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Last updateTue, 18 Sep 2018 1pm

Dear Mexican: I’m a gabacho living in a barrio. It took a year after we moved in (we’ve been here for five years now), but I grew accustomed to the bicycle-horn-honking guys selling churros out of grocery carts, the tamale lady selling out of a stroller, the couple selling new clothes out of a panel van, the fruit/vegetable guy who really just sells crappy chips, and the every-other-day yard sales. Don’t get me wrong; I love the “micro-economics” of it all; it’s kind of like living at the ballpark. If you sit there long enough, somebody will show up with something to eat. 

I’ve started to not jump every time I hear the “Tijuana Doorbell.” A LOT of trash gets thrown into the street and my yard, much of it from the crappy chips the aforementioned fruit guy sells. The trash and the honking still piss me off, but I’m used to it. The cholos, ’copters and potholes—old news.

What I just can’t get my head around is this: Why do so many Mexicans—men and women—sit in their cars for hours at a time? Or start the car and then walk away for a half-hour? The car’s just sitting there—ON—and nobody’s around. The sitting around might be attributable to not having any privacy at home; I get that. But starting your car and just sitting there or walking away?

Señor Gabacho Con Questiones y Mariscos

Dear Mr. Gabacho With Questions and Seafood: Ever heard of carburetors? That’s what real cars have in their engines, and you need to warm up said carros in the morning in order for them to run. Mexicans have always preferred real ranflas, so even when we eventually get weak-ass fuel-injection cars, we still warm up cars as a form of habit.

While this might seem like a weak answer, it’s based on precedent: Look at that classic Mexican habit of not flushing away toilet paper full of caca.

Dear Mexican: I’m a 64-year-old white guy. I’m one of your readers and a Facebook amigo. I’m a huge fan of Tejano music, which led me into appreciating Mexican music. Then, of course, there are Los Lobos and Los Lonely Boys, who can (and do) play anything. Then there’s that whole Depression/World War II diaspora that had a hand in the Oakland/Bay Area horn funk bands of the ’60s and ’70s, and, of course, the whole damn Escovedo family up there in NorCal.

Boy, did I get off base. My question is: Am I a gabacho?

Green Goes the Gringos

Dear Gabacho: Did you ever hear that joke Chris Rock said about black people and “niggas”? That’s how it is with white people and gabachos. The Mexican frequently gets accused by gabachos of being racist toward white people, when that’s not the case at all. Some of my best friends are white people—hell, one just installed a door for me the other day, and I even let him use my bathroom!

This column takes on the gabachos of the United States, though. It’s gabachos who think Mexicans are destroying this country, and gabachos who want to elect Trump, yet profess their enjoyment of Mexican food. White people hate gabachos as much as Mexicans, which is why they don’t have a problem with the Reconquista. Gabachos, on the other hand? Better stock up on the Tapatío as a peace offering, ’cause you’re gonna have to make nice with us muy soon.

So you, sir, ain’t no gabacho: You’re just a plain ol’ gringo.

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 believe I heard from you in an interview that “gringo” is either out-of-date or inappropriate, and that gabacho is the better choice. I’ve checked online, and most sources say that gabacho is a pejorative and/or generally refers to Europeans. Is this the case, or is gabacho just a better word than “gringo”?

Also, as a native SoCal cracker, is it acceptable for me to use gabacho, or to refer to myself as such? What is the proper etiquette and usage so I don’t offend anyone or embarrass myself? I’ve also asked friends, but the vote seems to be split.

Gringo-Gabacho Greg

Dear Gabacho: As I’ve explained in this columna before, gabacho and gringo are synonyms for the same thing—gabachos, with the key differences being certainty in their respective etymology. (Gabacho comes from Provencal, while no one has ever put forth a definite origin story for “gringo.”)

The important fact is that gabachos long ago appropriated “gringo” into a harmless term that has absolutely no sting, while gabacho maintains its sting. Now you want to proudly refer to yourself as a gabacho, gabacho? No. Content yourself with the theft of half of Mexico back in the day, and leave our treasures alone once and for all.

Dear Mexican: Just a quick setup: I retired from the Los Angeles Police Department after 29 years. The last 24 years were spent in Narcotics Division, Major Violators. Before retiring, I purchased a lot in Los Barriles (in Baja California, Mexico). After retiring, I built a home there, and in 1997, moved there, where I have been full-time ever since. In 2005, I received my Mexican citizenship.

On several occasions, both by U.S. Customs and regular citizens, I’ve been asked why I moved to Mexico. My response is always the same: I was a Los Angeles police officer for 29 years, and in narcotics for 24 years. I’ve arrested a lot of illegal immigrants. Mexico is the only place I have ever been where all the illegals speak English. Saludos.

Ballin’ in Baja

Dear Gabacho: I see what you did there—stick to your day job, ’cause you ain’t the Keystone Kops.

But you did bring up an interesting thought: the number of gaba illegal immigrants in Mexico. There are no hard números, but there are hundreds of thousands of old gabachos in Baja and Guanajuato, and I’m sure a big chunk haven’t renewed their visas in years.

The better indicator is the number of Americans that Mexico deports—the Mexican Secretariat of the Interior’s Migration Policy Unit showed that for 2013, Mexico deported only 690 Americans—and I’m sure that count is primarily pochos. Compare that to the deportation figures for Central American countries: 32,800 from Honduras, around 30,000 for Guatemala, and only about 14,500 Salvadorans (and people say Mexis and Salvis have beef).

See that, America? If Mexico can be kind to your undocumented in our country, why can’t you do the same to our mojados?

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 want to start by saying I’m a Chicano. Now, I don’t understand why you allow Gustavo Arellano’s column in your publication.

He is a racist. First, he has a negative cartoon of a Mexican. Just look at it. Just because his last name is Arellano, that does not give him the right to display such filth and to speak for all people of Mexican or Latino decent.

Second, he calls white people gabachos. In Spanish, this is the white stuff that accumulates at the corner of your mouth. It’s the equivalent to calling a black person a “nigger,” a Mexican a “beaner” or a Jew a “kike.” It’s ugly, isn’t it?

I’ve brought this up to him, and his response to me is that it’s all in jest. How can you call a person a racist name in jest? Please take his racist ass off your magazine, and please look into the word gabacho.

Chicano Charlie

Dear Readers: This guy followed up with me by sending a private email that whined, “I don’t think you have the balls” to publish this letter.

Well, guess what, Chicano Charlie? Not only do I have the huevos; I also have the facts. I’ve never claimed to speak for all Mexicans—just the smart ones. A gabacho is a gabacho, not saliva—you’re thinking of baba, which you should be familiar with, since your words are babadas. If we want to call a gabacho a nasty slur, we call him a Donald Trump supporter. And who says you can’t call someone a racist name in jest?

Anything is possible in this columna—including not granting a pendejo his dream. So guess what, Chicano Charlie? This columna ain’t going nowhere—feliz navidad, gabacho!

Dear Mexican: I own a shop in a small shopping complex. I see lone Mexican guys (with no wife or girlfriend in sight) buying expensive pieces of jewelry. I’m sure they are going to trade the jewelry for quickie sex, possibly with our women. Isn’t this crude, low-class and tantamount to prostitution? At least us white Americans of European descent know how to wine, dine and make a girl feel special before asking for the hot biscuit.

Where’s the romance? Are Mexicans only interested in getting their rocks off?

An Honestly Outraged Local Entrepreneur

Dear Chinito: Bruh, you’re just jealous they ain’t shopping at whatever piece-of-caca storefront you operate. And you’re also mad these hombres are getting action—the last I heard, a woman is more apt to go out with a man who surprises her with a ring than some loser who refers to her privates as a “hot biscuit.”

But, yes: Mexican men are only interested in having sex with white women. Sucks for you!

GRACIAS, READERS!

For another awesome year of random questions, kind words, hilarious haters, and ever-present DESMADRE.

Reward your faithful Mexican with the regalo of watching the premiere of Bordertown, the Fox animated show on which I served as a consulting producer. It starts Sunday, Jan. 3, at 9:30 p.m., and will air each Sunday at the same time afterward. Watch it live; DVR it; stream it on Hulu—I don’t really care as long as you watch it within a week of its air date.

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