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Ask a Mexican

10 Dec 2014
Dear Mexican: I’m a third-year university student, a liberal studies and Spanish major. My family, extended and immediate, always like the chisme. During a family carne asada, we were all talking when one of my tías asked me what I was doing with my life—she and the rest of my aunts seemed like they genuinely wanted to know. But when I told them that I only needed one more year to graduate, it seemed as if I had said something wrong. They stared at me, said nothing, and completely ignored what I said. One of my aunts did a small gesture to acknowledge what I said, but other than that, they continued their talk about the novella they saw the previous night. My family is extremely close, and we really want the best for each other, so I was taken aback when this happened. No one in our family has…
03 Dec 2014
Dear Mexican: I teach writing at a local community college. My students are writing their final essays on a local problem; I have one student who has decided to write about illegal immigration (specifically, Mexican immigration). We were discussing, as a class, each student’s project, and a student made a comment that I wish I had reacted to differently. He said that he encounters a number of Mexicans who can’t speak English fluently, and since speaking English must make it easier to gain legal citizenship/entry, he assumes that all (or most) of the Spanish-speaking Mexicans must be illegals. My response was to skip over the racism and move on to another student. What should I have said? Troubled Teacher Dear Gabacha: Grow some ovaries, mujer! It’s your job as a profe to call out your students on their reliance on Wikipedia, their horrendous grammar, and especially any racist assumptions they…
26 Nov 2014
Dear Mexican: I was reading the comments (BIG MISTAKE) on an article I recently read regarding St. Charles, Mo., adopting an Arizona-style immigration law. I was shocked at the amount of people who support this law, and my question to you is: Why can’t people see the bad implications of that law? What are we, World War II Germany, where we need to show our papers? I’m outraged that in this day and age, there are so many folks racist against Mexicans. I’ve made people very angry by standing against the immigration law and the racial profiling of Mexicans. How is it that people can stand against racially profiling black Americans, and fully support the profiling of Mexicans? And they refuse to believe they are racists. HELP ME—please give me a good point of debate for these people who honestly believe that show-me-your-paper laws are lawful. I’ve tried to make…
19 Nov 2014
Dear Mexican: Why do Mexicans and gabachos resemble each other so much? Both are very conservative about sex, marriage and family. Both are very Christian, either Catholic or Protestant. Both keep similar attitudes toward immigrants. Both are very patriotic or nationalistic. Both deal with the same social issues like high rates of sexual and domestic abuse, homosexuality and alcoholism. In both countries, there’s strong feminism as a reaction against decades of machismo and discrimination toward women. There’s a striking similarity between Texan cowboys and rancheros. Since Mexicans and gabachos look so different in the American society, how can this be possible? The Guatemalan Dear Chapín: Your Yucateco Mayan cousins have a saying: “In Lak’ech,” which translates into Spanish as “Tú eres mi otro yo,” which you can Beatle-ize into “I am you and you are me”—look it up! The Mayas knew that opposites not only attract; they’re frequently dos sides…
12 Nov 2014
Dear Mexican: I’m interested in a job that says it is a plus to have an understanding of Latin, Spanish and Mexican music. I found out names of musical styles such as Tejano, norteño, mariachi, banda, cumbia, merengue, flamenco and so on. I’m wondering if there is a way to form a “good ear” for the different styles of music, and, if I’m asked, a way to learn how to explain the different styles of music on a structural basis—and know something about the artists in the different genres. I know they have introduction books and CD programs for classical and jazz, but was wondering if there was a similar one for Latin music—or some similar learning method. Can ya help a gabacho out here? Also: Will this kind of knowledge give me an “in” with the Latin ladies, or does that just come with salsa-dancing? Gabacho Who Seeketh Knowledge…
05 Nov 2014
Dear Mexican: I’m a half-Mexican, more American than Mexicant (although to Cockasians, I’m sure I’m just another brown spot on their white carpet). I don’t speak Espanole nor do I care to, not because I’m ashamed, but I just don’t feel the need. If I lived in another county, I would need to, but I live in white-washed Southern California, and 80 percent of my interactions are English transactions. In the small percentage of meetings with fellow Mexis, when I confess that I don’t know Spanish, I get the frustrated angry jeers and, in one occasion, ridiculed. I’m insulted that just because my TACO skills are less than theirs, I have to be shafted. Here’s the thing: Is it REALLY a big deal that I don’t know Spanish? Why can’t I just be left alone and not have to explain my reasons and FUCK! It’s just like my veganism explanation:…
29 Oct 2014
Dear Mexican: Why do Mexican men think all of us gabachas are like the girls in The Bikini Carwash Company? I am married, a conservative dresser, and frankly not very good-looking at all (but I do have blonde hair, so maybe that counts for something on a guy’s internal whore-o-meter), and I speak karate-choppin’ good Spanish. In fact, that’s my job: I interpret for Spanish speakers when they go to the doctor’s office. So then why—dear GOD WHY?—when I interpret for a Mexican man, does he seems culturally required to at some point say something gross to me? Here’s a real life example from last week: “Rafael”—like so many people who work in dangerous jobs no güero would accept—got hurt at work a year ago, when he fell from an impossible height onto concrete and barely lived to tell the tale. He had a series of doctor’s appointments wherein he…
22 Oct 2014
Dear Mexican: What do Mexicans in the United States think of the violent drug-cartel problem in Mexico? Do local Latinos cringe with disgust or fear when they hear another drug-cartel story on the news … or do they feel a sense of disconnect, because they are living in America now, and it’s no longer a concern of theirs? Do local Latinos fear crossing the San Diego/Mexico border? Do they worry about being kidnapped or carjacked on the way to Rosario like Caucasian people do right now? Yo Gabba Gabacho Dear Gabacho: Mexicans can be scared of the cartels all they want, but far more frightening to the majority of the population is the Mexican legal system. Police officers in the state of Guerrero are being investigated in the kidnapping of more than 40 student teachers; last year, a judge set free Rafael Caro Quintero, the notorious drug lord implicated in…
15 Oct 2014
Editor’s Note: This week’s edition of ¡Ask a Mexican! features an incredibly well-researched answer to a question about a famous claim involving shows in Tijuana, women and a certain animal. Viewer discretion is advised, and you probably should avoid reading this at work, unless your employer is really, really cool. However, you should definitely NOT skip this column; you’ll learn something. Actually, you’ll learn a lot. Enjoy! Dear Mexican: I’ve heard that the Tijuana donkey show featuring a female whore is not real, other than the fact that they bring out a donkey and do some simulation for people who are drunk. Down-Low Loco Dear Gabacho: You’re right—and after months of research, the Mexican can confirm the full history of donkey shows, the supposed borderlands specialty in which women have sex with donkeys before a live, paying audience. Not only are they not a thing in Tijuana (or Juarez or…
08 Oct 2014
Dear Mexican: Why don’t Mexicans tip decently? I labor as a waitress in a local upscale steakhouse where, unfortunately, many Mexicans eat—and the lousy tips are starting to piss me off! Even blacks tip better! (Although, I gotta say, Mexicans are much easier to wait on. No constant requests for “So’ mo’ ranch dressin’.”) And yes: I always give good service on the one-in-a-million chance the brown-skinned loser sitting at my table isn’t a complete social retard. Could you possibly pass the word along so I can quit spitting in their drinks? Waits on Too Many Wabs Dear Gabacho: Let’s consult the findings of Cornell University professor Michael Lynn, the country’s premier scholar on tipping. In a 2003 study titled “Ethnic Differences in Tipping: Evidence, Explanations and Implications,” Lynn examined the long-standing claims by waiters that minorities tip less than gabachos. He analyzed the responses of nearly 2,000 eaters in…