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Last updateFri, 16 Sep 2016 12pm

Ask a Mexican

16 Nov 2016
Dear Mexican: Math problem—If there are 20 Mexicans, 20 Indians, 20 Chinese, 20 Puerto Ricans, 20 blacks and one white person in a room, how many people are there whose identity is used as a benchmark to establish the identities of the rest of the people in the room? (Hint: Not a colored person.) Swimming Upstream Dear Gabacho: The 20 Mexicans—because everyone else will do everything possible to let the world know they’re not Mexican once the deportation train comes along. OPEN LETTER TO MEXICANS AFRAID OF PRESIDENT-ELECT TRUMP Gentle cabrones: fear not. Our raza has gone up against Cortés, Maximilian, Winfield Scott, Porfirio Diaz, the PRI, the narcos, Enrique Peña Nieto, Harrison Gray Otis and Harry Chandler (the founder of the Los Angeles Times and his son-in-law, who owned hundreds of thousands of acres in Mexico and published all sorts of calumny against Pancho Villa, Francisco Madero, and Emiliano…
09 Nov 2016
Dear Mexican: I found your column about Mexican men and spousal abuse, and my question is: Is there any help for this? I’ve been with a Mexican man, who is also an abuser of alcohol. He gets angry out of the blue and starts hitting me, and later realizes what he has done and cries. I had to leave him for my protection, but the feelings between us remain, and I don't know what to do with the situation. Can you provide any comments or help? Abusada Dear Abused: Get out of that relationship—now. But before you leave, coat that pendejo’s toilet paper with habanero powder, so he gets the burn in the culo he deserves. Dear Mexican: How do Mexicans feel about environmental issues—specifically, a population explosion that will cause eventual food shortages? I am told that procreation is a very macho thing for the Mexican male. You have…
02 Nov 2016
Dear Mexican: Why is it that even though we Latinos have similar backgrounds (Indian-Spanish) across America, there is a lack of unity among us here in the USA? We could be a powerhouse during election times, and definitely obtain a friendlier immigration deal. El Peruano Dear Cholo: I usually only answer preguntas about Mexicans, but I’ll make an exception here because of Election Day. And it hierve down to this: Who wants to be united? Latinos certainly don’t. In the Latino world, only Cuba is a country with the same political thought throughout—and look how good it’s working out for them. Although the Mexican’s politics are Marxist of the Grouch variety, I’m also of the escuela that we need Latino conservatives, anarchists, vendidos, progressives, libertarians, Zapatistas, sinarquistas (ok, maybe not them)—all political thoughts. Such diversity keeps us in balance, teaches us about democracy, and will make us stronger as gabachos…
26 Oct 2016
Dear Mexican: ¿Por que no hay un pinche líder entre nosotros o de nosotros los mexicanos? Para que tuviera los tanates bien puestos y hablara frente al congreso y les dijera sus verdades a los hipócritas políticos. ¿Será que “nuestros lideres” son unos miedosos o vendidos? No hay uno solo (solo el Chapulín Colorado) que nos defienda, tanta humillación que han tenido los negros, siempre de sirvientes o mozos, pandilleros y drogadictos (en Hollywood) y nadie protesta y salen con que Memín Penguin es ofensivo, otra de esas y nos subimos el cierre, ¿eh? En serio, “Ask a Mexican,” ¿Como podría yo hablar delante del congreso, local, estatal o federal? ¿Sería mucho pedir? Pónganse las Pilas, Putos Dear Readers: For those of you who still don’t habla—and if you don’t habla, ¿que chingado estas esperando?—the writer asked: Where’s the Mexican leader who’ll take us into the Promised Land of American…
19 Oct 2016
Dear Mexican: As a kid, I grew up with Mexicans who stole things just to steal. As an adult, I see much of the same behavior from adult Mexicans and their children—and I don’t mean just the poor Mexicans. Why is it in their nature for Mexicans to steal? Larcenous Lester Dear Gabacho: The Chicano answer? Mexicans rob as payback for the United States swiping half of Mexico during the Mexican-American War. The sociological view? Poor people tend to commit more burglaries than those who are rich or middle-class, and many Mexicans in los Estados Unidos are a missed paycheck away from the welfare cheese. Or I can sidestep your question and claim that, even if your assertion is true, gabacho embezzlement is ultimately the bigger crime, and refer to the convictions of many top executives as proof. All of these explanations are intellectually dishonest responses—but that’s what your pregunta…
12 Oct 2016
Dear Mexican: I’m asking this question for my best friend, who also happens to be my ex-girlfriend. Both she and her guy are educated Mexican Americans. She moved in with her fiancé at his home. The problem is that his parents also live there. His overbearing mom has seven dogs and numerous chickens, and still does everything for her “baby”—like making his lunch every day and cleaning the room he shares with my ex, and offering her “ranchito” advice on everything. The mom has told her that she will not move until her son asks her to do so. They might try to buy a duplex so they can at least have some privacy, or even a second home. The mother tries to make her feel guilty by saying that it is normal in Mexico, and her son loves the house he worked so hard to buy. Her fiancé might…
05 Oct 2016
Dear Mexican: Help a pocha out—what can I do to reclaim my heritage? I grew up in Orange County with my white mother and half-brothers and sisters who used to tease me that I needed a green card to get home after trips to Rosarito Beach. I now live in my Mexican father’s home (he grew up in Rock Town, Duarte) since inheriting it after he passed in 2010. My father never taught me to speak español, which haunts me … help! For instance, I try to practice my Spanish when I order at the local taco truck. Sometimes, I feel like it’s not well-received, because I get answered back in English. I don’t want to come off as condescending. It’s not that I assume that they don’t know how to speak English—I’m just trying to see if someone other than my boyfriend can understand me. (He’s half-Dominican and shares…
28 Sep 2016
Dear Mexican: I’ve seen black homeless people and white people homeless. How come I’ve never seen a Mexican or a Chinese person being homeless? Get a Pinche Job, Bum Dear Pocho: I can’t answer for chinitos, because the most Chinese thing about me is my love for an orange chicken/chow mein/brown rice lunch combo. But you’re falling into the same trap that many Mexicans fall into on Facebook: Namely, saying that Mexicans never go homeless, because they’d rather sell oranges and flowers on street corners than hold up a sign begging for food like a lazy gabacho. The answer is more complex than a pinche meme. Percentage-wise, Latinos are over-represented on a national level: The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s 2015 Annual Homeless Assessment Report found about 20 percent of homeless people are Latino, just a tick above the 17 percent of Latinos who make up the American…
21 Sep 2016
Dear Mexican: Is pinche considered a “bad” word among Mexican Americans? Or is it like güey, where it’s generally all right? Mandilón in Manhattan Dear Pussy-Whipped Pocho: Don’t forget that among Mexican Americans, #fucktrump is considered appropriate for children 5 and over. But among Mexican Mexicans, pinche (which technically means a short-order cook) is still mostly a synonym for “fucking” in its adverbial sense; I, for instance, would never use it in front of my mami, lest I get the chancla. But, like here in el Norte, Mexican culture keeps coarsening, making pinche more acceptable than ever before. One of the first news stories the Mexican ever wrote was a 2001 piece about how a Mexican yaktivist took out a radio ad calling former California Gov. Gray Davis a pinche güerito—a “fucking little white man.” Tellingly, the AM station bleeped out pinche so it sounded like pin-bleep. Fast-forward to today,…
14 Sep 2016
Dear Mexican: I heard you on NPR describing the various ways that Mexican food images are used to scare white people about the brown hordes from the South coming up here to steal their stuff and take away their ketchup. You used the phrase “greaser” as an example of a culinary-related insult. But I thought “greaser” originated as an occupational term for Mexican helpers on 19th-century cattle drives who were supposed to keep the wagon wheels greased so they wouldn’t jam—not anything related to tacos or deep-fried rellenos or even hair oil. What’s the real story? Gabacho Academic Dear Gabacho: Greaser, for the younger readers out there, was the illegal of its day, an epithet used by gabachos through the 19th century and beyond to degrade Mexicans as inhuman and, well, greasy. It’s nowadays also seen as a food-related epithet, even if it wasn’t originally the case. But, híjole, gabachos…