Last updateWed, 27 Sep 2017 1pm

Dear Mexican: You are a racist, my friend. How can you bring up Japanese and Chinese mistreatment, and not Irish or Jewish mistreatment? It’s because it doesn’t fit into your narrative of whitey being the vilest creature on Earth.

Worrying about language, culture and assimilation doesn’t make you a racist (even though Mexican isn’t a race, but I digress). People want to protect the melting pot of American culture. People want people to come here legally and assimilate—not forget or ignore their ancestors’ culture, but to embrace American culture.

Your race-baiting demagoguery is intellectually dishonest and a threat to the American way of life for all colors and ethnicities.

Jeff Sessions Is My Boo

Dear Gabacho: Ah, the wonders of the Internet. You no doubt found my columna from some random Google search or Google News or Stormfront or some other fake news outlet; read a couple of back issues; then surmised I hate gabachos for being white. No seas pendejo.

Again and again, I’ve brought up gabacho racism against European immigrants—whether it’s Benjamin Franklin railing against Germans, the British deeming Jews trying to enter Israel when it was still Mandatory Palestine as “illegals,” or the entirety of the Dillingham Commission report. I do love gabacho racism against “white” immigrants, because it’s proof that when idiots like you say they only want “legal” immigrants and don’t mind people holding on to the traditions of the motherland, it’s as much of a a false flag as saying Rick Bayless is a great Mexican chef.

Hate white people? The Mexican LOVES white people! Without them, tequila would’ve never become a worldwide product, and the Mexican soccer team wouldn’t have any other team to get humiliated by. It’s gabachos who ruin the United States—and if you can’t tell the difference between whites and gabachos, then you don’t know your Chris Rock.

Dear Mexican: I’ve noticed you haven’t addressed too many issues dealing with Mexican gangs in your column. Tell me what’s up with the Norteños and Sureños, and why they hate each other so much.

Aren’t all you Mexicans after the Reconquista in the first place? How did this split happen, and how does a guy like me stay out of the way in la Mission in Frisco?

Mulatto Man (Who Happens to Look Mexican)

Dear Negrito: Imagine all the power Mexicans would have if we were one unified force. Trump wouldn’t be president, for one. And we wouldn’t have all these ridiculous gang beefs that leave too many of our young dead, hooked on drugs or condemned to la vida loca.

I’m not going to get into the history of the Norteños and Sureños, because I’m sure you can find some documentary about their history on a NatGeo special, and I don’t want one side to think I favor the other side. Besides, the only gang I claim is the Gashouse Gang—look ’em up, eses.

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

The “breaking news” TV flash disrupted a peaceful Saturday afternoon at my home in Palm Springs. Three cops had been shot while responding to a domestic disturbance just a couple of miles away.

I started feeling uneasy and tense—like I used to feel in my hometown of Sarajevo.

I turned the TV off.

Within minutes, my editor called and left me a message, asking me if I was available to cover the shootings. I didn’t respond. I’ve done my share of violent breaking-news stories all around the globe. No more.

Later, my editor texted me, saying that two of the three officers—Jose “Gil” Vega, 63, and Lesley Zerebny, 27—had died.

I’ve seen many senseless killings, as a war reporter in Romania and what was once Yugoslavia. When I lived and worked in Rio de Janeiro, every morning would start with the gruesome front-page murder-scene photos of butchered bodies. Rio is a beautiful place, but there’s too much violence.

I chose to start a new life here in the desert after I was granted political asylum in the United States. I chose to live in Palm Springs because there were rarely shootouts, or gunfire, or police sirens, or dead bodies at night on the local evening news. For more than 20 years, I’ve been covering events in this peaceful oasis—until that serenity was shattered midday on Saturday, Oct. 8.

A homegrown idiot gang member allegedly decided to wipe out the cops who came to his door, just doing their jobs. (I’m not going to mention him by name.) The police officers—one a veteran officer within months of retirement; another a young woman who had just returned to work after having a child—had no chance the moment they walked up to the door. The Palm Springs Police Department should consider using this tragic event to change its 911 procedures when dealing with gang members. The red flags must go up before the dispatch. Always.

Remember the nonfiction book (and subsequent movie) The Onion Field? Its author, a former cop, Joe Wambaugh, actually lived here in the desert. After the infamous case—two police officers were kidnapped by criminals during a traffic stop, with one of the cops later killed—the LAPD changed its police tactics.

Little information has been released about the third police officer who was shot in Palm Springs. He is a material witness in this murder case, and is understandably being protected at this time. Sooner or later, he may testify and/or face the media inquiries. I spoke to a cop who survived a shootout with a gang member in Cabazon a few years back. He retired and became a plumber.

I’ve been shot at during the wars I covered, and you never forget it. I’ll always remember the hornet-like sound of the bullets that missed me by a mere chance. The sound of bullets hitting or piercing hard surfaces inches away stays with you—coming back to mind after hearing a sound with the slightest resemblance.

However, I’m not going to dwell on the fact that two cops were shot and killed in my neighborhood. Instead, I’m going to do just as those slain cops did on that fateful day: I’m going to do my job.

I’m going to write about and expose the gangs of Palm Springs. I hope that other media outlets will do the same. And I have a message for the members of the Varrio Las Palmas gang, to which the alleged cop killer reportedly belongs: This is Palm Springs, not a gangland.

Published in Community Voices

Dear Mexican: Do you agree with gente who think you can’t be vegetarian if you’re Mexican, ’cause meat is an essential part of our diet? I’ve heard this argument three times within the last 24 hours—from two blogs and the Today show. I think it’s babosadas. My parents growing up in Zacatecas only had meat on Friday when the pollero came knockin’, or other rare occurrences.

Cuaresma Chica

Dear Lenten Girl: Of course it’s babosadas. A Mexican can eat a perfectly fine vegan diet—nopales, tortillas and all the wonderful vegetables of Mexico, from chayotes to huauzontle to beans, chiles and more—and still be as raza as Cuauhtémoc. See, the traditional indigenous diet didn’t include too much meat, and definitely not any beef, pork, goat, lamb or chicken, as those animals weren’t native to the New World. (Yes, this sentence contained a triple-negative, shepherds of Shakespeare. Váyanse a la chingada.) Yet those are the very meats those anti-vegetarian braggarts cite, in the form of carne asada, chorizo, birria, barbacoa or pollos rostizado when they claim Mexicans can’t live on a carne-free diet.

These are the same pendejos who say they’re puro mexicano while downing a Bohemia (named after the Czech immigrants who revolutionized Mexico’s beer industry … alongside the Germans), eating their bolillos (introduced by the French) and tacos al pastor (brought in by Lebanese immigrants), and washing it all down with a Mexican Coke (done by gabachos). Those idiots must also love the recent cover of Time, with Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto being hailed as Mexico’s savior, as laughable a premise as a Mexican showing up to a party on time.

Why are so many young Mexicans in gangs? And why do they love to graffiti everything, even their own ghetto apartment building? I see too damn much of this in the Los Angeles area. ¿Qué pasa?

El Virgin de 50 Anos

Dear Virgin of 50 Anuses: Let’s not pussyfoot around the issue: The National Gang Center’s 2011 National Youth Gang Survey found that 46.2 of all gang members in the United States were Latinos, by far the largest percentage among ethnic groups in this country.

But … if you take the 367,000-plus documented gang members in los Estados Unidos, and put that over the 34 million people of Mexican descent in the United States, that only amounts to barely 1 percent of all Mexicans in this country—1 percent too many, but hardly the epidemic Know Nothings make out the gang problem to be among Mexican-Americans. (Keep in mind that the Latino-gangs figure doesn’t differentiate by national origin, meaning the cholo figure in our equation is artificially inflated thanks to Dominica, Puerto Rican and Salvadoran gangs.) Then take into mind that gangs have existed among young immigrant men—especially in urban areas—since the founding of the Republic, and the question becomes: Why aren’t there more young Mexican chicos in gangs? But you asked why do they join, so rent Gangs of New York, Angels With Dirty Faces, The Godfather, The Hangover and all that desmadre for the answer.


Gentle cabrones: I’m thrilled to announce the release of Lowriting: Shots, Rides and Stories From the Chicano Soul, an anthology of essays, poems and stories about lowriders by authors famous (Luis J. Rodríguez, Luis Alberto Urrea) and not (yours truly wrote about my 1974 Cadillac Eldorado convertible called “El Caballo Blanco,” after the José Alfredo Jiménez standard), combined with the amazing photography of Los Angeles photographer Art Meza, perhaps the coolest librarian you’ll ever meet not affiliated with the Fullerton Public Library. A fine collection for anyone interested in great prose, great photography or the current state of the Chicano soul. Order your copy through, and BUY BUY BUY!

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