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 continued until the mid-1960s. While the pendejo GOP presidential field sometimes wishes it would return, someone should remind them the program ended because of exploitative conditions and the fact that both the American and Mexican governments shorted braceros on their salary by withholding 10 percent of their wages—wages that elderly braceros and their descendants were still battling both governments for as recently as last year.
On the Mexican side, the Secretaria de Gobernacion (SEGOB, as acronym-obsessed Mexico calls it) has a registry of ex-braceros; on the American side, try the excellent online Bracero History Archive hosted by the Center for History and New Media at George Mason University.
Good luck, and don’t think your great-grandpa was special because he fought with Pancho Villa; EVERY Mexican’s bisabuelo says that!
Dear Mexican: Yesterday in a parking lot, I was opening my car door to get out, and a lovely Mexican lady was opening her door next to me to put her young child in her car. We both opened our doors at the same time. We both quickly pulled our doors in to avoid hitting each other, but then she quickly reopened her door and took a long time to put her child in the car, thus making me wait when it would have taken me only a second to get out; she then could have proceeded.
I didn’t understand why she did this, especially when I’m an older woman and seemingly should have been granted the right-of-way. I’ve always been under the impression that in the Mexican culture, the senior woman would be given courteous regard.
Leisure World Lady
Dear Gabacha: Yes, we respect our elders—but we respect a woman with a child more, and so should you. Plus, you’re a gabacha—and gabachos are EVIL. Lucky she didn’t steal your country while you were waiting.
Reward your faithful Mexican with the regalo of watching Bordertown, the Fox animated show on which I served as a consulting producer. It airs Sundays at 9:30 p.m. (8:30 p.m. Central). Watch it live; DVR it; watch it on Hulu or Fox Now—I don’t really care, as long as you watch it! And por favor, don’t pirate it until the eighth season!
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