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Last updateMon, 20 Apr 2020 1pm

Dear Mexican: When Americans retake California from you low-IQ Mexicans, should we call it the Reconquista? Why don’t Mexicans (and blacks, for that matter) understand that when they move into a white neighborhood because it is such a nice place to live, they will turn it into a bad place by their presence? Why don’t Mexicans understand we don’t need or want them, and they will be replaced by automation? Would Mexicans welcome a U.S. invasion by God-Emperor Trump in order to replace their corrupt elite with decent right-wing Americans, who will rule competently? Where will Mexicans go when Diversity+Proximity=War becomes true? Mexico doesn’t seem to want them, either.

Your New Master, Same as Your Old Master

Dear Gabacho: I talked to one of your kind last month for about a half-hour over the phone, until his Bolivian wife told him to hang up. I told him the biggest issue I had about anti-Mexican arguments—you know, besides the blatant racism—is the lack of sources for the right’s pathetic claims. Same with you: Just ’cause you and Steve Bannon say something is true doesn’t make it so.

And here you come proving my pinche point. A 2013 Reason article tracked IQs among immigrants of previous generations and concluded “modern Hispanic immigrants seem to be no stupider than the immigrant ancestors of other Americans.” Yay! (And before you trot out stats insisting that the IQs of Mexican Americans don’t increase with generations—ask them if they’ve tracked the same among poor gabas in the South.)

Mexicans turning gabachos neighborhoods bad? Read USC professor Jody Agius Vallejo’s magisterial Barrios to Burbs: The Making of the Mexican American Middle Class, which debunks both Know Nothing AND yaktists who say Mexicans must remain perpetual peons across generations. Automation? Ask the Rust Belt how robots have treated gabachos. Benevolent conservative rulers? Ask the Rust Belt how right-wing Americans have treated gabachos.

And as for that last neo-Nazi dog whistle—here’s where the stupidity and insecurity of your movement gets exposed at its worst. The United States is the greatest country on Earth because multitudes of immigrants like Jews, Italians, Russians, Irish, Asians Mexicans and, sure, even some “whites” came to make the U.S. great. The only people who freak out about diversity are gabachos who keep fearing that Mexicans will ISIS them once we’re the majority, and who don’t bother to realize most Mexicans would rather see the Oakland Raiders move to Los Angeles than kill whitey (except Roger Goodell and Tom Brady).

You know the one thing Mexicans truly don’t like about gabachos? Their propensity for excuses and whining like CHAVALAS.

Dear Mexican: I’m an American and have a Mexican boyfriend of one year. He doesn’t seem to want his family to know anything about our relationship. I do know he doesn’t have another girlfriend, as I visited him in Mexico while he was there. I saw his house and his family, but he explained me as a person who works with him. It’s true that I work with him, but there is so much more to the story that he doesn’t want to share.

Is he a private person, or am I his dirty little secret?

Gone Gabacha Girl

Dear Gabacha: When it comes to gabachos, Mexican men have a hard-set rule before they introduce them to the fam: two years, or two kids. The choice is yours!

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 live in East Harlem, which over the years has started to look much less boricua/plátano and much more mexicano—tamales have replaced pastels; you hear “güey” more than “mi pana”; and you can barely make out those smooth salsa bongos under the booming oompah of the ranchera music.

So, my question: I’ve been to Los Angeles and Texas; the mexicanos and Chicanos around those parts are some bad hombres. Around here, though, I notice that our local mexicanos are as quiet and polite as, say, Indian computer scientists. They say “please” and “thank you”; they never get loud on the train; and they’re always on their way to work or coming home from work.

What gives? Why aren’t New York Chicanos as tough as their West Coast primos? And why are they making the (ahem) native Nuyoricans and Dominican-yols look bad?

Also, a bonus question (because I know you like your queries as packed with questions as Volkswagens packed with gardeners): Who is más badass: a carnal with his khakis pulled up high, or a tíguere dominicano with his Jheri curl and plucked eyebrows?

En la Gran Manzana

Dear In the Big Apple Gabacho: I’ve written often in this columna about New York City’s unique Mexican makeup—read my book, and then read legendary food critic Robert Sietsema’s New York in a Dozen Dishes, which tells in better detail the history I’m about to recap here. The quick summary, of course, is that the vast majority of mexicanos in NYC come from the states of Hidalgo and especially Puebla, estados de Mexico historically associated with nice, industrious raza. Even the second- and third-generation kids tend to be more polite than, say, the spawn of folks from Jalisco and Nuevo León, who dominate the Mexican culture of California and Texas, respectively, and are states renowned for machismo. The poblanos moving to New York put the rest of us Mexicans to shame with their upstanding character, their pioneering ways (let’s see you try to hold on to your Mexican culture far away from the Southwest), and their gargantuan cemitas poblanas (reference Sietsema).

Who’s more badass than a Chicano or a Dominican wannabe? A poblano—or, better yet, a poblana.

Dear Mexican: In Southern California, a lot of the Mexican folks who gabachos like me bump into are from the working class. They are not intellectuals or top-notch professionals. Some of my friends think no such Mexicans exist! They don’t realize that if our only encounters with Mexican immigrants are with the ubiquitous busboys, gardeners, roofers, housekeepers, janitors and day-laborers, we are only seeing a certain slice of the whole pie. I tell them there are tons of highly educated and really smart Mexicans—yet I don’t know where to tell them to find such Mexicans.

Not that there’s anything wrong with the fine working people who help us out with so many aspects of our lives, but I’d like my friends to see the rest of the pie so they can get a more balanced view of the range of Mexicans who exist. Any suggestions for how gabachos can get exposed to Mexicans from higher socio-economic strata?

Gazpacho-Loving Gabacho

Dear Gabacho: Start with my alma mater and the UCLA Latino Alumni Association, then branch out to our dumber primos y primas over at the University of Southern California. Follow that by reading USC professor (and NOT dumb) Jody Agius Vallejo’s excellent From Barrio to Burbs: The Making of the Mexican-American Middle Class. End with the Latino suburbs of Whittie and Downey. Blast the Morrissey; enjoy a bottle of Baja California craft beer (try Mamut); and enjoy!

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

Gentle cabrones: Behold, it’s my annual Mexican Christmas guide, where I recommend the best Mexi-themed libros for you to give to your loved ones this Navidad instead of yet another tamale to unwrap.

Lowriting: Shots, Rides and Stories From the Chicano Soul: A stunning collection of lowrider photos by Los Angeles-based librarian/photographer Art Meza, combined with essays and poems about Chicano car culture. (Yours truly has a piece about my 1974 Cadillac Eldorado convertible—pinche thing has more power than a B-17 Flying Fortress.) Publisher Santino Rivera also has another awesome anthology—¡Ban This! The BSP Anthology of Xican@ Literature, published in response to the attack on ethnic studies in Arizona and beyond. Order them at brokenswordpublications.com, and Rivera just might throw in a sticker that pays homage to the Sex Pistols and reads: “Never Mind the Hispanics Here Come the Xicanos!” HELL YA!

A Most Imperfect Union: A Contrarian History of the United States: The latest collaboration between essayist Ilan Stavans and legendary cartoonista Lalo Alcaraz, this book is like a graphic-novel version of A People’s History of the United States, but far funnier. And don’t forget to buy all of Lalo’s books, as they remain evergreen gifts.

Speaking of Evergreens: Any of the works of Sam Quinones, Daniel Hernandez, Carey McWilliams, Jody Agius Vallejo and William Nericcio—each, in their own ways, magnificent storytellers of the Mexican experience.

Hispanic Folk Music of New Mexico and the Southwest: A Self-Portrait of a People and New Mexican Folk Music/Cancionero del Folklor Nuevomexicano: Treasures of a People/El Tesoro del Pueblo: Yes, these titles by the always impressive University of New Mexico Press are pricey. But anyone who’s a student of New Mexico or a lover of Latino music must own these tomes, which examine the unique musical traditions of the Land of Enchantment, featuring corridos that date back centuries. The latter comes with a CD, as well—you remember those, right?

Latina/os and World War II: Mobility, Agency, and Ideology: The other great university press for Chican@ thought is the University of Texas Press, and this press’ best effort this year was this anthology regarding the Mexican-American experience in the Good War. Yes, Ken Burns: Latinos fought in the conflict.

The Changs Next Door to the Díazes: Remapping Race in Suburban California: Released late last year by the University of Minnesota Press, this fluid ethnography reveals the Reconquista for all its nefariousness: Mexis are moving to the suburbs and joining the middle class. RUN!

Paradise Transplanted: Migration and the Making of California Gardens: University of Southern California sociology professor Pierrette Hondagneu-Sotelo did a pioneering study of Latina domestic workers in 2001, so it made sense that her follow-up in the genre would focus on jardineros. Featuring her usual trenchant analysis and a Studs Terkel ear for letting subjects tell their life story on their own terms.

¡Ask a Mexican!, Orange County: A Personal History and Taco USA: How Mexican Food Conquered America: Because DUH!

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 am a Mexican who owns a successful wholesale liquidation business, which happens to be an industry dominated by Jews, Asians and some gringos. So why does almost everyone, including mexicanos, who visits my warehouse think my business, or any successful business (for that matter), is always owned by a Jew or a gabacho? Can’t a pinche Mexican own a successful business? Just ’cause I’m 5 foot 4, named Armando and don’t look like the typical “business type” and I don’t have a MBA? My customers always assume I’m the sales rep or the forklift operator and ask to speak to the owner or “El Arabe,” and almost always include a statement like, “El dueño es judio, ¿verdad?” Well, no, the damn owner is not judio: soy yo, si este mexicanito es el dueno de esta bodega. Like only Jews can own a business? Like the stupid joke says, “Two Jews walked into a bar … and bought the place.” Yeah, I don’t think it’s funny, either.

Que la chingada, attention everyone: My pockets may not be as deep as those fucking camellos, but we are getting there. Échame la mano to my Mexican-owned business. I’m thinking about putting up a sign like during the Rodney King riots: “MEXICAN OWNED” … or maybe not, mis gabacho clients se van asustar.

P.S. A Mexican designed our website, not Patrick or Chang. I support the cause.

Mexican Businessman—Believe It

Dear Wab: OK, we get it: You’re not a Jew, and you don’t like Arabs. (Calling Arabs “camels”? Everyone knows Mexicans call Arabs “Talibans” if they want to be insulting.) But the reason why people are so surprised you own a business is because there’s nearly not enough of ustedes.

“Mexican-American Entrepreneurship,” a 2008 study by Robert W. Fairlie and Christopher Woodruff, showed that only 5.1 percent of Mexican-American men were business owners, compared to 12.6 percent of gabachos. The researchers blamed—surprise, surprise!—U.S. immigration policy that kept Mexicans undocumented and away from the pathways to owning a legitimate business.

On the other hand, recent research by University of Southern California professor Jody Agius Vallejo and others shows Mexican Americans getting into the middle class by starting their own businesses—and in some ways succeeding more than other immigrants based on how low they started. And the Mexican would argue that Mexicans are born small-business owners. Selling oranges at freeway exits? Small businessperson. Tamales from car trunks? Small businessperson. Jornaleros, cutting grass for gabachos, screwing wives gabachos don’t screw properly? Small businessperson, small businessperson, small businessperson.

Why do my 90-pound junior-high students wear three and four white T-shirts (all sized 6x or larger), layered one on top another in 100-degree heat … and then complain about the heat?

Maestro De Foto

Dear Photography Teacher Gabacho: Por pendejos—DUH.

Then again, logic and fashion sense among American high schoolers of any ethnicity go together like the PRI and clean government.

¡ASK A MEXICAN! VIDEOS ARE BACK!

Gentle cabrones: after a years-long hiatus, I’ve relaunched the video version of this columna. Follow my weekly rants on Twitter by clicking the hashtag #askamexican, and ask away. Enjoy!

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: Why is it that many first-generation Latino students are so quick to judge and alienate second-generation students, just because their parents went to college and are able to afford a little more? This happened to me recently. People treat me differently and think I will look down on them, yet I grew up in the barrio and never acted like I was higher than them. The only difference with my life is that my parents went to college to give me a better life. Why does that have to affect how I’m treated among other Latinos?

Pocha Pero No Pendeja

Dear Wabette: I turn the columna over to Jody Agius Vallejo, sociology professor at the University of Southern California and author of the magnificent Barrios to Burbs: The Making of the Mexican-American Middle Class, for which your humble Mexican wrote the intro. Take it, profe!

“Many first-generation Latinos (meaning that they are foreign-born) are quick to judge some second-generation Latinos like you, because they themselves are constantly judged by middle-class Latinos. Most people mistakenly assume that Latinos exhibit ethnic solidarity, and that everyone gets along. However, the Latino population is not monolithic, and divisions exist depending on national origin, generation and whether you are upper, middle or lower class. These divisions are exacerbated by American society (especially the media and racist politicians), which homogenizes and stigmatizes Latinos by portraying them as uniformly poor, unauthorized and uneducated.

“Despite these stereotypes, there is an established, and growing, Latino middle class. But middle-class Latinos must deal with these disparaging stereotypes in their everyday lives, especially when they are mistaken for unauthorized immigrants or when people assume that they are uneducated simply because they are Latino. Thus, middle-class Latinos, especially those who are disconnected from the immigrant struggle for upward mobility because they were raised in middle-class households by college educated parents, often attempt to distance themselves from immigrants as a way to deflect discrimination. This distancing behavior is nothing new and is seen among all immigrant groups, past and present, and is indicative of the American assimilation story. So, I suspect that some first-generation Latino students anticipate that you will look down on them, and they thus snub you before you can (in their imagination) snub them.”

The Mexican’s advice? Tell the haters que se vayan a la chingada. And now you know why Vallejo is an acclaimed professor, while the Mexican teaches at the College of the Calles.

I recently went to a heavy-metal show for a band from Spain called Mägo de Oz. The show was at the Los Angeles Sports Arena, and the two opening acts were local Mexican heavy-metal bands, so needless to say, the majority of fans at this show were Mexican metal heads.

I work in the music biz and thus I go to my fair share of both Anglo and Latino concerts/shows on a regular basis. One thing I notice is the nature of the mosh pits at hard rock, metal, punk, ska and similar kinds of shows: They look like any Anglo mosh pit, with the fans literally trying to kill one another, often times leaving people severely injured. But Mexican/Latino mosh pits seem to be composed of fans locking arms, dancing with one another, and a no-man-left-behind kind of attitude.

Can you explain why there’s so much brotherly love in these mosh pits when in the outside world, it seems like Latinos love to bash and cut down their fellow paisas?

El Vampiro

Dear Vampire Gabacho: Not necessarily true—go to a concert by Brujería, the most-hardcore metal group of all time, and authors of the single greatest stanza in history. (“Matando güeros/Ricky Ramirez style”—“Killing white people/Richard (The Nightstalker) Ramirez style.” Even Gershwin couldn’t come up with something that beautiful!) Then see what part of your spleen hasn’t been absorbed by your appendix.

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 Readers: Behold your favorite Mexican’s annual Christmas gift guide, where I give shout-outs to some of my favorite books that deserve your money this holiday season! And for once, I won’t recommend my books—¡Ask a Mexican!, Orange County: A Personal History, and Taco USA: How Mexican Food Conquered America—as gifts … oh, wait, I just did! In all honesty, while I always appreciate ustedes buying my libros and handing them out as regalos, the following items are just as chingones, if not more so.

The Perennials: I’ve plugged the following books in the past, and I’ll never stop plugging them, because they’re magnificent: North From Mexico by Carey McWilliams (the first serious history on Mexicans in the United States, by the legendary progressive journalist); Tex(t)-Mex: Seductive Hallucinations of the “Mexican” in America by William Nericcio (to quote myself last year, a “scabrous take on Mexicans in the American imagination”); Barrios to Burbs: The Making of the Mexican-American Middle Class by USC professor Jody Agius Vallejo (a beautifully written analysis of how Mexis move up in societal circles, with an intro by your favorite Mexican); and anything by Lalo Alcaraz (the legendary cartoonista whose Latino USA—written alongside famous profe Ilan Stavans—is getting republished next year, with even more history); and Sam Quinones (who’s currently working on a book about America’s drug epidemic).

The Oldies-but-Goodies: The Mexican never stops reading, so here are some classics worth revisiting; all are great starting points for those of ustedes who want to know your Chicano history: The Decline of the Californios: A Social History of the Spanish-Speaking Californians, 1846-1890 by Leonard Pitt (a late-1960s tome that explains in depressing detail how California’s Mexican-hating roots began); “With His Pistol in His Hand": A Border Ballad and Its Hero by Américo Paredes (a pioneering folklore study on the corridos surrounding Tejano hero Gregorio Cortez, written by one of the godfathers of Chicano Studies); and Occupied America, the ultimate textbook on Chicano Studies—because it’s the only one worth plugging.

The Newbies: Standing on Common Ground: The Making of a Sunbelt Borderland, by Northwestern professor Geraldo L. Cadava, is a much-needed, wonderfully researched, well-written overview of an often-forgotten part of Aztlán: Arizona. (I mean, Arizona is always part of the conversation due to Arpayaso and all of its Know Nothing politicians, but we rarely talk about the good of the state, other than Linda Ronstadt and bacon-wrapped hot dogs). Hotel Mariachi: Urban Space and Cultural Heritage in Los Angeles by Catherine L. Kurland is an awesome ethnography of the mariachis of Boyle Heights, with stunning photos giving readers a sense of place; it’s published by the always-impressive University of New Mexico Press. Finally, but definitely not least, a massive shout-out to Everything Begins and Ends at the Kentucky Club, a collection of short stories by El Paso writer Benjamin Alire Sáenz that won this year’s prestigious PEN/Faulkner Award for Fiction—a huge victory not just for Chicano literature, but also small presses, as the cabrones who published it were my pals at Cinco Puntos Press.

The Pomade: So it’s not a book, but I also urge ustedes to buy the man in your family Orange County’s own Suavecito Pomade, which has an iron grip and floodlight shine that nevertheless washes out easily. It’s the only product this Mexican allows on his pompadour! Get it, hombre, at suavecitopomade.com, or tell your barber to stock some.

And remember, folks: When you wrap up these gifts, make sure to stuff them in Xbox One boxes to trick the recipient—it’s the Mexican way!

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!

Published in Ask a Mexican

Dear Mexican: Longtime reader, first-time writer.

I watched the brown-pride marches of the early 1970s and heard the shouts of La Raza, and heard how it was going to be different now that the “Chicano” had arrived. The Mexicans were going to change things for the greater good. I remember when President Ronald Wilson Reagan gave amnesty to some 3 million illegal Mexican immigrants, and hearing how this was going to change things once and for all, bringing the Mexicans into American society with welcome arms and citizenship. Nothing was going to hold the Mexicans down now. And here we are.

Mexico might not be falling, as you say, but the police, the military and the citizens seem unable to stop the killing. Predominantly Latino school districts in Santa Ana and Los Angeles are failing; Latinas are having babies out of wedlock at the rate of Guatemalans; and the young Latinos are still tagging and banging. I believe that Mexicans re-colonizing not only the Southwest, but of most of America, will take only a matter of time, with brown pride and illegitimate children filling this great country.

So what are you going to do with it, Mexican? History does not paint a very bright future for a Latino-controlled America.

Reading The Turner Diaries to Prepare

Dear Gabacho: Sure it does! Rather than me offering you my usual pendejadas, I’ll direct you to the research of an ¡Ask a Mexican! pal, University of Southern California professor Jody Agius Vallejo, whose book Barrios to Burbs: The Making of the Mexican-American Middle Class was just released in paperback (with a rambling intro by your favorite Mexican).

Her pioneering research shows how, contrary to Know Nothing assertions, Mexicans are following the same assimilation and financial-achievement patterns as previous immigrant groups. Can’t argue with facts, yet I’m sure you will, which only shows why your kind deserves your half-brown grandkid destiny.

I have always wondered why high-achieving Mexican-American men tend to date/marry white women. I have noticed that since I was an undergraduate; now I work in academia, and most of the Chicano professors are married to white women. (WHAT AN OXYMORON.) Also, it seems that the more power a Mexican-American man has (whether it’s in academia or politics), the more likely he is to marry a white woman.

What is this phenomenon about? Are educated Latinas threatening to high-achieving Chicanos? Are we too complex? What gives? I know this is a rather sensitive matter, and no one seems to want to talk. What is your take on the issue?

A Xicana Scholar in San Antonio

Dear Wabette: Your assumption is correct. A 2012 Pew Research Center study on intermarriage in los Estados Unidos put it thusly: “For newly married Hispanic men and women, marrying a white person is associated with a college education.”

But if anything, you smarty-art Chicanas marry gabachos at a HIGHER rate: Nearly 33 percent of mexicanas who marry a gabacho are college-educated, compared with about 23 percent of scholarly Mex-men who marry white.

The Pew people didn’t get into the “why” of the matter, but I’d argue it’s because of the scandalously low amount of Latinos in college—coeds tend to get with what’s around, you know?

All this said, chula, ALL Mexican men want a gabachita at some point in their lives, regardless of class—witness the shout-outs given to the wetbacks who nailed American women in Los Alegres de Teran’s “El Corrido de los Mojados,” and “El Mojado Acaudalado” by Los Tigres del Norte. (Your humble Mexican can boast of a mick and a Yid in his past.) Nothing against you fine-ass Xicanas, but dating a white woman is the ultimate status symbol for hombres—not so much for the prestige, but so we can get our share of the romance Reconquista.

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!

Published in Ask a Mexican

Dear Readers: Behold your favorite Mexican's annual Christmas gift guide, where I give shout-outs to some of my favorite books that deserve your money this holiday season! And for once, I won't recommend my books—¡Ask a Mexican!, Orange County: A Personal History, and Taco USA: How Mexican Food Conquered America—as gifts ... oh wait, I just did! In all honesty, while I always appreciate ustedes buying my libros and handing them out as regalos, the following items are just as chingones, if not more so.

Juan in a Hundred: The Representation of Latinos on Network News: This book won't be published until early January, but preorder this masterful analysis of the paucity of Mexis on la tele, and the laughable representations that do make it through. Author Otto Santa Ana is a UCLA profe who boils down reams of data into a clear, well-written analysis that will have you rooting for the demise of the networks.

Anything by Cinco Puntos Press: You might've read a recent New York Times story decrying the lack of Latinos in children's books. And while you don't necessarily need Mexis in a book to get Mexi kids reading (although I must admit, I always thought Tales of a Fourth-Grade Nothing was set on a Zapatista community in Chiapas), the Times article was wrong: There are a chingo of children's and young-adult books featuring Mexis, and some of the best come from Cinco Puntos Press in El Paso. Run by my amigo Bobby Bird, one of the most Mexican gabachos you'll ever meet, Cinco Punto's books are wonderfully illustrated, hilarious—and they also sell great non-fiction for adults. Check them out at www.cincopuntos.com.

Anything by Lalo Alcaraz and Sam Quinones: I plug these guys ever year for a reason—not only are they amigos and mentors, but they're the titans of their respective fields. Alcaraz, of course, draws awesome cartoons, but this year also saw the advent of his pocho.com, what The Onion would be if it were Chicano and funny (recent story: "Realization: Man watches telenovelas for boobs, not to learn Spanish"). And Los Angeles Times reporter Quinones just happens to be one of the best narrative reporters in the country, with his books, True Tales From Another Mexico and Antonio's Gun and Delfino's Dream: True Tales of Mexican Migration, the best books on Mexico since Insurgent Mexico—and you should buy that one, también!

Tex(t)-Mex: Seductive Hallucinations of the Mexican in America: Another annual plug because it deserves it, this scabrous take on Mexicans in the American imagination is penned by the eternally brilliant, eternally cochino William Nericcio. Rumor has it his next desmadre appears next year—grab that one, too.

Barrios to Burbs: The Making of the Mexican-American Middle Class: Shout-out to las mujeres! USC professor Jody Agius Vallejo penned a brilliant look into the Mexicans Americans don't want to acknowledge: those who aren't poor or cholos. She makes her fluid arguments with stats, great citations and amazing anecdotes—the opening scene in her book sounds like a Horace Greeley fable come to life mixed in with a Lupe Ontiveros fantasy and is written sans academia's stultifying pedantry.

An Atlas of Historic New Mexico Maps, 1550-1941: This gorgeous coffee-table book published by the University of New Mexico Press presents pictures of all sorts of maps, along with brief histories of them and detailed close-ups. Perfect for the nerd in your family—and you know every Mexican family has at least two.

And remember folks: when you wrap up these books, make sure to stuff them in XBox 360 boxes to trick the recipient—it's the Mexican way!

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!

Published in Ask a Mexican