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Last updateFri, 16 Sep 2016 12pm

Ask a Mexican

11 May 2016
Dear Mexican: We had a torrid and passionate romance for about a year. I could have done anything for her—meaning I loved her. After the first breakup, for about six months, we had make-ups and breakups. Once, I broke off the relationship because I understood she was, and is, commitment-phobic. After the breakup, I told her to please not to call me anymore, because she would screw me up. (She loved me, but she did not want to be with me). One day out of the blue, she calls and tells me that she’s thinking about me. and that all she thinks about is sex with me in Acapulco. I called her the same day. and we had a very nice conversation. The very next week, I got laid off as part of a merger. I called her to announce the news and to tell her I needed a friend.…
04 May 2016
Dear Mexican: I believe I heard from you in an interview that “gringo” is either out-of-date or inappropriate, and that gabacho is the better choice. I’ve checked online, and most sources say that gabacho is a pejorative and/or generally refers to Europeans. Is this the case, or is gabacho just a better word than “gringo”? Also, as a native SoCal cracker, is it acceptable for me to use gabacho, or to refer to myself as such? What is the proper etiquette and usage so I don’t offend anyone or embarrass myself? I’ve also asked friends, but the vote seems to be split. Gringo-Gabacho Greg Dear Gabacho: As I’ve explained in this columna before, gabacho and gringo are synonyms for the same thing—gabachos, with the key differences being certainty in their respective etymology. (Gabacho comes from Provencal, while no one has ever put forth a definite origin story for “gringo.”) The…
27 Apr 2016
Dear Mexican: I recently took a DNA test to find out about my genetic heritage. It turns out that my “Mexican” side (maternal side) may not really be Mexican at all: The DNA test has 100 percent matched me to Native Americans in what now straddles the U.S. Southwest and Northern Mexico, with no traces of European ancestry. My mother’s ancestry clearly traces back beyond than the political existence of both the U.S. and Mexico. The same test on my mother and her close relatives would reveal the same results, but everyone on that side of the family insists they are Mexican. (In fact, some of that familia would vehemently deny any indigenous ancestry, despite irrefutable scientific evidence … like a weird Mexican DNA version of the O.J. Simpson trial.) What is the “Mexican race,” if there is such a thing? I understand Mexican history was at times bloody and…
20 Apr 2016
Dear Mexican: Dude, can you please write about why Mexicans are voting for Trump? My cuñado and I were talking about the candidates over dinner yesterday and about how this will be his first presidential vote. He became a U.S. citizen last year. He’s from DF (Mexico City). He started from the ground up in this country and now is a successful business owner. I think he wants to keep the gap between him and other immigrants. He’s voting Trump. Greed is what I sense, but I’m not sure. I then spoke with my friend (my go-to source for wab news in SanTana), and she informed me that a lot of Mexicans and/or Hispanics are voting for Trompas. Please enlighten us with your take on the matter. Feeling El Bern Dear Gabacho: Yeah, the vast majority of Mexican Americans despise Trump—a Los Angeles Times poll found only 9 percent of…
13 Apr 2016
Dear Mexican: Why do white guys still think it’s cute to call a Latina “spicy”? Serene Serena Dear Pocha: The term hasn’t just applied to mexicanas; I’ve found newspaper clippings from 1866 hailing the virtues of a “spicy woman.” But referring to the better sex by her hotness nowadays is almost universally applied to Mexican mujeres. The answer is obvious: It’s been ingrained in the American consciousness ever since gabachos discovered our women and chile, and decided they wanted chiles in their mouths, and our women on their puny chiles. In that light, it’s easy to understand why gaba men still use such antiquated, sexist, racist language: They’re gabachos. It’s like asking why a dog eats its own caca. And now, a quick etymological lesson: The earliest mention I could find of referring to a woman as a “hot tamale” is in a 1909 Philadelphia Star article; the earliest example…
06 Apr 2016
Dear Mexican: I’m a Latina with Mexican parents—well, “parent,” since my father has been non-existent since I was 13, but, you know, you still respect him ’cause he’s your sperm donor. Anyhoo, the point of this letter: Not only am I a lesbian; my partner is white. We have been together for about a year—in gay years, it’s like 12. She doesn’t get why I’m so close to my family. My partner and I have small arguments (which she likes to call “discussions”) about how Mexicans take advantage of the system. After many “discussions,” we agreed that it’s not just Mexicans who take advantage; it’s any race. They all have them: Whites have white trash; blacks have thugs; and Mexicans have cholos or whatever they go by these days. She sees that my family does take advantage of me, but when push comes to shove, my family is my family,…
30 Mar 2016
Dear Mexican: Why can’t U.S. citizens take responsibility for their own actions? It’s common to encounter ignorant people blaming Mexicans (and many other Latin Americans) for their own plight. But let’s look at the facts: First, almost as soon as the Spanish, French, Portuguese and Dutch left their colonies in this hemisphere, Washington, D.C., stepped in, trying to support puppet dictatorships and crush any real independence. These puppets often (not always) impoverished many of their people. Also, every year, U.S. citizens hand over billions of dollars of their own tax money in subsidies to agribusinesses. These companies use their “welfare for the rich” to cover their costs, and then dump overproduced, underpriced agricultural products on Mexico. This forces Mexican farmers out of business and off of the land, which forces down Mexican wages and job availability, and forces Mexicans out of the country. So what happens? The impoverished results of…
23 Mar 2016
Dear Mexican: A friend of mine says nobody calls themselves Chicanos anymore—que dice, Mexican? ¿Cierto? Is it just a term for us old-timers, like hippies or beatniks? Saludotes de Tulsa Town Dear Pocha: I’ve always maintained that one learns they’re Chicano—usually in Chicano studies classes, where the term is placed in its proper historical context. And the fact is that “Chicano” as an identity was endangered by the 1980s, under assault from the right by vendidos who preferred “Hispanic,” and by Mexican immigrants who taught their children they were mexicanos, not pocho-ass Chicanos. But then the 1990s happened, and the many anti-immigrant laws passed around the country galvanized a new generation of activists who looked back to the Chicano movement of the 1960s for inspiration. Then the 2000s happened, and the mega-anti-immigration laws of that decade brought more children of Mexican immigrants into the Chicano fold, with some calling themselves…
16 Mar 2016
Dear Mexican: Our grandparents came from Mexico. Nearly all of our parents’ generation spoke Spanish. However, in my generation, pretty much none of us do. One cousin’s daughter does because the cousin married a fluently bilingual spouse. Most white people I know long ago lost both awareness of what their actual ethnic roots are, and the original language with which their people came to America, if it wasn’t English. Heck, British English can be pretty confusing. What my cousins, most of our kids and I know of Spanish is what we learn in Spanish classes. It’s clear we lost our language treasure. Fortunately, we love being Chicanos. What do you know of this loss on a local or national scale? Spangless Chicano Dear Pocho: The 2011 National Survey of Latinos by the Pew Research Center reported that while 91 percent of first-generation Latinos said they spoke Spanish “very well/pretty well,”…
09 Mar 2016
Dear Mexican: What are Mexico’s residency requirements, and how do you apply for their version of a green card? Because if that racist fuck Trump gets elected, I’m outta here. We’ve gone too far in the past 40 years (20 if you’re from the South) to go back to the days of Jim Crow. Eight years of Bush was bad enough. Not Gonna Put Up With That BS Dear Gabacho: The detailed answer is in my book; the short answer is Mexico’s probably going to end up building the border wall to keep out gabachos like you who didn’t do enough to defeat the Drumpf. Dear Mexican: Do you think that maybe television is part of the reason for this mass migration of people from Mexico and elsewhere to the United States? For example, since you’re from there, you probably know the show The O.C.—and what is it we see…