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Last updateFri, 16 Sep 2016 12pm

Dear Mexican: Why do a lot of Mexicans let their toddlers stay on the baby bottle longer than most kiddos?

I work at a surgery center that specializes in children’s dental surgery, and most of the patients are Mexican kids getting their teeth fixed from such scenarios. I’ve also personally known Mexican mothers whose children’s mouths were completely blinged out with dental work.

Any insight on why the Mexican bambinos stay on the bottle so long?

Wean ’Em Off

Dear Gabacho: You’re right about the problem—multiple studies have documented the Mexican propensity for their chicos to suffer from what’s scientifically known as early childhood caries (ECC), and colloquially known as baby-bottle tooth decay. The disease rots baby teeth, leading to many kids making rapper Riff Raff’s dientes seem as pearly white as a Pepsodent model.

UCLA student Sally Chu’s 2006 paper “Early Childhood Caries: Risk and Prevention in Underserved Populations,” published in the Journal of Young Investigators, found that “Hispanics have the highest rate of ECC in both developed and developing countries with an average prevalence of 13 percent to 29 percent, second only to Native Americans,” citing the seminal 2002 paper “Caries-Risk Factors for Hispanic Children Affected by Early Childhood Caries.” All studies cite poverty and a lack of education more than culture, so I guess you want me to make a psychosexual joke about how Mexicans overall are still attached to their mami’s chichis, leaving us perpetual infants. Well, you ain’t going to get it, so I’ll make it up with an insight equally as lame: Why do Mexicans like to drive lowriders? So they can cruise and pick strawberries at the same time … HA!

Dear Mexican: Why do so many cholos like the song “I’m Your Puppet” by James and Bobby Purify? Is there something about this song, or is it all oldies they like?

Aspiring Puppetteer

Dear gabacho: It ain’t just cholos who are down with oldies but goodies. Mexican Americans of all social classes have largely kept alive that particular music genre—the brown-eyed soul of Thee Midniters and Sunny and the Sunliners, as well as long-forgotten R&B artists such as the Penguins and Billy Stewart who aren’t crazy enough for hipsters to worship à la Esquerita and the Five Du-Tones, but are still too threatening to oldies fans whose idea of soul is the Crew Cuts doing “Sh-Boom.” Oldies but goodies speak to the softer side of machismo—match up “The Town I Live In” with “Canción Mixteca,” and you’ll find they’re one and the mismo.

But rather than me trying to explain further to gabachos why Mexicans are so into oldies, let’s turn to the man who devoted his life to keeping the genre alive: legendary DJ Art Laboe!

“I think it has to do with the lyrics,” Laboe told the Mexican, referring to “I’m Your Puppet.” “If you listen to the song, it says, ‘I’ll do funny things if you want me to / I’m your puppet,’ so (that) means … I love you so much, I’ll do whatever you say. …. I believe that is why (guys) like that song.

“It’s actually in the lyrics of the song,” Laboe continued. “‘I’ll do anything / I’m just a puppet, and you hold my string / I’m your puppet.’ Guys often have trouble revealing their feelings, and this song lets them do that. Through the years, ‘I’m Your Puppet’ has been one of our most requested songs on The Art Laboe Connection,” which airs Monday through Friday, from 7 p.m. to midnight, as well as Sunday at 6 p.m. Check ArtLaboe.com for his stations.

WOW … Art Laboe in ¡Ask a Mexican! This column has finally hit its zenith—and since it’s all downhill from here, Art, I’d like to dedicate “The Agony and the Ecstasy” to my sad girl … journalism.

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: Do Mexicans know that if at least one of their grandparents was born in Spain, they can immigrate immediately not just to Spain, but any other country in the European Union? I know this is not an option for a lot of Mexicans, but it certainly seems like a better one for those who have the “Spanish” option.

Spain is a First World country with free health care and seven-hour work days—and quite simply, Spanish people seem to share much more in common with Mexicans.

Don’t get me wrong: I think Mexicans are a great thing for America, and that anyone who wants to live here should be able to, yet I am also a realist. I only bring this up because, well, it just seems like it might be an easier option for those grandchildren who fled Spain to come to Mexico during the times of Franco. It’s also a hell of a lot cheaper than a coyote. Learning to say vosotros and vos instead of ustedes and tu, and using joder instead of chingar seems a small price to pay. Then again, “Jodo tu mama” just doesn’t have the same ring …

Genuinely Concerned Gabacho Living in Mexico

Dear Gabacho: Don’t just limit your goodwill to Spanish refugees from the Franco regime. Last year, the Spanish government said anyone who could prove their ancestors were Sephardic Jews cast out during the Inquisition could apply for Spanish citizenship. (Conveniently left out, of course, were descendants of the Moors because, you know, Muslims.)

Becoming a member of the European Union might sound appealing to gabachos looking to backpack for a year, but a mass migration to Al-Andalus ain’t happening for Mexicans: They only give a shit about Spain when they win the FIFA World Cup, or a Mexican soccer player gets to ride the bench for Real Madrid or FC Barcelona.

Why is it that Mexicans call people from the United States norteamericanos instead of unidenses? Don’t they know that Mexico and Canada are also in North America?

El Habrano

Dear Wab: Because Mexicans are also U.S.-ers—the full name of their country in habla is Estados Unidos Mexicanos. And while mexicanos know that Canada—and Mexico, for that matter—are in North America, we didn’t discover the Great Gabacho North until 1994, once the North American Free Trade Agreement let us know of another country to eventually conquer.

PUBLIC HEALTH ANNOUNCEMENT

Dr. Ron Romero, a dentist from Santa Fe, N.M., let the Mexican know at the annual Servicios de la Raza gala in Denver that not only did dentists appreciate me discussing their profession in February (in the column answering why so many Mexican children have silver teeth); he also asked if I can pass along the following public health announcement.

He says that childhood caries (the disease that makes babies teeth rot and is colloquially known as baby bottle tooth decay) is a communicable disease, and that it can be transmitted by the simple act of feeding each other from the same spoon or drinking from the same glass. Doc Ron also wants ustedes to know that childhood caries are easily preventable—just go to your local dentist, and they’ll apply a simple wash that’ll put you in the clear for a while.

Consider your request done, Dr. Romero—and think you can fit a diamond in my front teeth à la Lenny on The Simpsons?

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: Do Mexicans sling racial slurs at each other or casually refer to each other as “wabs,” similar to the way blacks call each other “nigger?”

What’s your take on the whole “nigger” thing, anyway?

Kingfish the Cabrón

Dear Blackfaced Wab: What do I think of “nigger”? Um, it’s bad?

I think you mean que pienso of “nigga,” which some etymologists and the Washington Post argue means something completely different: It’s an appropriated term when gabachos and Mexicans use it among each other, and a term of endearment when African Americans use it to describe ellos mismos.

There’s no real comparison in Mexican Spanish, except maybe paisa and its regional synonyms (wab in Orange County, cheddar in Denver, brazer in Chicago and so many more—consult a May 2010 edition of this columna for a comprehensive list of slurs that Mexicans in el Norte use against each other).

The big difference is that such jabs use class instead of race; Mexicans use racial terms to describe family members (the obsession by tías and parents to classify their progeny as güero, moreno or—my favorite—prieto azabache, “jet black,” a term my mami endearingly used to describe the Mexican’s younger brother) and strangers.

While we’re on the subject of “nigger,” raza: Can we finally admit to America that the term Mexicans use to deride blacks (mayate) is far nastier than the N-word, because it not only means “beetle,” but also “homosexual”? The more you know about Mexicans, America …

Why do a lot of Mexicans let their toddlers stay on the baby bottle longer than most kiddos? I work at a surgery center that specializes in children’s dental surgery, and most of the patients are Mexican kids getting their teeth fixed from such scenarios. I've also personally known Mexican mothers whose children’s mouths were completely blinged out with dental work.

Any insight on why the Mexican bambinos stay on the bottle so long?

Wean ’Em Off

Dear Gabacho: You’re right about the problem—multiple studies have documented the Mexican propensity for their chicos to suffer from what’s scientifically known as early childhood caries (ECC) and colloquially known as baby-bottle tooth decay. The disease rots baby teeth, leading to so many kids making rapper Riff Raff’s dientes seem as pearly white as a Pepsodent model.

UCLA student Sally Chu’s 2006 “Early Childhood Caries: Risk and Prevention in Underserved Populations” in the Journal of Young Investigators found that “Hispanics have the highest rate of ECC in both developed and developing countries with an average prevalence of 13 percent to 29 percent, second only to Native American,” citing the seminal 2002 paper “Caries-Risk Factors for Hispanic Children Affected by Early Childhood Caries.” All studies cite poverty and lack of education more than culture, so I guess you want me to make a psychosexual joke about how Mexicans overall are still attached to their mami’s chichis, leaving us perpetual infants. Well, you ain’t going to get it, so I’ll make it up with an insight as equally lame: Why do Mexicans like to drive lowriders? So they can cruise and pick strawberries at the same time … HA!

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