Leave it up to sports, in this case soccer's World Cup in South Africa, to break down cultural barriers.
In some cases, Mexican Americans are pulling for Mexico's team while Mexican immigrants who have long since become U.S. citizens are cheering on the U.S. squad.
If basketball greats Julius Erving and Magic Johnson forced a predominantly white audience to forget about skin color for the moment and simply see them as fantastic athletes in a sport they truly loved, the World Cup, which begins early Friday morning with a match between Mexico and South Africa, provides a different twist to the polarization that's been sweeping the country lately, sports enthusiasts say.
"Hey, I think Mexico has the better team. What more can I say? I'll be rooting for them," says Fernando Lopez, a carpenter who was eating at El Campeon Carniceria and Taqueria in Costa Mesa on Wednesday. "But that still doesn't mean that the U.S. government shouldn't try to do something about the Mexican people coming across the border illegally."