CVIndependent

Thu09292016

Last updateFri, 16 Sep 2016 12pm

Ask a Mexican

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…
07 Sep 2016
Dear Mexican: I employ two lovely ladies who clean my home and take care of my toddler two days a week when I go out to run errands. They are loving and kind and take superb care of her. My daughter adores them, and they adore her. From the minute I brought my baby home, I asked them to speak Spanish to the baby so she would grow up bilingual. For some reason, they will not do it, unless I really push them—and then they speak Spanglish to her, as in, “Do you want more leche?” That isn’t going to help my child learn Spanish. What really frustrates me is that their English is not all that great. I don’t want my child pronouncing shoes as choos, and chicken as shicken, and I don’t want her using no double negatives. My husband and I speak English very well, and we…
31 Aug 2016
Dear Mexican: Why is it that mid-30s Mexican heinas let their bush go all out? And then they get mad ’cause you ain’t eatin’ them? I Won’t Make a Pink Taco Joke, Promise Dear Pocho: Bruh, you’ve watched too much porn—you really think expecting women to have no pubic hair so they can look prepubescent is healthy? That’s pedophile territory right there—I should call To Catch a Predator on you. If the mexicanas you bed are au natural, it’s because they’re in touch with Pachamama and rightfully have no shame with what God granted them. As for the second pregunta: I actually answered it a decade ago, with me reporting then that “a 2002 report by the National Center for Health Statistics showed that 74 percent of Latino men had performed cunnilingus at one point in their life.” Now comes the 2010 results from the Centers for Disease Control and…
24 Aug 2016
Dear Mexican: I’m not bilingual, but I am fascinated with the differences and similarities between Spanish and English words and idioms. They often point to interesting differences between the cultures. Some words, like vejigazo (to get smacked in the ass with an inflated cow bladder) are self-explanatory, but there is one that I’d like your help with. I don’t remember the word, because I stumbled across it in a Spanish-English dictionary once right before I fell asleep, but I do remember the definition. It means “to wear for the first time,” and I can’t think of any reason why a culture would need a verb to describe that situation. Do you know what that verb is, and more importantly, can you tell me why Spanish would need it? Thanks very much. El Guapo Dear Handsome Gabacho: The verb is estrenar, derived from the Latin strena, which meant a “favorable omen.”…
17 Aug 2016
Dear Readers: The Mexican is currently in the hills of Kentucky, drinking white dog with the good ol’ chicos while doing tamborazo covers of “Molly and Tenbrooks” and bluegrass versions of “Las Isabeles”—because hillbillies and paisas are brothers from another madre, you know? Anyhoo, onto some oldies-pero-goodies. Salud, and yee-haw! 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 Mexican-Ness? Sexy Mexy Dear Pocho: Abso-pinche-lutely. “The bigger the sombrero,…
10 Aug 2016
Dear Mexican: I’m a gabacho living in a barrio. It took a year after we moved in (we’ve been here for five years now), but I grew accustomed to the bicycle-horn-honking guys selling churros out of grocery carts, the tamale lady selling out of a stroller, the couple selling new clothes out of a panel van, the fruit/vegetable guy who really just sells crappy chips, and the every-other-day yard sales. Don’t get me wrong; I love the “micro-economics” of it all; it’s kind of like living at the ballpark. If you sit there long enough, somebody will show up with something to eat. I’ve started to not jump every time I hear the “Tijuana Doorbell.” A LOT of trash gets thrown into the street and my yard, much of it from the crappy chips the aforementioned fruit guy sells. The trash and the honking still piss me off, but I’m…
03 Aug 2016
Dear Mexican: So how long can you keep up this racist shtick in an area where Latinos are the majority? You’re clever enough to use irony as a device to blunt your own just-kidding racism, but most of the Mexicans and pochos I know don’t care enough to bother with such clever tricks. I’ve lived in L.A. most of the last 30 years, and I’ve worked and lived with many Mexicans and Mexican Americans here. I even married a couple of them. I’m raising a half-Mexican child right now. What I’ve noticed is that Mexican hate for gabachos is surpassed only by their hate for, roughly in order: blacks, non-Mexican Latinos (mostly those from Central American countries closest to Mexico) and Asians. Europeans, with the possible exclusion of the French, are held in relatively high regard—meaning you might not get spit in your burrito if they understand that your whiteness…
27 Jul 2016
Dear Mexican: The word “cholo” means “mixed race” or “mestizo.” So isn’t using “cholo” to refer to gangbangers or other delinquents racist? I’m Cuban, but please don’t group me with idiots like Ted Cruz or Marco Rubio. Cubiche Chula Dear Pocha: There are multiple meanings of “cholo” we’re dealing with here. The word derives from the Nahautl xolo, and its first documented definition was in Alonso de Molina’s epic 1571 Nahuatl-English dictionary, Vocabulario en lengua castellana y mexicana y mexicana y castellana; there, he said the Aztecs took it as “paje, moço, criado, o eƒclavo” (“page, waiter, servant or slave”). Spaniards being Spaniards, they applied the term to refer to the offspring of an Indian and a mestizo. Mexico being Mexico, it then became a palabra to apply to lower-class people, which spread across Latin America and into the United States. Gabachos being gabachos, they took cholo and made it…

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