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15 Jan 2014

Ask a Mexican: Why Don't Americans Distinguish Between Ethnic Groups Within Other Countries?

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Dear Mexican: I work for one of those progressive companies. Most of the gabacho bosses are actually pretty cool … at least when your back isn’t turned. There are a few a-holes; there will always be a few—and they’ve got gigs lined up in talk radio.

Sabes que … what drives me bananas is when the company puts “initiatives” together to at least TRY to advance nuestra people in the company, bring more of nuestra people in, get us more edumacated, whatever. Then a lot of nuestra people are asleep at the wheel—they don’t take advantage/contribute/get involved. Then the next time I hear from them, all they do is bitch, whine and complain about how the man is against them/us or ridicule the “initiative.” Who peed in their Cheerios?

What’s up with the cynicism? Ching-gauh! (Spelling?) I want to say something to them, but I don’t know what.

Edumacated Mexican Who Doesn’t Know How to Spell “Ching-Gauh”

Dear Wab: Essentially, you’re saying that affirmative action is bad—you do realize that you’re identifying with the a-holes at work you don’t like, right? But I hear you—you don’t want pendejos taking those slots, because it brings down la raza. If you’re as edumacated as you think you are, have you risen enough in your company to be able to determine what raza moves on up, and what raza continues to work the mailroom?

The Mexican feels diversity initiatives are still important to put Mexis in places they’ve never had access to before (hell, that’s why this column exists), but el truco for those running such programs is to identify the young talent available who will benefit everyone, as opposed to merely filling a slot with a warm body—otherwise, another Clarence Thomas might happen.

I have always wondered why the U.S. makes no distinction between Hispanics of Basque, Catalan, Galician, etc., descent. I follow Spanish soccer, and when I watch the matches of teams from the Pais Vasco, Catalan and the Galician country, I see different languages and cultures. Why are all these people groups grouped into one in the U.S.? Please explain if you can.

Barça Bastard

Dear Gabacho: This is ¡Ask a Mexican!, not ¡Ask a Gachupín!, but let’s do a Messi and do a golazo with this.

The U.S. Census does distinguish those of Basque descent, because their numbers in this country (especially in California, Idaho and Nevada) have been big enough to warrant such attention. In the San Antonio region, people can still trace their heritage to pioneers who came from the Canary Islands in the 18th century and set the roots for what ended up becoming Tex-Mex cuisine. And students of California history know there was a big Majorcan influence in the Golden State’s mission system, because most of those pervert padres came from the largest of the Balearic islands.

In Mexico, there’s at least some knowledge of Spain’s different ethnic groups, because of recent migration and the songs of Agustín Lara hailing various regions, from Granada to Valencia.

But you are asking why the U.S. lumps all the Spanish ethnic groups as one, and I quiero you to repeat that question to yourself slowly … get it? It’s the United States we’re talking about, a country that grouped Sicilians, Calabrese, Neapolitans and Tuscans together, and labeled them Italian—and will put a Oaxacan, a culichi, a Chicano and Hispano together and call them all a bunch of dirty Mexicans.

Ask the Mexican at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.; be his fan on Facebook; follow him on Twitter @gustavoarellano; or ask him a video question at youtube.com/askamexicano!

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