Last updateTue, 18 Sep 2018 1pm

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 white neighborhood and white friends.

How can I get my brown homies in this WHITE town to accept my white-raised side, too? I feel misplaced, because the whites think I’m another “border jumping, job-stealing” Mexican, while the Latins think I’m a tanned whitey who hates them. We should be sticking together, right?

The Confused Coconut

Dear Pocho: First things primeramente: Drop the “Latins” moniker. That hasn’t been used to describe Mexis since the days when baseball writers referred to Robert Clemente as “Bob.” But having traveled through the Magnolia State—I’ve enjoyed Delta tamales in Greenville, tried a so-so burrito in Iuka, and lectured about Mexicans in the South during the fabulous Southern Foodways Symposium at the University of Mississippi—I hate to say this truth: Racist good ol’ boys are more likely to accept you than Mexicans.

Mexicans have shunned other Mexicans since the days when the Tlaxcalans and Totonacs sided with Cortés against the Aztecs. Gabachos? Yeah, they hate us, but all you have to do to get accepted by them is open a Mexican restaurant. It doesn’t matter if it sucks; you’ll mesmerize them into submission like catnip mesmerizes a gato.

Dear Mexican: I had an affair with a younger Mexican co-worker. I warned him not to get attached, as I was married, and then I didn’t follow my own advice. In the end, I made the mistake of asking what his brother would think if he knew about us—and he ended the relationship, because he realized his whole family would be disappointed. The problem is, he means a lot to me and made me feel so good. How could he call me hermosa and preciosa, tell me I was perfect—then end it?

I realize family is very important to him, but he knew what we were getting into from the start. Is there a way to get him back, or should I give up? Is that family bond, which I’ve witnessed seems to be a very Mexican thing, strong enough that now that it’s clicked with him, there’s no going back?

La Preciosa

Dear Gabacha: So you’re telling me you’re mad at a Mexican because he did what you asked—that is, you invited him in, but asked him to not get attached, and he didn’t, and now you’re sad? That’s just like the United States asking Mexico to send over men during the Bracero Program in the 1950s, but asking them not to become American—and then Americans get shocked that Mexicans remain Mexican. Comal, meet olla.

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 follow him on Instagram @gustavo_arellano!

Published in Ask a Mexican

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.

Oh, wait…


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!

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 follow him on Instagram @gustavo_arellano!

Published in Ask a Mexican