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Last updateWed, 27 Sep 2017 1pm

Ask a Mexican

20 Mar 2013
Dear Mexican: I’m living in Mexico part of the year. I’m learning Spanish, but I can't say I understand it or speak it well. I read several books about the history of Mexico and think I’m reasonably well-informed. I’m curious about a phrase on a T-shirt in an expensive shop in Puerto Vallarta. It had interesting artwork on it and the phrase "Soy Como la Chingada. Loteria la Tiznada." I asked the storekeeper, a Mexican lady who spoke a little English, what it meant, and she said, “Oh, it's just a joke.” Then a customer who also appeared to be Mexican said it means, “‘I am like the fucked one.’ It's a joke.” I Googled the meaning and gather it means “motherfucker,” but I don't get the lottery part. Does it mean, “I am fucked because I lost the lottery of life”? Anyone who could afford to shop in that…
13 Mar 2013
Dear Mexican: I would be most interested in hearing your point of view regarding our raza always voting for someone with a Latino last name—without even considering whether the vato/vata is qualified for a particular office. I often hear comments like, “If he is Latino, it makes up for all the years of injustice.” But don’t you think that our Mexican forefathers and recent immigrant friends left our native countries because Latino politicians have been unable to govern without corruption? Lately, we have seen what happens when we vote for Latinos without engaging in the issues or their backgrounds—just look at the California cities of Bell, Cudahy and Pico Rivera, where I live. There was recently a race for one of the most important positions that will actually affect Latino students: a Los Angeles Community College District trustee position. In District 6, we have an incumbent güera who everyone agrees…
06 Mar 2013
Dear Readers: The Mexican is currently dealing with deportation issues but will return next week once he builds his 15-foot escalera to climb over that pesky 14-foot wall. Meanwhile, here are some oldies-but-goodies to tide you by like yesterday’s menudo. Enjoy! Dear Mexican: It seems that whenever Chicano professors want to show off their mexicanidad, they wear a guayabera. In fact, I saw a picture of you in the Los Angeles Times donning the shirt, along with Dickies pants and Converse All Stars. How trite and bourgeois! You go to a café or bar in any university town in Mexico, and the students will think you're totally naco. I stopped wearing the guayabera when a friend said I looked like a waiter in a Mexican restaurant. Do certain clothes determine your Mexicanness? Sexy Mexy Dear Wab: Abso-pinche-lutely. “The bigger the sombrero, the wabbier the man” is a commandment all Mexicans…
27 Feb 2013
Dear Mexican: You mentioned in the past that your dad is against illegal immigration, but that's a voice you never hear. Why aren't the legal immigrants and legal aliens “vocally outraged” about the illegals who drive down wages, drive up housing prices, use government services, give all immigrants a bad name, and are on the verge of getting amnesty after cutting in line? The illegal immigrant has very little effect on my life, but seems to have a huge impact on the legal immigrant. My Best Friend is Half-Mexican Dear Gabacho: You don’t hear the voices of legal immigrants in the illegal-immigration debate? Republicans trot those tokens out all the time—look at Marco Rubio. Plus, I can disprove every single point of yours—just buy my book for details! Finally? You say illegal immigration “has very little effect” on your life, yet you took the time to rant, and used legal…
20 Feb 2013
Dear Mexican: In the past, you have defended illegal immigrants by arguing that they (paraphrasing one of your previous columns) will do the jobs gabachos won't do for the same wages. I agree. I have a white-collar job, so I'm totally content to benefit from the low prices brought about by an uneducated underclass unprotected by American labor laws, content in the knowledge that no Mexican will ever take mi trabajo. But now this DREAM Act comes along, encouraging them to go to college, and my job's up for grabs, too? I already have enough competition from the Chinese and the Indians! What possible benefit could this legislation have for a guy like me? (And you know they're just going to spend 95 percent of their time in school chanting “Sí, se puede” anyway.) Nightmare Act Is More Like It Dear Gabacho: I'd rather have college kids chant “Sí se…
13 Feb 2013
Dear Mexican: I'm 39. My stepdad—who raised me—just died. This freed my mother to tell me (my stepdad always forbade it) that the man I thought was my biological father all this time is not. The man who IS my biological father is Mexican … totally (e.g. both of his parents were Mexican). He was married twice, and had seven kids (five with the first wife, two with the second) other than me. It appears I was conceived during his first marriage, as he remained married until death from leukemia in 2008. He was a Hispanic leader in my metro area and even ran once for mayor. What does finding out that I am half-Mexican mean for me? I don't have a meaningful relationship with the man I thought was my biological father. In fact, this news is quite a blessing to me. But I'm kind of paralyzed by it…
06 Feb 2013
Dear Mexican: The pinche Republicans are making a gigante ruido about their “Hispanic” senators in Congress. Wachale! Lets call a pendejo a pendejo. Please discuss with tu audienca what Mexicans really think about Cubans in these Estados Unidos. El Güero Tejano (no Cubano) As a recent transplant from Miami to Albuquerque, I was wondering what the Mexican's take is on the privileged status of our preferred border-crossers—the Cubans. If a Cuban manages to get his little toe on dry land in the U.S., he is immediately given a new Toyota, an American Express card and the keys to the city of Hialeah. Aturdido Floridian Are Cubans Mexicans with connections? Quiero Ron Dear Readers: Beyond Puerto Ricans and negritos, no other ethnic group gets so pegged as the eternal enemy of Mexicans as Cubans. If you believe coños like Rush Limbaugh, Mexicans despise Cubans because it’s “a race thing. (Cubans are)…
30 Jan 2013
Dear Mexican: Grammar question/rant: If Spanglish is a legitimate dialect/language, why do you feel the need to italicize every instance of code-switching? I seriously doubt that when you speak, you emphasize every puta palabra (emphasis intended here), but that's what your articles read like. We all know that you are speaking Spanglish—not a foreign language—so tell the gabacho (no emphasis intended here) editors to back off and let you use italics for what they are intended for: emphasis. Strunk and Brown Dear Wab: Gracias for thinking that Spanglish is a legitimate form of communication—you just made the custodians of Cervantes and shepherds of Shakespeare get angrier than Joe Arpayaso surrounded by a group of Mexicans! But we’re talking two separate cosas here. My linguistic goal with this columna isn’t for America to accept Spanglish, but for American English and its speakers to pick up more Spanish words so that one…
23 Jan 2013
Dear Mexican: In 1983 or 1984, I was walking home from work down Haight Street in San Francisco one evening and stopped at Watusi Records to look through the dollar cutout bin. I flipped through it for a bit and then stopped dead when I saw the Jonny Chingas Pachuco LP. I looked closer, saw what was written in small print on the license plate of the car on the cover (“se me paro”), and went, “Holy shit! I've gotta have this!” The record (especially the title cut and “Corrido del Bato Loco”) was funnier than shit (and musically not too bad). A dozen years later, just after the Internet came in, I ran a search on AltaVista and got a single result, for a little indie record company in East L.A. I wrote to ask them if they had any more Jonny Chingas recordings and received a single-sentence reply:…
16 Jan 2013
Dear Mexican: Can you please tell me something? How do you think it’s fair that all the people who come to our country and stay get treated far better than some of the people who have busted their butt all their lives here? Tell me, how is that fair?! You people take all the white man’s jobs and leave us wondering how to support our families, and you people have NEVER heard of the condom, because if you have noticed—I sure have—your trashy kind are taking over. And you would think that if you go to another country, you would respect the people enough to learn the language spoken, which here in the United States of America is ENGLISH! Please go back where you should be, and stop taking all the benefits white people deserve. You all disgust me. South Carolina Taco Eater Dear Gabacha: This is what I love…