CVIndependent

Fri12042020

Last updateMon, 24 Aug 2020 12pm

There is SO MUCH NEWS—and we’re not even including anything about the vice-presidential debate or the president’s recent Tweetstorm.

So let’s get right to it:

• As sort-of portended in this space last week, Riverside County’s COVID-19 numbers are heading in a bad direction—and as a result, the county could slide back into the most-restrictive “widespread” (purple) tier as soon as next Tuesday. While the state calculates our positivity rate as 5 percent, which is good enough to keep us in the red, “substantial” tier, our adjusted cases-per-100,000 number is now 7.6—more than the 7.0 limit. The county also did not meet the just-introduced equity metric, which “ensure(s) that the test positivity rates in its most disadvantaged neighborhoods … do not significantly lag behind its overall county test positivity rate.” What does this all mean? It means that if our numbers don’t improve, businesses including gyms, movie theaters and indoor dining will have to close again.

• A glimmer of hope: Today’s county Daily Epidemiology Summary indicates that, as shown in the yellow box on the last page, the county’s positivity rate seems to be heading back downward.

The county Board of Supervisors yesterday decided NOT to set up a more-lenient business-opening timetable, thereby avoiding a potentially costly showdown with the state. Instead, the supes voted 4-1, according to the Riverside Press-Enterprise, to “seek clarity on whether group meetings, like the kind held in hotels and conference centers, that primarily involve county residents can take place with limits on attendance. Supervisors also want to know whether wedding receptions can be held with attendance caps.

• After weeks of gradual improvement, the Coachella Valley’s numbers are also heading in the wrong direction, according to the weekly Riverside County District 4 report. (District 4 consists of the Coachella Valley and points eastward.) The weekly local positivity rate went up to 12.6 percent, and hospitalizations saw a modest uptick. Worst of all, two more of our neighbors passed away from COVID-19.

Well this is horrifying. According to The New York Times: “The FDA proposed stricter guidelines for emergency approval of a coronavirus vaccine, but the White House chief of staff objected to provisions that would push approval past Election Day.”

• Meanwhile, a man named William Foege, who headed the CDC under both GOP and Dem presidents, wants current CDC Director Robert Redfield to fall on his figurative sword: “A former director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and public health titan who led the eradication of smallpox asked the embattled, current CDC leader to expose the failed U.S. response to the coronavirus, calling on him to orchestrate his own firing to protest White House interference,” according to USA Today.

• A tweet from the governor’s office over the weekend has led to some unflattering national attention. As explained by CBS News: “The California governor’s office put out a tweet on Saturday advising that restaurant-goers keep their masks on while dining. ‘Going out to eat with members of your household this weekend?’ the tweet reads. ‘Don’t forget to keep your mask on in between bites. Do your part to keep those around you healthy.’” I am all for mask-wearing … but in between bites?

It appears Coachella will be delayed yet again: “Multiple music-industry insiders now tell Rolling Stone that the 21st edition of the popular music festival will be pushed a third time, to October 2021.”

ICE raids in “sanctuary” cities across California have led to 128 arrests in recent weeks—a move decried by administration critics as a political stunt. According to the San Francisco Chronicle: “The nation’s top immigration officials disclosed the results of Operation Rise during an unusual press conference Wednesday in Washington, D.C., slamming sanctuary jurisdictions and doubling down on the need to secure the country’s borders.

• Gov. Newsom had a busy day today. Most importantly, he announced that “an intern in (his) administration and another state employee who interacted with members of the governor’s staff have both tested positive for COVID-19, though neither came in contact with Newsom or his top advisors,” according to the Los Angeles Times.

• Newsom revealed that Disney Chairman Bob Iger had stepped down from his economic-recovery task force—in part because Newsom refuses to offer a pathway for the state’s theme parks to reopen. According to Deadline: “When asked about Iger’s departure, Newsom said: ‘It didn’t come to me as a surprise at all. There’s disagreements in terms of opening a major theme park. We’re going to let science and data make that determination.’

The governor also announced he had signed yet another executive order, this time in an effort to preserve at least 30 percent of California’s land and coastal waters by 2030. According to the San Jose Mercury News: “Newsom signed an executive order directing the state’s Natural Resources Agency to draw up a plan by Feb. 1, 2022, to achieve the goal in a way that also protects the state’s economy and agriculture industry, while expanding and restoring biodiversity.

• Our partners at CalMatters are reporting that in an effort to cut down on fraud, state officials are freezing unemployment accounts—but they’re often freezing the accounts of innocent people: “In what appears to be the latest problem at the besieged state Employment Development Department, unemployed Californians say their accounts are being erroneously frozen, leaving them unable to access a financial lifeline amid the pandemic. Reports surfaced last week and continued over the weekend with beneficiaries reporting their Bank of America accounts—where benefits are deposited and spent—frozen, closed or drained of money.

• An engineering professor, writing for The Conversation, says that a contagious person’s location in a room will help determine who else in that room is exposed to SARS-CoV-2. Read up on the emerging science here.

Wait, the coronavirus can cause diabetes now? Wired reports that scientists are looking into that very real possibility.

• The Washington Post looks at how restaurants are reinventing themselves to survive the pandemic. Restaurant critic Tom Sietsema writes: “At least in Washington, at least this season, more restaurants seem to be opening than closing, and unlike in the spring, when I penned a tear-streaked mash note to the industry I feel grateful to cover, fall feels ripe for a pulse check, even a dining guide to reflect on the smart ways the market has responded to the blow of a global crisis.

Facebook announced today it will stop running all political ads for about a week, after Election Day. It will also do this, per CNBC: “Additionally, Facebook on Wednesday announced that it will ‘remove calls for people to engage in poll watching when those calls use militarized language or suggest that the goal is to intimidate, exert control, or display power over election officials or voters.’” Baby steps …

• Gustavo Arellano, now a columnist for the Los Angeles Times, tells the story of Ivette Zamora Cruz, a Rancho Mirage resident who publishes a Spanish-language magazine, La Revista. When the Black Lives Matter protests took place in June, she decided she needed to take action—by dedicating the latest issue of her magazine to Black voices. Arellano writes: “She began to cold-call Black businesses with offers of free ads, and asked Black writers and photographers via Instagram to submit their work. The issue published in August with profiles of Black artists and activists, and a historical timeline of police violence against Black people in the United States.” It’s a fantastic story.

• Here’s another local story from the Los Angeles Times, and this one is rather disconcerting: “Joining the growing—and increasingly controversial—list of American art museums that have sold or are preparing to sell major paintings from their permanent collections, the Palm Springs Art Museum is finalizing discussions to bring Helen Frankenthaler’s monumental 1979 canvas ‘Carousel’ to market, according to multiple people with knowledge of the plan.” Also: Art critic Christopher Knight points out that this isn’t the first time Museum Director Louis Grachos has been involved with a controversial museum-art sale.

• And finally, Fat Bear Week has a winner. Get to know the portly pre-hibernation fella nicknamed 747.

That’s enough for today. Please help support this Daily Digest and the other work the Independent does by becoming a Supporter of the Independent; we really could use your support. Be safe—and thanks for reading!

Published in Daily Digest

What: The carne asada tacos

Where: Baja Springs, 1800 N. Sunrise Way, Palm Springs

How much: $1.69 separately; $8.99 combo plate (as shown)

Contact: 760-322-9988

Why: They’re packed with yummy meat.

Tacos … is there a more popular food in the United States today? When you have the best basketball player on the planet, LeBron James, making “Taco Tuesday” a social-media sensation—to the point where he actually tried to trademark the term, but the application was denied because the phrase is too ubiquitous—that says something.

Did you know, however, that tacos were not the first Mexican food to become popular in the United States? Friend of the Independent Gustavo Arellano, now a staff writer for the Los Angeles Times, literally wrote the book on the subject: Taco USA: How Mexican Food Conquered America. In 2012, he spoke with KCRW about how tacos became popular thanks largely to the food scene in Los Angeles—especially the birth of the taquito at Cielito Lindo on Olvera Street in 1934. This happened, however, well after chili became huge in San Antonio, and tamales were a craze in San Francisco.

While the Coachella Valley’s restaurant scene has its pluses and minuses, we’re blessed with a lot of good Mexican food—especially tacos. It’s often said that the best tacos can be found in unexpected, hole-in-the-wall places, and while this is not always correct, it is in the case of Baja Springs: This small market, tucked away on Sunrise Way just north of Vista Chino in Palm Springs, has been churning out great tacos (and other Mexican fare) for years—but I only recently discovered it when the place came up on a food-delivery app.

Pretty much every imaginable meat is stuffed into corn tortillas at Baja Springs, from chicken to fish to tripe to cabeza. While I haven’t been able to try all 12 of the tacos on offer, I can vouch for the fantastic carne asada tacos. They’re delicious—and only $1.69 each.

All hail the great taco!

Published in The Indy Endorsement

Last week, the Independent published the final ¡Ask a Mexican! column, as penned by my friend and colleague Gustavo Arellano.

I was shocked on Oct. 13 when I got the news that Arellano—a longtime OC Weekly scribe who had served as the paper’s editor and spokesperson for many years—had stepped down. He quit, he said, because he refused to lay off half of his staff, and the owner would not accept any of Arellano’s counter-proposals (one of which included cutting Gustavo’s own salary in half).

At first, I fully expected Gustavo’s column to continue on in some form, albeit with a different name than ¡Ask a Mexican!, because the OC Weekly owns the rights to the name. In fact, in the version of this column that ran in the November print edition, I said the column would probably continue, as that was what I’d been told. However, after we went to press, Gustavo let me know the column would indeed end; he explained the decision in the final column, which ran last week. While I understand the decision, it breaks my heart. It was a fantastic column—and the first “regular” feature to ever start running at CVIndependent.com, way back when we were in beta five-plus years ago.

As for Gustavo’s plight … this is how it often goes at newspapers these days. While I have no inside knowledge of the OC Weekly’s financials, I do know that many layoffs at newspapers over the last 15-plus years have happened not because the publications were losing money—but because profits weren’t high enough.

This fact is one of the reasons I decided to leave my job as the editor of the Tucson Weekly in 2012, and then start the Independent here. The then-owners of the Tucson Weekly, Wick Communications, treated both me and the newspaper very well during my decade-long tenure there—but I knew that wouldn’t last forever. Sure enough, a little more than a year after I departed, Wick sold the Tucson Weekly—and the paper has been subjected to serious budget cuts ever since.

As bleak as all of this sounds … there is reason for hope. Last weekend, a number of my colleagues gathered in Chicago for the annual Local Independent Online News Publishers (LION) Summit. (Unfortunately, I was unable to attend.)

LION is a vibrant and growing organization of mostly newer, mostly online local-news organizations across the country. Almost all of us “LIONs” are small, scrappy and hardworking. Oh, and one more thing: We’re innovating. We’re finding new ways to tell our communities’ stories. And we’re investing in our publications rather than making cuts to keep shareholders or wealthy owners happy.

Gustavo Arellano is a gifted, hustling hard-worker who will land on his feet, so I am not worried about him. I’m also upbeat about the future of journalism. However, I am saddened by the huge loss that Orange County will suffer as a result of the decline of its independent alternative newspaper, the OC Weekly.

As for that aforementioned November print edition: It’s our annual Pride Issue. It’s on newsstands throughout the Coachella Valley right now—and we will be at the Greater Palm Springs Pride Festival this coming weekend. Come say hi! Thanks for reading, as always, and don’t hesitate to contact me with comments or questions.

Published in Editor's Note

Dear Readers: Many of ustedes must be scratching your heads right now: “What happened to ¡Ask a Mexican!” You’re preguntando yourselves, “Who the hell is this cholo nerd where the Mexican logo used to be?”

It is I, gentle cabrones, your eternal Mexican: Gustavo Arellano, child of immigrants from Zacatecas, one of whom came to el Norte in 1969 in the trunk of a Chevy driven by a hippie chick from Huntington Beach. And I’m triste to say that this columna is coming to an end.

My day job during the life of ¡Ask a Mexican! was at OC Weekly, an alternative newspaper in Orange County, where I was born and raised. (Don’t believe The Real Housewives of Orange County: there’s a chingo of raza here.) I started as a staff writer, then became managing editor, then was editor for nearly six years until Oct. 13, when I resigned instead of laying off half my staff like the Weekly’s owner wanted me to. No me rajé, and I’ll never regret quitting my dream job, because I know I did the right thing.

With me leaving the Weekly, I also must leave behind ¡Ask a Mexican! See, I don’t own the trademark to the title, and I can’t pay muchos pesos for something that the Weekly’s owner (or the ones before him) should’ve given to me as a gift for 13 years of being the hardest-working Mexican this side of Beto Durán.

I thought about continuing under a different name (¡Ask a Pocho! ¡Query a Mexican! ¡Pregunta, Pendejo!) But then I realized I don’t have to continue the column anymore. See, I’ve been to el cerro. And I’ve seen the Promised Land of Aztlán.

It sure doesn’t seem like that at a time when millions of our friends and familia are at risk of deportation, when Donald Trump wants to build a border wall (Man, where’s Alex Lora when you need him?) and when gabachos keep mistaking Día de los Muertos for Halloween. But we’re now at a place where whip-smart humor is at the touch of a meme, and where our political and economic power continues to soar like voladores totonacos. We live in an era when everyone can be a defender of la raza against gabachos, whether said gabas assault us or try to claim Rick Bayless is great.

In other words, ¡Ask a Mexican! is no longer necessary, because Mexicans have won a war that began when Sir Francis Drake sunk the Spanish Armada. We’re here, y no nos vamos. We’re victims no longer; we’re actually chingonxs. And the sooner Mexicans realize this, the better we’ll be.

I’ll let others debate whether my attempt to fight racism with satire and stats was visionary or just vendido. I’ll still answer questions about Mexicans on The Tom Leykis Show on the last Wednesday of every month at 4 p.m. (tune in to blowmeuptom.com), because doing so keeps my mind Julio Cesar Chavez sharp and not Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. soft.

But in text, no más. I will let ¡Ask a Mexican! die, and let its passing join the pantheon of gabacho atrocities against Mexicans, like the U.S. stealing half of Mexico, or Rick Bayless.

I wish modern-day journalism allowed me more space, but it doesn’t, so my thanks must be brief. Gracias to friends, Marge, family, my chica; all the papers that carried my columna over the years; Santo Niño de Atocha; Will Swaim; Daniel Hernandez; David Kuhn; and so many more.

Nos vemos, gentle cabrones. Follow me on social media to see what I do next, and hook a compa up with bacanora! No se rajen against evil. Diga no a la piratería ¡Viva la Reconquista! Oh, and #fucktrump.

Email Gustavo at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.; be his fan on Facebook; follow him on Twitter @gustavoarellano; or follow him on Instagram @gustavo_arellano

Published in Ask a Mexican

Note: The Mexican has been deported from his job at his home paper, the OC Weekly, because he didn’t want to lay off half his staff, so we’re re-running a column from a few years ago.

Like any good Mexican, he'll return next week with some news. In the meanwhile, enjoy a bacanora for him, porfas!

Dear Mexican: I'm 39. My stepdad—who raised me—just died. This freed my mother to tell me (my stepdad always forbade it) that the man I thought was my biological father all this time is not. The man who IS my biological father is Mexican … totally (e.g. both of his parents were Mexican). He was married twice, and had seven kids (five with the first wife, two with the second) other than me. It appears I was conceived during his first marriage, as he remained married until his death from leukemia in 2008. He was a Hispanic leader in my metro area and even ran once for mayor.

What does finding out that I am half-Mexican mean for me? I don't have a meaningful relationship with the man I thought was my biological father. In fact, this news is quite a blessing to me. But I'm kind of paralyzed by it all. Any suggestions?

Brand-New Bewildered Beaner

Dear Half-Wab: Man, where’s Cristina Saralegui when I need her? The most important thing for you right now is to not blame the Mexican ethnicity of your dad for him having abandoned your mother and yourself—I hope and trust that you know pendejos exist in all cultures. I would also talk to your mother about why she held that information from you all your life, as I’m sure it’s upsetting. Was she ashamed she once shacked up with a Mexican, or was it an abusive relationship? Once you’re able to work out the personal part of your discovery—seriously, get at peace with yourself and your mami—then you can move on to the ethnic question.

The pregunta to then ponder is this: How does finding out you are part-Mexi feel? Are you ashamed? If so, make sure to tell others that your dad was “Spanish” and make sure to hide the truth from your children, just like your parents did from you. Are you proud of your newfound nopal en la frente? Then ease into your mexicanidad. If you have an English-language name with a Mexican equivalent, Hispanicize it—become a Juan instead of John, or a Rogelio instead of Roger. Wear a cinto piteado, but cover it up by not tucking in your shirt. Say “Latino” instead of “Hispanic,” as you currently do.

Finally, if you don’t care either way that you’re Mexican? Do what all other crypto-Mexicans do: Only become Mexican to get the secret house salsa at your local taqueria, or when the United States faces off against Mexico in soccer.

Dear Mexican: Why do Mexicans use the streets as a playground, their driveway as a futon and the ditch as a trashcan? I live across the street from 100 percent pure Mexicans who do all their entertaining on the street, making the vehicles drive around them. Is this something taught to them at birth, or is there a class given to them at the prepa (what they call high school)? I just have the need to know.

Vecino de Mexicanos

Dear Neighbor of Mexicans: Crap labor and crappier living conditions for immigrants in America waltz together like Astaire and Rogers—remember slaves and their shacks, Okie farm workers in California's Central Valley during the Great Depression, and the Jewish and Italian peons that stare balefully into Jacob Riis' camera in his monumental 1890 exposé of New York's tenement slums, How the Other Half Lives.

The immigrant high-density blues continues with Mexicans: According to The State of Housing for Hispanics in the United States, a 2005 study prepared by Carlos Vargas-Ramos of New York's Hunter College, 12 percent of Latinos live in overcrowded housing (defined as more than one person living in a room), compared to 2.4 percent of the general population. Add to that the fact that Latinos usually live in neighborhoods bereft of parks, and be lucky your Mexican vecinos play in the street and not on your lawn.

Better yet, be a good neighbor, and join the pachanga!

Ask the Mexican at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.; be his fan on Facebook; follow him on Twitter @gustavoarellano; or follow him on Instagram @gustavo_arellano!

Published in Ask a Mexican

Dear Mexican: I’m very bothered by the fact that football player/coach Tom Flores is not in the Hall of Fame.

I could go on and on as to why Mr. Flores should be in the Pro Football Hall of Fame, but I will provide you and your readers with only three incontrovertible facts. First, Tom Flores coached the Raiders for nine seasons and won two Super Bowls. John Madden coached the Raiders for 10 seasons and won one Super Bowl. (John Madden is in the Hall of Fame.) Next, Tom Flores is the only person to win a Super Bowl as a quarterback, an assistant coach and a head coach. Lastly, Tom made it from a small town in the San Joaquin Valley. He never had any alcohol, drug or womanizing problems. He is a role model for all people in our country.

My question for you is this: Let’s say that Tom Flores was not your Tío Tomás, but rather your Uncle Tom. Do you think that he would have already been voted into the NFL Hall of Fame? I have heard through the grapevine that there is occasionally a bias against Latino excellence. (I’m being sarcastic here.) I realize that the Tío Tomás/Uncle Tom line may be a bit controversial even for you. Feel free to change this as you wish. Here are some ideas. Let’s say that Tom Flores was African American, Asian or Caucasian. Let’s say that Tom Flores was not Mr. Flores, but Mr. Flowers. I like the original line better, but I am aware of the times in which we live. I’m looking forward to your response.

Raider/Nader/Vader Fan

Dear Pocho: Man, you were funny with your Tío Tomás/Uncle Tom line, but then you became unfunny when you tried to explain it, and then you became straight CHAVALA when you tried to take it back because you’re afraid of PC pendejos. Fuck them!

Your idiocies aside, it’s not racism that keeps Tom Flores out of the Hall of Fame; it’s his lack of bona fides. Sure, he won two Super Bowls in nine seasons—but George Seifert won two in six seasons with the San Francisco 49ers, and he’s not going in. The only other person besides Flores to win a Super Bowl as a player, assistant coach and head coach was Mike Ditka—but he got in as one of the greatest tight ends in history, not for his coaching career. And while Flores is an inspiring story, that means Brian Piccolo should be in—and he’s not going in.

Don’t get me wrong; it would be awesome to have Flores in the Hall, as he’d be just the third Latino in there after the half-Mexi Tom Fears and full Chicano (with bad rodillas) Anthony Muñoz. But Flores is a lost cause, just like his quarterback, Jim Plunkett, another Mexican who isn’t going into the Hall of Fame despite two Super Bowl victories. Unfair? Tell that to Peyton and Eli Manning.

Ask the Mexican at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.; be his fan on Facebook; follow him on Twitter @gustavoarellano; or follow him on Instagram @gustavo_arellano!

Published in Ask a Mexican

Dear Mexican: With all these NFL players kneeling for the national anthem, how do the Mexicans feel about this? Do they still resent the United States for robando their territory, or do they appreciate the U.S. and its oportunidades?

Jerry Juero Jones

Dear JJJ: Both—but none of those feelings have anything to do with how we feel about Colin Kaepernick and the movement he inspired.

Frankly, Mexicans LOVE those kneel-downs, because we’re all about inconvenient protests that make gabachos angry. Whether it’s undocumented students chaining themselves together while shielding their handcuffs with PVC pipe and laying down in busy intersections, or hundreds of thousands of us taking to the streets in 2006 to demand amnesty, or hundreds of our youth waving around the Mexican flag in the face of good liberals who beg them to wave the Stars and Stripes, Mexicans know the power of pissing off the powers that be. Sure, you’re going to be unpopular in the short run, and even turn off potential supporters, but it’s all about the long game. And the juego largo is to bring pride to your side—to let the world know you’re no longer content with being peons or house slaves, and to inspire others to be unafraid of your minority status.

Besides, Mexicans are a forgiving lot: All our sports stars have to do is win, and all is forgiven. Hell, gabachos are worse—what else explains all the fans who go see the Penn State Nittany Lions football squad? Or the continued popularity of R. Kelly?

Dear Mexican: Is there such a thing as “reverse racism” anymore? Or have you and other “minorities” gained enough clout, sympathy and numbers in this country to admit that it is just called blatant racism now? 

Pinche Gringo

Dear Gabacho: Donald Trump is president, and he’s killing Puerto Rico. Oh, and #fucktrump.

Dear Mexican: Why is that Mexicans put every cheap accessory from Pep Boys or Kragen on their trucks? I mean, the cars that they drive started the lowrider thing, and those are so cool—but the trucks look like a JC Whitney catalog gone crazy. There’s no style, rhyme or reason: Turbo stickers on a truck with a straight-six motor. Fiberglass fender flares of different colors with chrome edges added as an afterthought.

You know exactly what I am talking about. Not that I disapprove—to each their own on customizing … just wondering.

TC in South OC

Dear Gabacho: Don’t forget the bull stickers, or the bull huevos hanging from the rear, or the silhouette sticker of Chalino loading one of his guns, or—for our Central American hermanos—that sticker of a cherubic boy wearing baggy pants and a floppy backward baseball cap who is waving the flag of a particular country. To each their own on customizing, indeed.

But ain’t it funny how when gabachos do haphazard decorations on their vehicles, it’s called Kustom Kulture, and gets books and museum retrospectives—but when Mexicans do it, the cops pull them over? Typical gabacho hypocrisy. Besides, Rat Fink don’t got nada on Calvin pissing on “LA MIGRA,” cabrón.

Ask the Mexican at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.; be his fan on Facebook; follow him on Twitter @gustavoarellano; or follow him on Instagram @gustavo_arellano!

Published in Ask a Mexican

Dear Mexican: I love ethnic foods, and I always ask people of ethnic origins which local restaurants at which they like to eat. Whenever I ask a Mexican what Mexican restaurants they like best, the answer is always, “I don’t like the way any of them make their food.”

I live in Phoenix, which has a Mexican restaurant on every corner that is run by Mexicans. Don’t tell me that they all Americanize their food for us gabachas. What gives?

Fajita-less in Phoenix

Dear Gabacha: Phoenix and the cities around it have a great Mexican food scene, from the alta cocina fare at Barrio Café to the Globe-style buttered burritos at Casa Reynoso in Tempe to un chingo of Sonoran eateries with their fabulous caldo de queso, the greatest soup on Earth. But it’s never good enough for Mexicans. Oh, we’ll go out to eat at Mexican spots, but no one can cook like their mami or primos during a carne asada Sunday, and especially not in el Norte, because … well, because, OK?

Don’t question Mexicans! Such Mexican arrogance filters down to our soccer squad—and now you know why El Tri won’t ever get to even the semifinals of the FIFA World Cup until Cuauhtémoc himself becomes our forward. And I’m not talking about Blanco …

Dear Mexican: I moved to the United States 15 years ago from Mexico as a student, and now I am a full U.S. citizen with a great job. However, now that I’m married (to a Mexican who also came to the U.S. with a student visa), and we have a son born here, I’m aware of the challenges he will have to face in his life as a Mexican American. I would like to prepare myself and read all I can so I can help him develop without any traumas and complexes so he can be a happy individual.

Atento en Austin

Dear Attentive in Austin: N’ombre, you realize that EVERY kid born of Mexican parents in the United States comes out immediately fucked up in the caveza, right? Not only do the Americans consider him a perpetual potential wetback; the Mexican relatives will always ridicule how un-Mexican he is. He also gets marked with the psychological baggage of being from ni de aquí ni de allá (neither from here nor there) and having to live up that legendary quote in Selena by the Tex-Mex martyr’s fictional father: “We have to be more Mexican than the Mexicans and more American than the Americans, both at the same time! It’s exhausting!”

I mean, pioneering Mexican anthropologist Manuel Gamio was writing about this pathology back in 1930 when he introduced “pocho” to the world in his Mexican Immigration to the United States. So while you are a good papi to want to help him navigate los Estados Unidos as a Mexican American, know that it’ll be harder to get him to adulthood without any psychological baggage than it is to get Americans to give a shit about all the dead in Mexico’s drug wars caused by their love of heroin.

Dear Mexican: The other day, I was listening to the morning show on a popular Los Angeles rock station, and their caller contest was “worst smells,” or something along those lines. A caller referred to his involvement as a military “adviser” to some unnamed South American or Central American nation, and spoke of the horrible smells of the charred remains of Sandinistas, the jungle and napalm, post-U.S. air strike. The giddy DJs then reveled in the idea of smoldering Sandinistas as though they were a plate of sizzling-hot fajitas.

Seeing as the most popular slurs for Latinos involve food, is it safe to assume that most gabachos are really just closet Hannibal the Cannibals?

Gabachas Love to Eat Me

Dear Pocho: Nah, they’re It, shape-shifting according to our fears. Learn from the Losers, and ignore them—they ain’t nothing but payasos, anyway!

Ask the Mexican at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.; be his fan on Facebook; follow him on Twitter @gustavoarellano; or follow him on Instagram @gustavo_arellano!

Published in Ask a Mexican

Dear Mexican: I’m an Arizonan of the anti-SB 1070 ilk who has just adopted an Arizonan 5-year old boy who is obviously (visually anyway) of Mexican descent. I want to do right by my son where his heritage is concerned; I have my own ideas about what that means, but I value your opinion.

I’m enrolling him in a public elementary school that has a Spanish-language program (and hoping that the state Legislature doesn’t kill such things), and have a passing knowledge of some of the pertinent literature. (Among other things, I once produced a radio reading of Bless Me, Ultima for the local station for the blind.) I expect we are destined for difficulties from intrusive questions to downright racism in the future, so my immediate goal is to continue to grow my relationship with my son in such a way that he has no doubts that his family loves him unconditionally. Beyond that, though, I’d be interested in your ideas about what a gringo-raised Mexican child ought to be exposed to in order to have a healthy sense of self and a reasonably sophisticated acculturation.

Expatriate Ohioan

Dear Gabacho: This letter reminds me of Discovering Dominga, a wrenching 2003 documentary that appeared on PBS’s POV series and dealt with a Guatemalan girl named Dominga who was adopted by an Iowa family after she survived the massacre of her village (and family) by the Guatemalan military during the 1980s. Her adopted parents changed Dominga’s name to Denese and raised her to be a Midwestern girl; it worked mostly fine, until Denese became an adult and began researching her past, which tore her new life apart even as it healed her inside.

Discovering Dominga’s overarching question was whether full-scale assimilation was smart in the long run for everyone involved, and I agree. You’re at least off to a good start: You’re not negating your new hijo’s ethnicity, and you’re going to stand against the haters. But the best advice I can give you is to let your son grow into his ethnicity. If he wants to identify only with his gabacho parents, that’s OK; if he eventually wants to rename himself Xipe, that’s OK as well.

The important thing is to love him for who he is—and remind him to NEVER stay at a Motel 6.

Dear Mexican: At every family gathering, my Mexican family brings out a bottle of tequila to toast something. Indeed, my Mexican mother drank tequila until she was 77 years old.

My question is: What is it about tequila that brings families together?

Herradura Blanco for Me, Por Favor

Dear Gabacho: TEQUILA!

Dear Mexican: Why do Mexican men always tuck in their T-shirts? Do they believe this will clean up their dusty, sweaty, overworked appearance?

The Mick

Dear Mick: That, and any loose clothing at a blue-collar job is an accident waiting to happen. Any working man knows this; the fact that you don’t is just further proof of the decline of the gabacho male in los Estados, and why we need more Mexicans to Make American Men Great Again.

Ask the Mexican at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.; be his fan on Facebook; follow him on Twitter @gustavoarellano; or follow him on Instagram @gustavo_arellano!

Published in Ask a Mexican

Dear Mexican: I have a Chicana friend who comes from an upper-middle-class family, goes to a prestigious Ph.D. program, and has never had to take out student loans or work a real job—but she is constantly complaining about how “oppressed” she is.

Examples she gives are seemingly trivial things, such as not being called on in class, a professor being mean to her one time, and not feeling “emotionally safe.” She even said my questioning of her micro-aggression stories was itself a micro-aggression! I don’t know what to make of it—hanging out with her is hard, because I have to walk on eggshells constantly.

I know Chicanos and Chicanas who come from objectively worse circumstances and have had way harder lives than she has, yet they don’t act like the world is against them. Does she have a victim mentality?

Gringo Blanco

Dear Gabacho: We’ve got a name for people like that in Mexican Spanish—fresas. Strawberries, because they bruise easily. OK, so the Mexican doesn’t know the actual etymology of the snobbish meaning of fresa, but makes sense, ¿qué no?

Racism against Mexicans does indeed exist in doctoral programs nationwide, and we shouldn’t assume that raza in rarified worlds don’t feel discrimination’s sting. (Just ask George P. Bush.) But it seems like your pal, to use the old baseball phrase, was born on third base and goes through life thinking she hit un triple.

Tell her to work a day as a strawberry-picker to know what the hard life really is. That said, Mexicans who suffer real shit and don’t complain aren’t somehow better than llorones—we’re Mexicans in a racist society, after all, not Jesus pinche Christ. And even He cried on the cross.

Dear Mexican: I am currently incarcerated, and have a one-year subscription to a newspaper that carries your column. I am Chicano, and I’m a fan of your column. I just want to ask you a couple of serious questions, and I hope you can personally respond back.

I’ve been reading up on Mexican history, and I’m a little confused. Why did the Texas Revolution start in 1836 between Mexicans and Anglos? Secondly, how did the Battle of Texas lead to the Mexican-American War?

Pinto en La Pinta

Dear Homie in Prison: I usually don’t answer two preguntas in one shot, but I’ll make an exception for the homies in Chino. Besides, the answer is muy easy.

The Texas Revolution started because Americans hate Mexicans. And the Mexican-American War happened because Americans hate Mexicans. And now you know why Donald Trump rescinded DACA. Oh, and #fucktrump.

BUY THESE BOWTIES!

Enough negativity—let’s do an experiment! Now, more than ever, good Mexicans deserve our support.

An ¡Ask a Mexican! fan runs La Moustache, a Los Angeles company that does chingón bowties, but is agüitado that more raza aren’t buying his handcrafted, classy creations. So show him what’s up! Visit lamoustachebt.com, and place an order or 30. And this ain’t no payola—whenever the Mexican needs to wrap something around his neck for fresa parties, it’s always a cinto piteado tied in a Windsor knot.

Ask the Mexican at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.; be his fan on Facebook; follow him on Twitter @gustavoarellano; or follow him on Instagram @gustavo_arellano!

Published in Ask a Mexican

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