Ask a Mexican: My Mexican Boyfriend Broke Up With Me Because of His Immigration Status; How Do I Deal?March 08 2017
Dear Mexican: A Mexican man recently broke up with me. We had great sex but a somewhat distant relationship. Anyway, the reason he left me was his immigration status. He says he can’t “be with me mentally,” because he’s somewhere else mentally—not knowing where he might be living in the next days and months is really bothering him. There is also the fact that he can’t find work now because of E-File.
I’m trying to find closure. It’s only been a few days since he left me, but I’m struggling with finding peace in myself. My friends say things like, “You’re better off without him,” and, “Things happen for a reason.” I miss him, miss the great sex (adventurous, great oral, got very close to anal) and most of all, I miss the idea of him. He’s liberal politically, helps his family here and in Mexico, is a good person, helps others and is very organic. I forgot to mention he has beautiful long hair and is “como un tren,” which means he’s solid like a football player and made me melt when I touched his “guns.”
Please help me deal.
La Heina No More
Dear Ya No The Chick: Man, you know Trump is destroying lives when Mexicans can’t even have sex with gabachas anymore without deportation on their mind. (Quick thought, gents: Think of 45’s blobbish physique to hold out just a bit more.)
It seems like the two of you had a great relationship outside of el sexo, and he’s obviously concerned about his livelihood and those of his fellow undocumented friends and family, so don’t take it personally. The most important thing right now is for you to be there for him, even if he’s unavailable physically. Protest whenever the inevitable migra raids inflict terror on the barrios in your city. Bombard your congressman and senators, demanding they oppose Trump’s wall of shame. Donate to nonprofits designed to help out people like your hombre.
Remember: The most important body part of his to have right now is his back. Oh, and #fucktrump.
Dear Mexican: This past Thanksgiving weekend for me was a bit surreal. I was born and raised here in the beautiful city of Nuestra Señora de Los Angeles and decided to visit my mother in Arkansas, where she recently moved with her new husband. (Her husband is from the state of Guerrero!) Before my boyfriend (who is white) and I arrived, my mother told me that they (her husband’s family and friends) were going to kill a goat in honor of me and my boyfriend’s arrival, and have a huge fiesta on Saturday. I thought she was pulling my leg.
Thursday, we had the traditional turkey; come Friday evening, there was a weird stench coming from the back yard of the house. My boyfriend and I noticed that my mom’s husband and his friends were preparing the goat. Mind you, my boyfriend and I only eat three meats in our diet—chicken, beef and a little bit of pork. Someone told me that this tradition happens in many places in the world, and the type of animal they kill in your honor depends how important you are.
So, do Mexicans really do this, or am I just super-special with my family?
Turning Vegetariana Very Soon
Dear Gabacha: I have always maintained that only the world’s superior cultures go crazy for goat. That means that the GOATs of the world are Jamaicans, Vietnamese, Koreans, Pakistanis and, of course, Mexicans.
If your ’billy mom is now with a guy who’s immersing her in the art of cabrito, consider yourself blessed. That he and his compas slaughtered a goat in your name is nothing but respect.
“Weird stench”? Watch your manners—and be glad they didn’t make you a taco bowl.
Dear Mexican: I work at a Mexican restaurant where the majority of the workers are, you guessed it, Mexican. I hear the word cabrón all the time, but each time I ask what it means, no one has a definitive answer. I’d like to think that they’re not bullshitting me, and that it doesn’t exactly translate well.
Is it really that hard to explain, or are they just making fun of my whiteness? Help a güero out.
Dear Gabacho: There is a literal definition to cabrón—”male goat.” But even the Real Academia Española doesn’t care much for that that meaning, relegating the ruminant to the sixth slot in the word’s dictionary listing. Above that definition: “said of a person, of an animal, or of a thing: That does bad things or is annoying,” “said of a man: That he suffers from his wife’s infidelity, and especially if he consents,” and more. Mexicans get the fifth tense—”Said of a person: of bad character”—but, as usual, Castilians don’t know shit about Mexicans.
You don’t want to call a stranger in Mexico a cabrón, because it means “asshole” in that context. But among friends, cabrón is used as a form of respect (“Él es cabrón”—he’s a badass) and as a meme (go find the one of an old paisa in a tejana smoking with the legend “No pos … ta cabrón,” which chipsters use when they’re wowed by something).
If your Mexican co-workers call you that, take it as a form of respect—at least they’re not calling you “Trump,” amiright?
Dear Mexican: I was wondering why no one really talks about Mater Dei High School fucking up Santa Ana for all the Mexicans. I mean, we can’t cruise anymore?
I went to high school there, and now I’m at Columbia University. While I was at Mater Dei, no one, including the lucky Chicano students from the neighborhood who went there, made a fuss about expansion and gentrification—not only around that nasty sore thumb of a campus, but around Santa Ana’s downtown, too. I mean, I guess I’m as guilty as the next mexicano. I lived most of my life a block from Memorial Park. Here at Columbia, Harlem residents are doing something, and some student “allies” are helping out.
Seriously, güey: Why don’t Mexicans make more noise about their dying, gentrifying community?
Dear Pocha: For my non-Orange County readers: Mater Dei is the largest Catholic high school west of the Mississippi, an athletic powerhouse that also was one of the largest pedophile priest-and-coach factories in the nation, a fact alumni always try to forget. (I don’t, since its legendary boys basketball coach, Gary McKnight, once threatened to sue me because he didn’t like my coverage of his dealings with an assistant who molested students.) Mater Dei is in Santa Ana (pronounced and spelled “SanTana” by the natives), a muy-Mexican city that has seen mucho gentrification over the past decade. Chicano activists across the country are fighting gentrification in their barrios (shout-out to Defend Boyle Heights!), but let’s turn this on the gentrifiers.
Gentrifiers: where y’all at in the fight against deportations? You’ve only had, like, 25 years to join, but I guess ustedes would rather toast your good life with another Modern Times Oneida—CHAVALAS!!!
Dear Mexican: I asked my dad why the Mexican illegals don’t just apply for citizenship instead of coming here illegally, and he told me that they are not able to apply for citizenship. Is this true?
Wondering in Wenatchee
Dear Gabacho: They ain’t “illegals,” son: They’re “immigrants.”
But even before Donald Trump became president, the citizenship path for any Mexican who came here without the prior approval of the American government, or overstayed a visa, was as rocky as the Republican Party’s hope of attracting any Mexican voters. Asylum and “temporary protected status” requests are impossible, since Americans think despotic governments and natural disasters only happen to whites, and the occasional Jew. Marriage to a citizen used to be easy, but Sept. 11 fucked that up forever. (Thanks, Osama!) The most surefire way to get legal was to join the military, because rich and middle-class gabachos always love poor morenos dying for the right for them to whine, but even that didn’t stop the Obama administration from deporting veterans who committed crimes but were not yet citizens.
Now, with Trump as president, the only hope for undocumented Mexicans to get amnesty is for some poblano to sneak into Trump Tower and slip some pápalo into his taco bowl; the resultant shock will allow the ghost of Zapata to take over Trump’s mind. A zacatecano can dream, ¿qué no?
Dear Mexican: Some time back, I watched a race on TV that took place in Long Beach. One of the interesting things in the race was a team of Mexican drivers (Adrian Fernández and Luís Diaz) driving an Acura race car. As a fan of worldwide racing like the American Le Mans Series, I think it’s badass when Mexicans are racing with the best of ’em. I know Mexico has a good history of racing against other drivers in America and the world, but I want readers to know, too.
How much can you tell about Mexico’s race car drivers and race tracks? Do you think this will inspire a Mexican American out here to start learning how to race?
Dear Gabacho: Mexicans have always had a need for speed, whether it’s quarter horse racing, the caballos of corridos and the Mexican Revolution, Grand Theft Auto V, the entire Fast and Furious franchise, or classic films like El Automovil Gris (The Grey Automobile) or La Camioneta Gris (The Gray Truck—sorry, why Mexicans love gray in their getaway cars might be the only pregunta about Mexican anything that I can’t answer).
Race car series are a trickier affair: Sí, Mexicans like Fernández and Daniel Suárez (who won last year’s NASCAR Xfinity Series—the first foreigner to win a title in the official sport of good ol’ chicos) have competed and done well in racing worldwide—indeed, Suárez is scheduled to compete in this weekend’s Daytona 500. But the sport is only within the grasp of the wealthiest of Mexicans due to its exorbitant yet understandable costs.
Then again, Mexicans love a winner and love to spend money on their ranflas; if Suárez starts Reconquista-ing NASCAR, let’s hope he inspires Mexicans in the United States who like street racing to get their NOS-fueled Hondas off Interstate 5 and away from all the innocent people they kill.
Ask a Mexican: Wouldn't the People in Some Parts of Mexico Want Their States to Become Part of the U.S.?February 15 2017
Dear Mexican: My parents were born in Mexico. I was born in Dallas, Texas. This makes me a first-generation American, right?
So, if my best friend’s dad was born in Mexico, and her mother is a Chicana born in the United States, does this make her a first-generation American or a second-generation American?
Dear Pocha: In the eyes of the current attorney general, both you and your friend are Mexicans. ¡Trucha!
Dear Mexican: When do you think Baja California and other locations in the madre-land with lots of American expatriates will become U.S. territories, or better yet, states? I would be very eager to live in a beautiful coastal area surrounded by people with nice cars and the world’s most powerful military to back them up. I think the Mexicans would, too.
Dear Gabacho: Be careful what you wish for. If the United States and Mexico ever went to war, snowbirds like yourself would be the first people targeted by Mexicans. Don’t believe me? Ask the Chinese during the Mexican Revolution. You’d better make plans to move to Costa Rica, Nicaragua or whatever other Latin American country gabacho retirees like to set up colonies in nowadays where they refuse to learn Spanish besides “gringo,” “cerveza” and “Soy americano.”
Dear Mexican: Why do Mexican women, who are basically good drivers, turn into morons when they turn into the Walmart parking lot?
Also, here in New Mexico, you get the guys who sneer at you, pull into traffic in front of you at the last possible second, and then slow down to 15 miles an hour. I’ve never seen this anywhere else. Are they Mexicans or just those “I am Espanish!” assholes showing off their inferiority complex?
Dear Pocho: With all due respect, EVERYONE turns into a moron at the Walmart parking lot—hell, at Walmart, period. However, I surprised while researching your pregunta when I learned how relatively few Mexis shop there.
A 2014 study by Kantar Retail found only about 10 percent of Walmart shoppers were Latinos (read: mostly Mexican), with raza preferring Dollar General and Family Dollar stores, by far. I guess it makes sense: Mexicans prefer swap meets and yard sales when looking for low prices.
But the stats are incomplete: In a graphic, Kantar excluded New Mexico. They gave no reason, but I know the answer, which also answers your queja about slow-driving men: The Land of Enchantment is where all preconceived notions about Mexicans go to claim they’re pure-blooded Spaniards going back to Cabeza de Vaca—but definitely not related to Estevanico!
Dear Mexican: What is the deal with Mexicans and their fear of U.S. banks? A recent home invasion netted robbers $2,000 that the Mexicans who lived there were using for their next house payment. When I mentioned this to a Mexicana friend, she told me she was once robbed of the $15,000 she was keeping at her apartment for a house payment. Doesn’t word reach the wabs from their relatives in El Norte that U.S. bank accounts are insured to $100,000?
Huero in the Barrio
Dear Gabacho: Ask Washington Mutual.
Dear Mexican: When Americans retake California from you low-IQ Mexicans, should we call it the Reconquista? Why don’t Mexicans (and blacks, for that matter) understand that when they move into a white neighborhood because it is such a nice place to live, they will turn it into a bad place by their presence? Why don’t Mexicans understand we don’t need or want them, and they will be replaced by automation? Would Mexicans welcome a U.S. invasion by God-Emperor Trump in order to replace their corrupt elite with decent right-wing Americans, who will rule competently? Where will Mexicans go when Diversity+Proximity=War becomes true? Mexico doesn’t seem to want them, either.
Your New Master, Same as Your Old Master
Dear Gabacho: I talked to one of your kind last month for about a half-hour over the phone, until his Bolivian wife told him to hang up. I told him the biggest issue I had about anti-Mexican arguments—you know, besides the blatant racism—is the lack of sources for the right’s pathetic claims. Same with you: Just ’cause you and Steve Bannon say something is true doesn’t make it so.
And here you come proving my pinche point. A 2013 Reason article tracked IQs among immigrants of previous generations and concluded “modern Hispanic immigrants seem to be no stupider than the immigrant ancestors of other Americans.” Yay! (And before you trot out stats insisting that the IQs of Mexican Americans don’t increase with generations—ask them if they’ve tracked the same among poor gabas in the South.)
Mexicans turning gabachos neighborhoods bad? Read USC professor Jody Agius Vallejo’s magisterial Barrios to Burbs: The Making of the Mexican American Middle Class, which debunks both Know Nothing AND yaktists who say Mexicans must remain perpetual peons across generations. Automation? Ask the Rust Belt how robots have treated gabachos. Benevolent conservative rulers? Ask the Rust Belt how right-wing Americans have treated gabachos.
And as for that last neo-Nazi dog whistle—here’s where the stupidity and insecurity of your movement gets exposed at its worst. The United States is the greatest country on Earth because multitudes of immigrants like Jews, Italians, Russians, Irish, Asians Mexicans and, sure, even some “whites” came to make the U.S. great. The only people who freak out about diversity are gabachos who keep fearing that Mexicans will ISIS them once we’re the majority, and who don’t bother to realize most Mexicans would rather see the Oakland Raiders move to Los Angeles than kill whitey (except Roger Goodell and Tom Brady).
You know the one thing Mexicans truly don’t like about gabachos? Their propensity for excuses and whining like CHAVALAS.
Dear Mexican: I’m an American and have a Mexican boyfriend of one year. He doesn’t seem to want his family to know anything about our relationship. I do know he doesn’t have another girlfriend, as I visited him in Mexico while he was there. I saw his house and his family, but he explained me as a person who works with him. It’s true that I work with him, but there is so much more to the story that he doesn’t want to share.
Is he a private person, or am I his dirty little secret?
Gone Gabacha Girl
Dear Gabacha: When it comes to gabachos, Mexican men have a hard-set rule before they introduce them to the fam: two years, or two kids. The choice is yours!
Dear Mexican: I’m a wetback myself; actually, in the eyes of a gringo, we are all wetbacks.
I’m sick and tired of the political caca about illegal immigration. The gringo government knows and very well understands the pluses and minuses of our vatos’ economic effect to the U.S. economy. The ones who don’t get it are the blind people who don’t like our drunk culos.
It seems that a lot of people e-mail you about “Mexicans coming over here ruining our system,” or, “They’re putting a burden on our healthcare,” and a whole host of other stuff are like that. Then they follow up with some (pardon my language) stupid, dumb shit like, “The wall will keep them out.” It seems to me that they really don’t understand the real problem (or solution) here.
Peeved in Plano
Dear Pocho: Ya think? As I’ve been saying in this columna for more than a decade, the only thing that will stop Mexican immigration to this country is a fundamental economic change for both sides of la frontera: the end of the free economy in el Norte, and the end of crony socialism in Mexico.
Trump and his Trumpbros know this but don’t dare attack either system, because they’re all in the same swamp—that’s why we’re now getting the wall, which will prove as effective in stopping Mexicans in coming over as a tissue paper is in stopping the flow of the Rio Grande.
But you know what? Let Trump build his wall. It’s going to fail and embarrass him. And even if it succeeds, it’ll create a revolution in Mexico, which means millions of refugees will easily tear down that wall and settle in Aztlán once and for all.
Be careful what you wish for, Trumpbros: It just might marry your daughter.
Dear Mexican: Quisiera saber si las Americas eran gluten free before 1492. No soy foodie; solo un campesino/cocinero curioso.
Viva El Corn
Dear Paisa: You want to know whether the Americas were gluten-free before 1492, and the answer is ahuevo.
Wheat came—along with beef, pork and pestilence—with the wasichus; before that, Mexicans mostly ate fruit, vegetables and whatever game meat they caught, something that most gabachos and even Mexicans don’t realize as they scarf down a carnitas burrito washed down with Bohemia. (What: You thought that lager was named after Cuauhtémoc’s son?) That’s why I’m all for gluten-free hipsters and Mexicans alike going beyond what they consider “Mexican” food and embracing an all-raza diet of nopales, frijoles, squash, corn, purslane and so much more.
And lest the primos think anyone who wants to forsake chicharrones and chorizo in favor of a vegetarian lifestyle is a Prius-driving chavala, get yourself a copy of Decolonize Your Diet: Mexican-American Plant-Based Recipes for Health and Healing. Written by professors Luz Calvo and Catrióna Rueda Esquibel after Profe Calvo was diagnosed with breast cancer, it’s part cookbook, part history, and a magnificent toma, güey to any gabacho who thinks Mexican food’s default setting is Montezuma’s Revenge.
Dear Mexican: Recently at the local Northgate market, I saw a man wearing a T-shirt that said “MEXICAN” followed by a clarification: “NOT Latino: Latinos are Anglo Europeans from Italy. NOT Hispanic: Hispanics are Anglo Europeans from Spain.”
I may be crazy, I’m pretty sure the words for those two descriptions are “Italian” and “Spanish.” Do I need to start telling my family members that we are actually of Latino descent? What’s the proper term so I don’t refer to all such people as “Mexicans” like an asshole?
Dear Gabacho: Don’t pay attention to that T-shirt; it’s the mindless droppings of a group of yaktivists who long ago declared your beloved Mexican the biggest vendido in Aztlán, beating even Carlos Menstealia and Paul Rodriguez.
Mexicans are Latinos in the way Americans are North American: an identity of convenience, not a matter of the corazón. The only time Mexicans use “Latino,” like Americans with “North Americans,” is when trying to group themselves with other people based on perceived shared traits: language for Mexicans, countries involved in the Monroe Doctrine for Americans. Other than that, “Latino” and “Hispanic” are labels with about as much use in the daily lives of Mexicans as condoms.
Dear Mexican: In the 1820s, the Anglos were coming to Texas (which at the time was under Mexico’s control) for the rich farmland. When doing so, they violated the empresario land system, and brought slaves despite Mexico’s outlawing of it.
So my question is: Do you think the current immigration issue is simply a matter of, “What goes around, comes around?”
A Curious Anglo History Teacher
Dear Gabacho: More like, “Agua que no has de beber, déjala corer,” which translates as, “Water that you shouldn’t drink, let it stream by.” In other words, gabachos should’ve never drunk from the fountain of Manifest Destiny or cheap Mexican labor, because now they’re faced with either total Reconquista, or a collapse in their standard of living once cheap Mexican labor and imports goes adios.
This brings to mind another aphorism: Be careful what you wish for, because it just might park its car on its front lawn …
Dear Mexican: My girlfriend and I have had a standing argument about what some of my relatives call me. My cousins’ children call me “tío,” and I say I’m their uncle. My girl argues that they are really my second cousins, and I’m really their cousin, too. I can see her point, but she’s a gabacha and doesn’t understand that they refer to me as their tío out of respect for being older. All our white friends agree with her, but all our Mexican friends agree with me.
So who’s right?
El Tío Primo
Dear Cousin Uncle: Que chingada do gabachos know besides how to despoil the environment and kill indigenous folks?
But they’re technically correct on this: According to gabacho conventions, the children of your first cousins are called second cousins, while your children and them are first cousins once removed, whatever the hell that means.
I still say gabachos should be like Mexicans on this one: Even though the technical term for a first cousin is primo hermano, we usually use that to refer to any second cousin or third cousin thrice removed—basically anyone and everyone younger than us in our family.
Anyone older? tío. Anyone evil? Trump.
Dear Mexican: I was wondering if you could shed some light on the debate on whether 29 percent of Mexicans/Hispanic voters really voted for Trump, or whether it was much less, like other polls show.
The Poll y Voces
Dear Pocho: Exit polls are like the PRI: full of shit, full of money and incredibly pendejo yet dangerous. But I’ve been mucho amused by Latino organizations, political scientists and all Trump-haters attacking exit polls that showed nearly a third of Latinos going for Cheeto Dick. Instead, they’ve pushed their numbers, which unsurprisingly show raza voting for Hillary Clinton in overwhelming numbers against Donald Trump.
It really doesn’t matter: The point is that not enough of us went out to vote against Trump, and more than a few Mexicans voted for him for reasons I’ve stated in this columna: We like strongmen; the more macho the better.
Even more importantly, a lot of Mexicans didn’t vote for Hillary for reasons ranging from her being a mujer to her pathetic Hispandering to her being a Clinton to her uninspiring platform to her being the worst lesser-of-two-evils since the days music fans had to pick between Thalia and Paulina Rubio. Latino yacktivists need to acknowledge we’re not all knee-jerk libs, and that’s OK.
Oh, and #fucktrump.
Dear Mexican: I wrestled in high school (badly), and have always had a love-hate relationship with professional wrestling. On the one hand, I love the sport, but I hate what they have done to it with all the scripted outcomes and over-the-top clown-show antics. That said, the wrestlers do turn in some amazing performances, and make real sacrifices of their bodies (not to mention their personal lives, like any type of performing entertainer).
Luchadores, however, are sheer brilliance. While they have their share of hamming it up, their performances are like a testosterone-fueled ballet. Even if you don’t find the whole mascara culture fun (Hey, who doesn’t want to be a superhero?), it’s impossible to ignore the amazing, high-flying gymnastics these guys put on. While I am happy that Rey Mysterio found popularity in the U.S., I am concerned that the WWE may screw up a good thing with the popularity of the rudos.
Can you help?
Viva Lucha Libre!
Dear Gabacho: I gotta admit: I haven’t religiously followed pro wrestling since the time Stone Cold Steve Austin made Kurt Angle wear a tiny tejana. So I asked my cousin, who said that WWE SmackDown Live had a recent storyline in its women’s division with a masked wrestler going by La Luchadora sneaking into matches to raise desmadre. That’s not surprising, given lucha libre masks are now a given at nearly every sporting event in the United States thanks to Nacho Libre and Rey Mysterio, who is past my time but is apparently a chingón of some sorts.
Cultural appropriation? Nah, gabachos just trying to hide their feo faces.
Dear Mexican: Why is Mexican Spanish so maligned by the rest of the Hispanic world (even Dominicans!)? It doesn’t make any sense to me, but am I making a mistake in learning Mexican-accented Spanish?
No Puedo Usar Accentos
Dear I Can’t Use Accents: Have you ever talked to Colombians? At some point, they inevitably say that their Spanish is the best in the world, that someone from the Real Academia Española said it was so, and therefore, it’s true. While I like Colombians (they’re as happy and drunk and angry as us Mexicans, and they gave the world cumbia), that’s an urban legend as preposterous as the one that maintains the husband of a jealous lover murdered Javier Solís.
It’s true that the rest of Latin America trashes Mexican Spanish for supposedly being lower-class than other Spanish varieties, but EVERYONE trashes everyone’s Spanish. Argentine Spanish gets mocked for being wannabe Italian; Cuban and Puerto Rican Spanish gets grilled for being lightning-fast garble. Peruvian Spanish is supposedly too soft-spoken; Central American Spanish is considered backwater for their continued use of voseo (the second person singular pronoun vos).
Even Mexicans make fun of each other’s Spanish. Guadalajara natives are notorious for saying “O, sea” (the fresa version of “I mean, like”); rural folks are ridiculed as sing-song chúntaros. Mexico City is so large that two Spanishes are ascribed to it: the matter-of-fact tone of capitalinos (the rich) and the hilariously vulgar babadas of the chilangos (the poor). And all Latin Americans trash indigenous folks for not even knowing Spanish, period.
So learn Mexican Spanish—that’s the one the majority of Latinos in the U.S. speak, anyway. And my vote for the best Español? Chilean Spanish, cachai?
Dear Mexican: A dear friend of ours has married a Mexican man, who is now our dear friend. They have invited us to his sister’s wedding in Mexico.
By North American standards, we barely know her. We would love to go, but we want to be sure that it is appropriate. What is expected of an acquaintance in this circumstance?
Vivacious for Vallarta
Dear Gabacho: You do realize Mexico is part of North America, right? Let’s start with knowing basic geographical facts about the host country before visiting it. It’s pendeja gabachas like you who make hotel workers continue to shove toothbrushes up their culos, then take pictures of that ass affront with the smartphone you left in your room while you’re getting drunk at the pool bar from your fifth Adios Mother Fucker.
Dear Mexican: I was wondering: What the origin is of so many Mexican-food restaurants having the word “Agave” in it?
#3 Combo, Extra Sour Cream
Dear Gabacho: “So many”? Betcha more Mexican restaurants get named for the owner’s hometown/home state, or tacos, or they use a -berto’s suffix than there are restaurants using “Agave.” But the word offers a fascinating insight into the history of Mexican-food restaurant aesthetics.
They started getting named after the mother plant of tequila back in the 1980s, during the Southwestern cuisine craze. Back then, chefs overloaded on Southwestern signifiers—agave paintings and silhouettes of howling coyotes and Kokopelli, mostly—to advertise their “authenticity,” much like modern-day taquerías bump Vicente Fernández on the jukebox, or mariscos spots employ waitress who follow the gospel of #chichischrist and #nalgamedios.
Dear Mexican: What your thoughts are on the use of Lotería cards as decorative elements, specifically when used by people without Mexican heritage?
Lotería cards are beautiful and interesting, but is using an image from the cards without a connection to any specific history, culture or meaning (like on a tote bag or the like) a disrespectful appropriation? Or is it just a fun game like checkers that happens to include some interesting artwork?
Not Columbusing, Just Asking
Dear Gabacha: While gabachos have appropriated Mexican everything ever since they took our cuitlaxochitl flowers and renamed them poinsettias after some pendejo ambassador or other, I’m a bit more lax with Lotería.
While this bingo-esque board game goes back to the 1700s, its most iconic pictograms—like the bare-chested mermaid “La Sirena” or the derelict borracho called, fittingly enough, “El Borracho”—aren’t cultural patrimony so much as the intellectual property of Don Clemente, Inc., a for-profit company. While it’s easy to get mad at gabachos doing their own take on Lotería cards, it’s akin to doing the same with Monopoly figurines. We’re talking about a private, capitalist enterprise here, not la pinche Virgin of Guadalupe.
Besides, Mexicans appropriate ourselves all the time—and if you don’t believe it, ask the tehuanas in Oaxaca how they feel when fresas from Guadalajara steal their steez.
Dear Mexican: If the United States and Mexico go to war, whose side will the Mexican people in the U.S.A. stand on?
Dear Gabacho: Ah, the ultimate Chicano parlor game, one brought closer to reality by our incoming president! It’s all about context. Mexicans here have fought the narcos south of the border for the past couple of years with arms shipments and even brigades, so you’d expect the same if Enrique Peña Nieto announced he’d use his cartel amigos to try to invade el Norte.
If Trump decided to move on Mexico for not trying to build a wall, you’d see a lot of hilarious memes but no uprising, as much as yaktivists would want you to believe. But if Trump starts mass roundups, let’s just say raza won’t take it quietly.
I’d say more, but then the FBI would show up at my doorstep and disappear me to some black site or other for further questioning with Señor Waterboard.
Dear Mexican: I love ¿Qué Pasa, USA? Lots of Spanish, English and Spanglish. Do you know of any other TV shows like it?
Netflix and Chillar
Dear Pocho: Nope. And this is how pathetic Hollywood is: 40 years ago, television was confident enough in a bilingual show about the Latino-immigrant experience that it made a sitcom about a Cuban family that aired nationwide on PBS. Today? They do entire films about Los Angeles, like La La Land, and show a total of one Latino character in the film. Chris Rock put it best: “You’re in L.A.; you’ve got to try not to hire Mexicans.”
I’d end on a funnier note, but trying to follow Chris Rock is like drinking Cazadores, then following up with Sauza—and I’m not even as good as Sauza.