CVIndependent

Wed08232017

Last updateFri, 16 Sep 2016 12pm

Ask a Mexican

25 Jan 2017
Dear Mexican: Recently at the local Northgate market, I saw a man wearing a T-shirt that said “MEXICAN” followed by a clarification: “NOT Latino: Latinos are Anglo Europeans from Italy. NOT Hispanic: Hispanics are Anglo Europeans from Spain.” I may be crazy, I’m pretty sure the words for those two descriptions are “Italian” and “Spanish.” Do I need to start telling my family members that we are actually of Latino descent? What’s the proper term so I don’t refer to all such people as “Mexicans” like an asshole? Dago Dino Dear Gabacho: Don’t pay attention to that T-shirt; it’s the mindless droppings of a group of yaktivists who long ago declared your beloved Mexican the biggest vendido in Aztlán, beating even Carlos Menstealia and Paul Rodriguez. Mexicans are Latinos in the way Americans are North American: an identity of convenience, not a matter of the corazón. The only time Mexicans…
18 Jan 2017
Dear Mexican: I was wondering if you could shed some light on the debate on whether 29 percent of Mexicans/Hispanic voters really voted for Trump, or whether it was much less, like other polls show. The Poll y Voces Dear Pocho: Exit polls are like the PRI: full of shit, full of money and incredibly pendejo yet dangerous. But I’ve been mucho amused by Latino organizations, political scientists and all Trump-haters attacking exit polls that showed nearly a third of Latinos going for Cheeto Dick. Instead, they’ve pushed their numbers, which unsurprisingly show raza voting for Hillary Clinton in overwhelming numbers against Donald Trump. It really doesn’t matter: The point is that not enough of us went out to vote against Trump, and more than a few Mexicans voted for him for reasons I’ve stated in this columna: We like strongmen; the more macho the better. Even more importantly, a…
11 Jan 2017
Dear Mexican: Why is Mexican Spanish so maligned by the rest of the Hispanic world (even Dominicans!)? It doesn’t make any sense to me, but am I making a mistake in learning Mexican-accented Spanish? No Puedo Usar Accentos Dear I Can’t Use Accents: Have you ever talked to Colombians? At some point, they inevitably say that their Spanish is the best in the world, that someone from the Real Academia Española said it was so, and therefore, it’s true. While I like Colombians (they’re as happy and drunk and angry as us Mexicans, and they gave the world cumbia), that’s an urban legend as preposterous as the one that maintains the husband of a jealous lover murdered Javier Solís. It’s true that the rest of Latin America trashes Mexican Spanish for supposedly being lower-class than other Spanish varieties, but EVERYONE trashes everyone’s Spanish. Argentine Spanish gets mocked for being wannabe…
04 Jan 2017
Dear Mexican: What your thoughts are on the use of Lotería cards as decorative elements, specifically when used by people without Mexican heritage? Lotería cards are beautiful and interesting, but is using an image from the cards without a connection to any specific history, culture or meaning (like on a tote bag or the like) a disrespectful appropriation? Or is it just a fun game like checkers that happens to include some interesting artwork? Not Columbusing, Just Asking Dear Gabacha: While gabachos have appropriated Mexican everything ever since they took our cuitlaxochitl flowers and renamed them poinsettias after some pendejo ambassador or other, I’m a bit more lax with Lotería. While this bingo-esque board game goes back to the 1700s, its most iconic pictograms—like the bare-chested mermaid “La Sirena” or the derelict borracho called, fittingly enough, “El Borracho”—aren’t cultural patrimony so much as the intellectual property of Don Clemente, Inc.,…
28 Dec 2016
Dear Mexican: How come you call yourself a Mexican? By definition, you’re a Chicano, not a Mexican. A Mexican is a person who was born and raised in Mexico, not beautiful Orange County. A Mexican is a person who is proud of his country and appreciates and respects the Mexican flag, even though he left the country years ago. A Mexican read the free textbooks provided by the Secretaria de Educación Pública during his school years and studied Mexican history. A Mexican is a person who sang the Mexican national anthem every Monday morning while watching six kids carry the flag around. Mexicans know the difference between the more than 150 chiles that exist in our country. Mexicans grew up eating candies with different chiles. Mexicans watch Televisa and Televisión Azteca, not Telemundo or Univisión. Mexicans speak fluent Spanish, not Spanglish. Mexicans came to this country to work hard and…
21 Dec 2016
Dear Mexican: I recently saw a picture of you in a newspaper article. I was quite shocked: You appear to have more of a European skin tone. However, I guess since your relatives lived in Mexico in the past 200 years, you think of yourself as a Mexican. I guess I tend to think Mexican-looking people have more of that native flavor or color. And your last name is actually Basque, so this makes sense. Have a good day, my European/Mexican dude. Macho Man in New Mexico Dear Surumato: The town of Arellano, Spain, might be in the autonomous Basque country region of Navarre, but “Arellano” comes from Latin and denotes “farm of Aurelius.” And while one part of my Mexican ancestry came from Europe (a mixture of Portuguese, French and Sephardic Jews, since “Arellano” is listed in the Inquisition rolls), the other part is Chichimeca ready to chingarte for…
14 Dec 2016
Dear Readers: I turn over a December edición of my column each year to new Chicano-Mexican books you should stuff into a tamale leaf and give to folks so they have something to unwrap. While 2016 was a horrible year politically, the Santo Niño de Atocha saved it with a lot of amazing titles. Here we go! Mozlandia: Morrissey Fans in the Borderlands, Melissa Mora Hidalgo: I wrote the foreword to this academic-yet-street take on the eternal question: Why do Mexicans like Morrissey so much? Rather than offer tired ivory tower takes, Profe Melissa interviews fans, goes to Mancheste, and talks about her own worship of Steven Patrick. Fun, instructive, SAVAGE. Food, Health, and Culture in Latino Los Angeles, Sarah Portnoy: Another academic who isn’t afraid of leaving her laptop to do actual research, the University of Southern California professor does everything from talk to celebrity chefs to eaters, farmers…
07 Dec 2016
Dear Mexican: Sooooo...your boy René Redzepi is moving to Mexico. I’m curious to hear your thoughts. From Lagos Dear Loco: Unless the acclaimed Danish chef behind the world-acclaimed Noma is into tamborazo and Antonio Aguilar, he ain’t my compa. But the Scandinavian very well could be nowadays: It was recently announced that he’s opening a pop-up Mexican restaurant in Yucatán, charging an extraordinary $600 a head. So much to unpack here, ¿qué no? Redzepi is the latest gabacho to fall in love with Mexican food—and the latest to gentrify and exotify it. He’s the latest gaba chef to get media attention for his love of Mexican food, while Mexican chefs get ignored—when the fuck is the culinary press going to go on late-night pho runs with Carlos Salgado of Orange County’s Taco Maria, which is only the most important Mexican-American restaurant in the United States? The gringo is even bringing…
30 Nov 2016
Dear Mexican: What’s up with pochos and their disrespect for their origins? I’m a Mexican who was born and raised in Mexico, a proud chilango, and, well, I gotta know: Why do pochos, or Mexican Americans or whatever, try to make our reputation as bad as possible by acting all like gangsters, drug dealers and lazy, ignorant, people? I mean, no kidding: They represent Mexican culture in the U.S.A., and, well, it doesn’t give us real Mexicans a good image, especially the working ones. I mean, I’m not poor, but I was born poor, and my best example is my dad, who busted his butt off, working for us to get where we are. So, why do pochos depict us as low-rider drivers who do drive-bys, and lazy guys who are ignorant and know nothing? I mean, I got pushed back to eighth-grade again when I studied in the U.S.…
23 Nov 2016
Dear Mexican: We have Mexican teenagers in my apartment building who are chronic troublemakers. My question to you is: Why do Mexicans break the rules, refuse to be corrected, and harass us senior citizens? Why is it always the Mexicans who are the worst? Is it in their culture? Or are these just uneducated low-lifes? Their fathers are nowhere in sight. The management here and the cops can hardly keep up with them—probably because they’re Mexicans, too. Frustrated Dear Gabacho: You didn’t give me specifics, so I’m not sure if the young Mexicans in questions are merely playing in the hallway in violation of apartment rules or making you pay a protection “tax.” I’m thinking the former, because Mexicans are taught to revere viejitos as if they were their own abuelitas, so they rarely disrespect the elderly. Since you’re claiming Mexican cops and apartment managers are conspiring to protect the…