-as-drunk-guy moment? Maybe. But not as long as thousands come across the border each month to work as America's no-rights-having servant class. Each one sets our assimilation clock back just a little. For most, that's fine. Our blood, our culture follows us; it doesn't let us forget where we came from.
At least for now, this bit of anti-Mexicanism was, as they say, too soon.