Dear Mexican: I read your column of a couple of years ago about Chicanos loving the Aztecs, and it left me both cracking up and intellectually fortified. In the last portion of the column, you added: “But, hey: If you want to change your name from José González to Nezahualcoyotl Moctezuma and go to sweat lodges on weekends, even though you’re lighter-skinned than a Southern belle, be my guest! I’m sure your ancestors who fought the Aztecs—both indigenous and Hispanic—would’ve approved!”
I really would like to know your opinion about Chican@s appropriating indigenous names. (Well, for me, it’s appropriating.) Every time I go to Facebook and see my friends change their names to things in the Nahuatl language, I cringe. Maybe it’s my own internal struggle, but I see changing your name as a very insignificant. I mean, que ganas con cambiando tu nombre, if you don’t know the language? Or if you do, you probably know some phrases.
I don’t, because to me, yo soy indígena—and I mean by immediate bloodline. I know Zapoteco and I speak it with my family. Pero, you don’t see me or my family changing their names or whatnot. In fact, nosotros nos guardamos nuestra cultura; we don’t parade it to the world. I don’t know; maybe it’s bad to get frustrated by these people changing their names. What are your thoughts?
Dear Badass Tehuana: Big correction to your boast about zapotecos not showing off their culture: From Día de los Muertos to your Guelaguetza (for gabas, it’s basically a Mexican country fair meets Eurovision) to your spectacular cuisine, Oaxacans are among Mexico’s proudest ambassadors of their native cultura, and aren’t afraid to show it off—and that’s OK. Similarly, it’s fine for Chicanos to change their names from the Hispanic nombres given to them at birth to Nahuatl ones if it makes them feel more in touch with their roots.
Everyone has a different path to coming to terms with their Mexican identity, and they’re all OK. The problem I have is with people who then start ridiculing others who don’t adopt Aztec dancing and calendars as vendidos and Tío Tacos; these indigenazis, of course, make their insults in English and use the Internet (created by gabachos) to boast that they’re more Aztec than Quetzalcoatl himself. Que se vayan a la chingada.
I’m a Canadian woman who has been travelling to Mexico (Guanajuato y Oaxaca, the cute places) lately. I travel alone and want to understand the “social” rules a little better.
I was told by an expat American living in Mexico that Mexican men think all American women are sluts. (I assume that generalization extends to canadienses.) His theory is that Mexicans see television shows like Sex and the City and think it’s reality. I’m acutely aware of this when interacting with Mexican men, and as a result, am somewhat guarded, which I really don’t want to be. I’d like to be able to meet Mexican men on the same terms as Canadians—sure there’s a possibility of a little steam, but maybe we’re just platicando, amigo-like.
What are your thoughts? Do mexicanos think we’re all sluts? If so, why? Do Mexican women/girls save sex for marriage? Does this mean I can never have casual sex with a Mexican man again, for fear of perpetuating a stereotype?
Una Canadiense Confusa
Dear Confused Canadian Woman: Noticias flash—Mexican men think ALL women are sluts. It’s the Madonna-whore complex, comprende?
That said, don’t let pendejo heretonormative norms get in the way of you enjoying chorizo—modern-day Mexican women don’t, so why should you?
Ask the Mexican at firstname.lastname@example.org; be his fan on Facebook; follow him on Twitter @gustavoarellano; or follow him on Instagram @gustavo_arellano!