DERMATOLOGIC DISQUISITIONS AND OTHER ESSAYS Edited by Philip R. Cohen, MD| Volume 27, ISSUE 2, P240-242, March 2009

Vignettes of a fair skinned Mexican: cultural influences and traditional therapies

      Mexico is a beautiful country, with its distinctive flavor of the culture, influences, and social mores; however, many people have had neither the opportunity to visit this country nor the opportunity to learn about its history. Mexico's social structure and philosophies were patterned after the royalty that came to settle there—originally from Spain in the 1400s and subsequently from France in the 1700s. Unlike some of the tropical islands in Latin America, the Spanish were not able to completely annihilate the vastly diverse customs and foods of the resident Indian tribes (such as the Toltecs, Aztecs, and Mayans). Indeed, Indian religions eventually merged with those of European Christianity.
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      Yolanda Donnell Benitez was born in Odessa, TX, in 1954. Her mother was Mexican and her father was American-Scottish-Irish. Shortly after her birth, her parents decided to live in Mexico City, Mexico, where her mother had been born. The family moved to Chicago, IL, 4 years later, when her father accepted a professorial post. Ms Benitez's parent's strongly believed that the first 7 years were the most crucial in shaping the individual's knowledge and character. Their main focus was to eliminate any barriers in learning for their children. Even in an era of conservatism, her parents were considered “progressive.” They flooded their children's brains with many diverse topics ranging from anthropology to linguistics, including foreign languages. Yolanda predominantly grew up among adults and not children. Because parents were professors, they took her to every lecture and social gathering within their world of academia. She received a better education from her parents than from the school system, which was riddled with hypocrisy and narrow-minded perceptions and philosophies regarding educational standards. Yolanda eventually followed in her parents' footsteps. She completed a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Romance Languages in 1976 and will soon be completing her Masters Degree in Business Administration.