CVIndependent

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Last updateFri, 16 Sep 2016 12pm

Ask a Mexican

09 Dec 2015
Dear Mexican: Mexicans always reference the Reconquista. However, I think you should be invading Spain instead. The Spanish did to the Native Americans in Mexico what the whites did to the Native Americans in America. In fact, we treated the Native Americans better: We gave them reservations; they pay no taxes; they have the right to gambling, etc. We also treated the Mexicans a lot better than the Spanish. The Spanish slaughtered the Native Americans in Mexico, and I believe their indigenous cultures have been totally destroyed. Let’s not forget the Spaniards’ great gift of syphilis. If “Mexicans,” Spanish illegal immigrants, are going to go back 160 years to hold a grudge against Americans, why don’t they hate Spain, too? Heep Big Jerk Dear Gabacho: I had to give the respuesta to my former college profe, Paul Apodaca, a professor of sociology and American studies at Chapman University and the…
02 Dec 2015
Dear Mexican: Tell us about the origin of the grito—no, not the one done in September to celebrate independence, but the one belted out during passionate rancheras like Chente’s “Volver, Volver.” Where did they start? What’s their purpose? A good grito is a way to get a lot of emotion off your chest, but I’ve always wondered: ¿Esto quién se lo inventó? El Gallo Gritón Dear Mexican: I think I’ve identified the Mexican “rallying cry,” if you will, but I need your confirmation: Why is it that groups of Mexican men seem to often yell out this high pitched “Aye aye aye!” business as some sort of battle cry or mating call? My brother was an electrician and worked on a lot of construction sites with Mexican men, and he also has picked up this “Aye aye aye!” Furthermore, a friend of mine hears this early in the morning outside…
25 Nov 2015
We Americans have been spoiled by low costs for so long that we have started acting as if low costs were our birthright, which explains why our government leaders have never been in any real hurry to do anything significant about our southern borders. Now, many spoiled, control-freak Americans are throwing temper tantrums over this issue, without thinking ahead. Careful; sometimes you WILL get what you ask for, only to end up wishing you’d just kept your greedy, selfish little mouth shut. Surely someone has done a legitimate impact study of the volume and variety of the lowered costs we Americans enjoy on a daily basis due to our government’s playing the “indulgent uncle” on the issue of illegals from Mexico. Conservative, but Not Crazy Dear Gabacho: Oh, there are as many studies about the impact of undocumented folks on the economy as there are Mexicans who say their grandpa…
18 Nov 2015
Dear Mexican: I live in East Harlem, which over the years has started to look much less boricua/plátano and much more mexicano—tamales have replaced pastels; you hear “güey” more than “mi pana”; and you can barely make out those smooth salsa bongos under the booming oompah of the ranchera music. So, my question: I’ve been to Los Angeles and Texas; the mexicanos and Chicanos around those parts are some bad hombres. Around here, though, I notice that our local mexicanos are as quiet and polite as, say, Indian computer scientists. They say “please” and “thank you”; they never get loud on the train; and they’re always on their way to work or coming home from work. What gives? Why aren’t New York Chicanos as tough as their West Coast primos? And why are they making the (ahem) native Nuyoricans and Dominican-yols look bad? Also, a bonus question (because I know…
11 Nov 2015
Dear Mexican: I’m an old fart with lily-white genes. I lived in the OC, L.A. and the Bay Area for 20 years, yet I had scarcely any interaction with the Latino population. It wasn’t because I was anti-Mexican; I was just apprehensive. I felt like I was the stranger, the one who wouldn’t fit. It didn’t help that I’d hear crap like, “Don’t go to the barrio, man! You might end up dead!” Strangely, it took some business trips to Monterrey and Oaxaca to change my perspective. These are people doing their best to get by, just like everyone else—same concerns and desires. The differences between us were mostly language, world view and style. Once I got over that, I discovered I was rather comfortable there. In some ways, I fit better there than in my native culture. Now I’m in the South, and I’m missing that large Mexican culture.…
04 Nov 2015
Dear Mexican: Isn’t the acceptance of illegal immigration by Latino politicians insulting to generations of Mexican Americans who paid taxes, built communities and worked hard for their families and their country (military service, public service, etc.)? Legal Smiegel Dear Gabacho: Nope, mainly because people sin papeles also pay taxes, build communities and serve. (Google “Jose Angel Garibay OC Weekly.”) But nice try in attempting to pull a Donald Trump by trying to divide and conquer between undocumented Mexicans and “legal” Mexican-Americans. Sure, you’ll always have the stray vendidos insisting what you just babbled—but the stats don’t back up your premise. A 2014 Pew Research Center survey showed that while the immigration views of native-born, English-dominant Latinos aren’t as Aztlanista as, say, a Mechista, they’re pretty close. On the question of whether they prefer a pathway to citizenship, better border security and enforcement, or a combination of both, 48 percent of…
28 Oct 2015
Dear Mexican: What’s up with the bull stickers on truck doors? Is this a secret business, something earned at some unmentionable contest south of the border, or is it a brotherhood of sorts? I thought about taking Spanish lessons so I could politely ask one of these guys. Native Californian Whitey Dear Gabacho: The bull sticker is no cloak-and-dagger marker. Toros on trucks are just cultural archetypes, a manifestation of Jung’s theory that recurring characters, festivals and monuments in society represent a shared memory from its collective unconscious. Americans decorate their lives with such motifs: lawns (reminder of—take your pick—the savannas of our African roots, English manors or the open prairie from the frontier days), Thanksgiving (ceremony honoring our Puritan forefathers) and the continued popularity of Mickey Mouse (signifies our fascination with the trickster). Likewise, Mexicans consider the bull a reminder of the rancho they left behind, of the life…
21 Oct 2015
I’m a white, college-educated, liberal, Democrat, socialist U.S. citizen. I don’t have any problem with Mexicans coming here to get a good job. In fact, I don’t see the “problem.” From your perspective, why are Republicans and redneck dickheads so into building that big fence on the border? What I mean is: If there are so many “illegal” Mexican immigrants in the U.S., what is stopping them from becoming “legal?” Is it really a question of attaining citizenship, or is it just plain ol’ ignorant racism? Taco Lover in Houston Dear Gabacho: Gracias for writing in, Bernie Sanders! Love ya, but I don’t think you stand a chance against that pendeja Hillary—but good for you for pushing her into Aztlanista territory. As for the preguntas: Republican dickheads want to build a wall because it’s the simplest “solution” to the immigration “problem” and is symptomatic of how out of touch they…
14 Oct 2015
Dear Mexican: I teach U.S. citizenship classes in both Spanish and English. Recently, some of my students corrected others in Spanish about race terms. How do I help my students talk about race progressively, so they don’t sound like racist grandmas? Denver, But Works in Littleton Dear Gabacha: Tough, ain’t it? A jefe once told me that German was such a direct language that the word for “meat” literally translated as “flesh”—and that’s how it is when Mexicans speak about race in America. “African American” does translate as afroamericano in Mexican Spanish, but most Mexicans think that’s PC silliness and a mouthful. Instead, the best you can hope for is negro, which literally translates as “black,” but means “negro.” Similarly, “Asian American” translates as asiático-americano, but most Mexicans go for chino—Chinese. And I’m saying the polite terms; I can only imagine what your students cracked during class. My advice: Teach…
07 Oct 2015
Dear Mexican: First, some background: I am a U.S.-born Mexican. Actually, until I was 7 years old, I lived in Mexico. I’m now 24. I recently went to a Mexican night club to get my huapango on. I wore black lagarto boots, dark Wrangler jeans, a black shirt and a beige sport coat—and topped it off with a beige Stetson tejana. Judging by the looks from the women young and not-so-young, I could tell the classic cowboy look was working for me. I had a good time dancing to the classic norteñas and cumbias that never go out of style. My question: What the hell is up with other guys and their jacked-up version of vaquero style? Tiny hats, half-sized ties, skintight Capri-looking jeans and boots that are probably three sizes too big for their feet and curl up like Aladdin shoes? Not to mention the “Coach” patterns or the…