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Last updateTue, 18 Sep 2018 1pm

Ask a Mexican

05 Mar 2014
Dear Mexican: My dad says that when he was a kid growing up in Downey, Calif., they used to open the local plunge (pool) to mexicanos and negritos only on Thursdays, because the pool was cleaned once a week on Friday mornings. Is this an accurate account of racism in the 1940s or an exaggeration? Do you know of other blatant racial policies back then, and which ones still exist against Mexicans today? Pocho Pendejo Who Can Barely Hablo Español Dear Pocho: Absolutely true story. Gabachos think that the desegregation movement was a primarily African-American affair, but that’s nowhere near the verdad—fact is, Mexican Americans not only suffered a lot of the same discrimination (work, school, housing and even pools) as African Americans; they were also at the forefront of the legal battle to overturn such pendejo laws—especially in Southern California. For instance, a Mexican American from Fullerton named Alex…
26 Feb 2014
Dear Mexican: Why is there, in every Mexican family, a jealous cousin driven by insecurity? Must Excuse Vulgar-Ass Lingual Expression Dear ME VALE: Take your pick. It’s because a) Your dad unwittingly insulted his or her dad back in the rancho when they were boys, and your cousin was taught to hate you as a result; b) Your mom unwittingly insulted his or her mom back in the rancho when they were girls, and your cousin was taught to hate you as a result; c) Your tío or tía insulted his or her aunt or uncle back in the rancho when they were children, and your cousin was taught to hate you as a result, d) Your abuelitos hated on his or her grandparents back in the rancho when they were young adults, and your cousin was taught to hate you as a result; or e) You unwittingly insulted your…
19 Feb 2014
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…
12 Feb 2014
Dear Mexican: I know an 18-year-old who is getting deported from the United States. He has been here since he was 5 years old. His entire family is here and undocumented. He grew up in juvenile halls and committed a felony as soon as he turned 18. Will he be deported for sure, or will the immigration judge give him a break since his entire family is here? Deportations Are for Dummies Dear Gabacho: Alas, homeboy is probably going, going adiós. The Obama administration’s Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), which allows undocumented youngsters a two-year stay of deportation (subject to renewal) until Congress gets its amnesty act together, specifically states that candidates aren’t eligible if they’ve “been convicted of a felony, significant misdemeanor, three or more other misdemeanors, and … pose a threat to national security or public safety.” While I don't know the circumstances of the guy you’re…
05 Feb 2014
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…
29 Jan 2014
Dear Mexican: I am a butt-white Irish guy, stoked to be married to a beautiful Chicana. Her familia is from a gorgeous rancho deep in the corazón of Zacatecas, and I’ve been wanting to experience all of the ranchero lifestyle I keep hearing about from my acquired familia mexicanos (and from those songs at all of the truly awesome parties we attend just about every weekend). However, our State Department has warned Americans to not travel into Mexico due to the violence by the drug cartels. Tales of decapitated bodies strewn across highways throughout Mexico have aired on just about all of the Spanish-speaking noticias. (I watch so I can practice my español, and drool over the female newscasters—¡que caliente!) Additionally, I’ve gotten such a mixed response from my compas of Mexican origin that now I’m as confused as my Irish grandpa was during Prohibition! Some of the family and…
22 Jan 2014
Dear Mexican: I have a question for you about los mexicanos and the Transportation Security Administration, the most hated, useless government agency. I’ve heard that the TSA does illegal Immigration and Customs Enforcement dragnets at airports to catch illegal aliens. My problem with the TSA is that I get pulled aside for “special screening” every single time that I fly. It is infuriating. Does getting targeted by the TSA happen to you or other mexicanos? How can I stop this TSA harassment from happening, short of wearing a gabacha wig to try to “look more American”? It’s humiliating to get treated like that by the asshole TSA agents, and it pisses me off that they are abusing their power to target mexicanos. C’mon, TSA: Your job is to protect travelers of all nationalities, not to do unlawful dragnets to target immigrants. Am I getting searched every single time for other…
15 Jan 2014
Dear Mexican: I work for one of those progressive companies. Most of the gabacho bosses are actually pretty cool … at least when your back isn’t turned. There are a few a-holes; there will always be a few—and they’ve got gigs lined up in talk radio. Sabes que … what drives me bananas is when the company puts “initiatives” together to at least TRY to advance nuestra people in the company, bring more of nuestra people in, get us more edumacated, whatever. Then a lot of nuestra people are asleep at the wheel—they don’t take advantage/contribute/get involved. Then the next time I hear from them, all they do is bitch, whine and complain about how the man is against them/us or ridicule the “initiative.” Who peed in their Cheerios? What’s up with the cynicism? Ching-gauh! (Spelling?) I want to say something to them, but I don’t know what. Edumacated Mexican…
08 Jan 2014
Dear Mexican: How do we humanize the illegals in this country? My reasons for asking this question are many, including a very personal one. I’ve been in this country illegally for 16 years, y ya chole no? For 16 years, I lived my life like anyone else—going to school and working. Eventually, I became a teacher for the public schools. It is too long to explain how I did all this. I knew it would come to an end at some point—as the gringos say, the shit would hit the fan eventually. Well, it has, and now I am a nanny to my best friend’s kid. We were talking one day and decided that if anything were to happen—if I was arrested or in trouble for some reason—she could be judged as a bad mother for leaving her child with a criminal such as myself. You, see I am no…
01 Jan 2014
Dear Mexican: One of my pet peeves: Latinos who pronounce their last names with Anglo accents—for example, Rod-driguez instead of Roh-driguez. I would love it if you’d address this. Personally, I believe we Latinos should educate Anglos on correct pronunciation. Gomez the Groper Dear Wab: Before you start correcting Anglos and pochos on how to properly pronounce Hispanic surnames, you might want to take a remedial course—it’s Roh-drEE-gehz (emphasis on the second syllable; hence the use of an accent over the i in Rodríguez). But your question reminds me of a Hollywood story that might just be apocryphal, but it's is a good one. Seems there was a Mexican who wanted to make it into the film industry as a—take your pick—writer, producer or director. His last name was Torres, and he couldn’t find a gig. Desperate, the man changed his last name to Towers, and he cried all the…