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Last updateFri, 16 Sep 2016 12pm

Ask a Mexican

17 Feb 2016
Dear Mexican: I’m a misplaced half-Mexican in Mississippi, of all places. The area I live in is WHITE as WHITE can be, and has been for many foreign-hating years. However, I have seen the Latin community more than double in the four years I’ve been here. This makes me feel more at ease, since a diverse culture is what I’m used to. I spent my first 23 years born and raised in California. My dilemma is that I find two different kinds of Latins (mostly Mexicans and Guatemalans): They are either really friendly and relieved to see another brownie, or they are NOT that accepting. I am a half-beaner: My dad is from Mexico, and I have dark skin, curly hair and the hips and ass to prove it. Problem is, I wasn’t raised as a Mexican; my dad never taught me Spanish, and I never had anything but a…
10 Feb 2016
Dear Mexican: Why do Mexicans applaud first-generation Mexicans who assimilate completely, but criticize (and apply the term vendidos) to first-generation Mexican Americans for doing it? (And why is it that there is no real name for U.S. citizens in English, forcing us to use the name of the continent? Someone should translate estadounidenses.) Take my case, for example. Both of my parents are Basques—don’t get them wrong, they are grateful; they really love Mexico and will proudly tell you they are 100 percent Mexican, because Mexico adopted them, but they also love their original culture and speak Euskera fluently. (Well, one speaks Euskara, the other Euskera; one is from Donostia, the other from Bilbao, so they spell a few words differently.) They play Mus almost every day, prepare typical Basque dishes (txipirones, txangurros, pil-pin and the infamous kalimotxo, which is a drink that is obtained by mixing red wine and…
03 Feb 2016
Dear Mexican: I enjoyed reading the letter about lip liner some years back from the lovely Mexican lesbian. I have met several guys from Mexico who came to the U.S. so they could come out of the closet. Nothing warms my middle-age gay heart more than when a nice Mexican young man says, “Hola, papi!” However, when they go home to Mexico to visit their mamasitas, they go back into the closet. I’ve read in the news that things are getting better for my fellow homos in Mexico. Are more macho muchachos “out” in Mexico these days? Grateful White Queen Dear Gabacha: Life for mariposas in Mexico has gotten much better since the days when the Aztecs would kill gay men by pulling their entrails through their culos. Just last month, the Mexican Supreme Court legalized gay marriage in Jalisco, stereotypically the most macho state in la república. (The rest…
27 Jan 2016
Dear Mexican: I’m an instructor at a community college. I wanted to work within the community college to help the marginalized and disenfranchised have greater access to education. Additionally, as a Latina, I have witnessed too many of my own people drop out of college, and I wanted to do something about it. At the beginning of every semester, instructors attend personal development training, and I attended one on white privilege. The discussion included reviewing an article written some years ago about what constitutes “white privilege,” and whether that definition is still applicable today. The facilitator and some of the participants asked for my perspective on it, and whether I agreed. Finally, I understood that they thought I was white because of my lighter skin. I tactfully corrected them, telling them, “I am MexiCAN.” However, the facilitator went on to say that having the surface appearance of “white” is an…
20 Jan 2016
Dear Mexican: Hey, I was wondering why it is that Mexicans are said to have low risk for heart attacks, considering they eat lots of beans, animal intestines and other strange foods like pigs’ feet and cow tongue. Could there be some mysterious magical healing power in all these strange cultural cuisines? Max Cherry Burger Dear Gabacho: How is eating animal intestines, pigs’ feet and cow tongue “strange”? That’s working-class food, whether you’re Polish, Mexican, black or a good ol’ boy from a Kentucky holler—and it’s certainly better than the mainstream mierda gabachos eat. Another fact you got wrong: Mexicans are not paragons of heart health. Maybe in el pasado, when we mostly ate cactus and human flesh, but that was a long time ago. Nowadays, no less an authority than the American Heart Association says on its website that Mexis “face even higher risks of cardiovascular diseases because of…
13 Jan 2016
Dear Mexican: I was wondering if you can help me. I’m trying to get my family tree together. My family is from San Julian, Jalisco. Both of my grandparents were part of the bracero program, and I was wondering: What is the agency or institution where they hold the list of names of Mexicans who were part of the program? I would greatly appreciate it. Jalisco No Se Raja Dear Jalisco Never Backs Down: Your abuelitos were braceros? One of mine was, too, along with a chingo of uncles—one of whom ended up picking beets in Michigan. Fun! Just to remind the gabas who braceros were: They were members of the original guest-worker program between the United States and Mexico, originally set up during World War II, so that our fighting men could go kill commie Nazis. Originally an executive order signed by President Franklin D. Roosevelt, the bracero program…
06 Jan 2016
Dear Mexican: I’ve been following a show called You’re The Worst since it started showing on FX in 2014. Among other things, it features a character named Edgar Quintero, an awkward and troubled Iraq War veteran who happens to be Mexican American. I think this must be the only such character regularly featured in series television these days. My only issue with the character is that, though he is well-handled, the actor who plays him is obviously from the Eastern U.S. Non-Mexican-American actors have been playing Mexican-American characters, sometimes quite well, for decades. In this case, Desmin Borges has a Puerto Rican background. I don’t consider that a problem in and of itself. But I have a big problem if they talk like they are from New York or Chicago. The language of those of us out West, Latino and otherwise, is different, and we rarely see this acknowledged on…
30 Dec 2015
Dear Mexican: Why is it that when you invite a Mexican to a party, they feel compelled to bring along 30 of their relatives? I mean, bringing along two or three people would be no problem, but we don’t expect the number of people in our party to double by inviting an extra person! Not Enough Food for Everyone Dear Gabacho: Mexicans and parties—was there ever a coupling more spectacularly grotesque? We drink mucho; we eat mucho; we fight mucho; we love mucho; we mucho mucho. Examining the Mexican propensity to party, Mexican Nobel laureate Octavio Paz wrote, “The explosive, dramatic, sometimes even suicidal manner in which we strip ourselves, surrender ourselves is evidence that something inhibits and suffocates us. Something impedes us from being. And since we cannot or dare not confront our own selves, we resort to the fiesta.” But one thing we don’t do anymore is swarm…
23 Dec 2015
Dear Mexican: I want to start by saying I’m a Chicano. Now, I don’t understand why you allow Gustavo Arellano’s column in your publication. He is a racist. First, he has a negative cartoon of a Mexican. Just look at it. Just because his last name is Arellano, that does not give him the right to display such filth and to speak for all people of Mexican or Latino decent. Second, he calls white people gabachos. In Spanish, this is the white stuff that accumulates at the corner of your mouth. It’s the equivalent to calling a black person a “nigger,” a Mexican a “beaner” or a Jew a “kike.” It’s ugly, isn’t it? I’ve brought this up to him, and his response to me is that it’s all in jest. How can you call a person a racist name in jest? Please take his racist ass off your magazine,…
16 Dec 2015
Gentle cabrones: Behold, it’s my annual Mexican Christmas guide, in which I recommend the best Mexi-themed libros for you to give to your loved ones this Navidad instead of yet another tamale to unwrap. Buy them at your local bookstore, or order online—but do buy! • #FuckCancer: The True Story of How Robert the Bold Kicked Cancer’s Ass: By day, Robert Flores is a butcher; in his spare time, Flores wrote a hilarious, gritty memoir about how he survived fourth-stage colon cancer. It’s perfect for the cancer survivor in your family, or anyone who appreciates Chicano DESMADRE. Buy it at roberttheboldstore.etsy.com. • Dreamland: The True Tale of America’s Opiate Epidemic: In one of the most chilling books published in recent years, my mentor-friend Sam Quinones tells a two-part story about how gabacho America got hooked on heroin—on one hand, from pharmaceuticals; on the other mano, via Mexicans from Nayarit. It’s…