CVIndependent

Sat08242019

Last updateTue, 18 Sep 2018 1pm

Dear Mexican: In Philadelphia, where I live, there are three Spanish-language stations on regular broadcast television. None of them offer English subtitles. I bet plenty of people of all heritages would like to check out Spanish-language television, or the news from Central America, or whatever, if we could get subtitles. I called one of the stations (Univisión) about it, but they said there are no plans to offer subtitles.

Meanwhile, Channel 35 here in Philly has Chinese, Korean, German, Russian, Polish, and Italian programming, all with subtitles. Your thoughts?

Broad Street Broad

Dear Gabacha: Your letter has been in my ¡Ask a Mexican! archives for so long that your question is no longer relevant—but I’ll todavia answer it, because it allows me to raise a great point.

Last year, Univisión announced it was going to offer English-language captions for most of its telenovelas and even some news programs, although it didn’t necessarily have gabachos in mind. Rather, the move was prompted by Univisión’s realization that assimilation is inevitable in this country, and that if it didn’t acknowledge that English is the ultimate destiny for every Mexican in el Norte, it would become as relevant to the Mexican experience as canned tortillas.

It’s not a new tale—the ethnic press has long had a vibrant place in American letters. (The first Spanish-language newspaper published in los Estados Unidos goes back to the early 19th century.) However, the only ones that survive more than a couple of generations are those that understand they’re only temporary phenomena. That’s why this infernal column also has a shelf life: When the Reconquista is finally complete, I will turn the burro over to my gabacho intern so he can explain America’s largest and whiniest minority to the ruling Mexi class.

I’m a gringa from Iowa, and I’ve been dating my Mexican boyfriend for about three months now. He knows I’m from a background that’s as white as they come, since I’m a German-Norwegian mix. But he fell in love with me because I think I shocked him. See, I speak Spanish; I listen to Spanish music; and we even met at a club for cumbia and bachata dancing. And he is puro mexicano with no English. He always calls me his “sexi gringa/guera” pero; lately, he’s been calling me his mexicana también when we’ve gone out dancing or for drinks. Why is that?

Melodia Confusa

Dear Confused Melody Gabacha: Because he loves you—you’re no longer just a gabacha to screw, but a mujer ready to meet the familia. Better make sure you incorporate chorizo into your hot dish—and I’m not talking about your hoo-hah.

CONFIDENTIAL TO

To the East Los Angeles College familia: Ustedes graciously invited me to be your commencement speaker earlier this year—and I stood ustedes up last week through a calendar error all my own.

I profusely apologize to everyone at East Los Angeles College for insulting you in this way—you deserve so much better. Perdóname, Profe Godinez, my fellow Chapman University alum, who recommended me as the commencement speaker in the first place. A big ol’ :-( to the ELAC student on Twitter who asked a very simple question: "Donde estas, buey?"

I will apologize for this for the rest of my life. I will never be able to live this mistake down, and I will do everything possible to try to make this up to ustedes. For starters, gentle readers: ELAC is an amazing institution that has long hosted a book festival (where they’ve graciously invited me in the past) and has many amazing teachers and students.

Also? I’m the biggest pendejo in the world—but ustedes knew that already!

Ask the Mexican at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.; be his fan on Facebook; follow him on Twitter @gustavoarellano; or ask him a video question at youtube.com/askamexicano!

Published in Ask a Mexican

Dear Readers: The United Kingdom’s spectacular Guardian newspaper has asked if I could field some questions for their readers as part of the paper’s summer travel package: It turns out Brits want to know more about Mexican food!

Let’s be benevolent toward those buggerers: Their idea of what our comida constitutes comes solely from their gabacho cousins, and not from any actual Mexicans. Gracias to the Guardian for the opportunity, and mark my words: We Mexicans are going to avenge the Armada, with the Irish as our wingmen. So, without further ado …

Dear Mexican: I’m a Brit who’s traveling to New Mexico and Texas during the summer. We love our Tex-Mex in England—all that chili and yellow cheese! So where can I get the good stuff?

The Boy With the Nachos in His Side

Dear Limey: For starters, you’re NOT going to find much chili and yellow cheese in New Mexico, or even in some parts of Texas—the two states have about as much in common as Doctor Who and Star Wars. New Mexico is most famous for its Hatch chiles: fulsome, fleshy peppers from the southern part of the Land of Enchantment that the state’s residents either eat whole; grill and place inside cheeseburgers (the Blake’s Lotaburger chain is famous for their version); or turn into a stew. That state’s Mexican food is unique, because it dates back to the days of the Spanish conquistadors, back when you Brits were still eating each other at Jamestown.

You should think of Texas, meanwhile, as the Indian subcontinent: a large, unwieldy, country of countries with edible brimstone (curry for the Asians, salsa for the Mexis) as the sole unifier. Since you want to visit New Mexico as well, you’ll probably only be able to travel to El Paso—make sure to stop by Chico’s Tacos and order the rolled tacos, what us Yanks call taquitos.

Just in case you travel elsewhere in Texas, here’s a brief primer on Tex-Mex faves: In San Antonio, the natives eat puffy tacos, which look like Cornish pastys inflated to a golden, crispy extreme. South Texas is famous for barbacoa (a slow-roasted cow’s head) and cabrito (slow-roasted kid—have the Pakis taught y’all to eat goat yet?). Texas is also the land of nachos, so do me a favor, Boy: Remind them that they stole the idea of vile yellow goop poured over crunchy trash from your Welsh rarebit.

Do we have authentic Mexican food in the United Kingdom?

Black Legend Bloke

Dear Limey: Yes, and no. My friends who have traveled across the pond always return with horror stories about the Mexican food there, and they all agree with the Top Gear pendejos—Mexican food in Britain IS refried sick. But it’s still Mexican food.

See, all tacos are created equal, but some tacos are more equal than others. When people ask about “authentic” food, they mean regional Mexican specialties that haven’t achieved widespread popularity à la tacos and tequila. A good place to try such dishes in the U.K. is London’s Wahaca—their mescal comes from Mexico’s rural regions; tinga is a meat preparation from Mexico City; and pibil is the pride and joy of the Yucatan. I’ll only fault Wahaca for its silly name, a transliteration of the Mexican state of Oaxaca—you tea-sippers are too stupid to learn how to pronounce Nahuatl?

Ask the Mexican at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.; be his fan on Facebook; follow him on Twitter @gustavoarellano; or ask him a video question at youtube.com/askamexicano!

Published in Ask a Mexican

Dear Mexican: I went to a Los Angeles Dodgers game today and noticed that they now have Doyer Dogs, which are fucking disgusting and covered in nacho cheese, jalapeños and chili. Not that it doesn’t have potential, but this is Dodger Stadium here, not a food truck.

But my question: Do you think that it’s more offensive to Latinos (specifically the Latino population of Southern California/Los Angeles) to advertise “Doyer Dogs” instead of just calling them Mexican hot dogs? I thought that the Dodgers should do a better job embracing the Latino community as real fans, instead of Doyer Fans. I don't think this is a popular opinion, but after today's game (which was my fourth this year), I feel like much of the notion about the "bad crowd" at Dodger Stadium is just a majority of white people in Los Angeles being uncomfortable in public around large groups of Latinos. I think some white people, who are not part of a particularly multi-cultural/ethnic community, might be uncomfortable taking their family to someplace like Dodger Stadium, where they might be in open seating with people who don't look like them. You think there's any validity in this?

Son of Steve Garvey

Dear Pocho: Far more offensive than any perceived etymological affront is the Dodgers’ on-the-field performance this season—and your all-over-the-place question, which is as erratic as Tommy Lasorda after hearing a question about Dave Kingman.

Let’s parse through this: There’s nothing offensive about calling Mexican-themed hot dogs Doyer Dogs—it’s a nod to how Mexican immigrants pronounced the Dodgers, and to their children who grew up loving that pronunciation, because it showed that their parents were trying to assimilate into this country.

There is no hope in said Doyer Dog—if the Dodgers were really smart, they’d realize that Mexicans like their hot dogs wrapped in bacon, topped with carne asada, and drizzled with mayo, mustard and Tapatío hot sauce, not pinche chili and nacho cheese.

You’re right about some gabachos being skittish to attend Dodger games because of ethnic fear, but it ain’t the pochos or wabs they don’t like: It’s the cholos who are loud throughout the game, and—little-known secret!—a lot of the pochos and wabs who are diehard Doyers fans don’t like those cholos, either.

CONFIDENTIAL TO

The youngster in Ms. Fiedler’s class at Kepner Middle School in Denver who stole my book. You've got a cool teacher! She read my book to your class, and you obviously liked my libro so much that you wanted your own copy—that’s cool! But taking it from your maestra without her permission? Not cool.

If you would’ve asked her, I’m sure she would’ve let you borrow it for as long as you want. I don’t want to get you in too much trouble—I stole a Beatles CD when I was your age, and I know how school administrators love to administer draconian justice on young Chicanos for any reason. You don’t need a mark on your young life, especially over my book.

But I need you to man up—stealing stuff puts our raza down, and is disrespectful to Ms. Fiedler. So tell you what: Return my book to her, and confess your sin to her. She’ll punish you the way she sees fit; she’ll let me know once that’s done, and I’ll send you an autographed copy of my libro for learning your lesson and for taking responsibility. Sale vale? I know you’ll do the right thing, son: Now, make your Mexican proud.

Ask the Mexican at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.; be his fan on Facebook; follow him on Twitter @gustavoarellano; or ask him a video question at youtube.com/askamexicano!

Published in Ask a Mexican

Dear Mexican: Like many Americans, I’ve heard about the “Fast and Furious” scandal in which our own Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives was shown to be guilty of supplying guns that ended up in the hands of the drug cartels. Now, if I say any more, I might be talking about facts that I don’t know, and I would probably only be spouting off about what I heard on the news.

I also recently saw a report about the violence in Mexico, and it mentioned something that I was unaware of: The report stated that there is only one place in all of Mexico for a citizen to purchase a firearm. However, we know that the cartels in Ciudad Juarez (and other parts of Mexico) are heavily armed. Of course, there is always the larger world market the cartels could use to find their firepower. But just across the border in the United States, there are hundreds of gun stores, in addition to an ATF that is apparently willing to supply guns to them.

Now, I’m not much of a gun proponent or opponent. I don’t think firearms (in and of themselves) are the cause of or solution to most of our societal problems. However, I do know that firepower makes cartels powerful, and the drug violence coming out of Mexico is hard to ignore. In light of the fact that Mexicans can only legally obtain one gun, purchased from one location (if they meet all of the requirements), what are the statistics for gun-ownership in Mexico? How does Mexican culture differ when it comes to the average citizen and their views of safety and their right to protect themselves? There are obviously differing opinions in the United States about gun ownership, gun rights and gun control. Similarly, I would expect that Mexicans have different views and opinions among each other regarding firearms.

Really, my main question is: One gun store? In all of Mexico? Meanwhile, Juarez is awash with guns and blood …

Curious Jorge

Dear Pocho: Before I get to your pregunta, a quick comment on Fast and Furious: While I’m no fan of the Obama administration, isn’t it so gabacho for Obama critics to only care about the smuggling of guns into Mexico, which causes untold misery to so many, when they can embarrass him with it? Refry this, gabachos: Mexicans have been buying guns in the States and sneaking them into Mexico since the days of the Magón brothers. (My favorite smuggling story: A man I knew once wrapped yarn around a ball of bullets, and then had his wife take it onto a plane; she ended up knitting a sweater with it. This was in the days antes de Sept. 11, of course.) And Ronald Reagan sold arms to the Contras—or was that OK, because he was fighting supposed commies?

Back to the question: Mexicans love their guns as much as they love salsa, and while the Mexican government highly regulates sales of guns (although nowhere near as stringently as the one-shop rule you heard), gun violence is still high. A July 2012 post by The Guardian cited stats that showed Mexico’s gun ownership rate was 15 per 100 people (42nd-highest in the world), which paled en comparación to the United States’ astounding número uno rate of 88.8 per 100. The homicide by firearm rate per 100,000 goes to the Mexicans: Whereas in the U.S., the figure was 2.97, the Mexico cifra was 9.97. As for the percentage of homicides due to firearms? 54.9 percent for Mexis, while Americans clock in at 60 percent—not much difference.

One huge caveat, though: The report was compiled based on stats from 2007, far before the narco wars engulfed most of the country. Considering Mexico's police force is as ineffectual as the GOP’s Latino outreach program, the right to bear arms for Mexicans isn’t just some high-falutin’ constitutional ideal—it’s usually the only way to ensure you stay alive.

Ask the Mexican at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.; be his fan on Facebook; follow him on Twitter @gustavoarellano; or ask him a video question at youtube.com/askamexicano!

Published in Ask a Mexican

Dear Mexican: Where did the notion come from of adding an -o to the end of an English word and assuming that makes it a Spanish word?

Juanito

Dear Wab: “Anglos have long held power in making Spanish and Spanish-speaking culture invisible,” writes University of South Florida assistant professor of foreign language education Adam Schwartz in his excellent essay “Mockery and Appropriation of Spanish in White Spaces: Perceptions of Latinos in the United States,” published in the 2011 publication The Handbook of Hispanic Sociolinguistics. “But Spanish can be made selectively visible for the purposes of Mock Spanish,” a term popularized by legendary University of Arizona anthropologist Jane H. Hill to refer to what gabachos have deemed acceptable Spanglish—think terms like “vaya con Dios,” “cojones,” “mañana, mañana,” and “chinga tu pinche madre, pinche puto pendejo baboso.”

As Schwartz points out in his work, the addition of the masculine -o suffix to Mexicanize English arose both from its widespread use in popular culture (think “No comprendo” or “Drinko de Mayo”) and by gabachos taking Spanish classes in high school and college, and only remembering one part of the language’s grammatical structure to bend for their racist needs. “This reclamation by Anglo monolinguals of the Spanish language itself is indeed a fashionable act—there is something oddly chic and cool about embracing the stereotype of ignorant gringo,” Schwartz writes.

And full disclosure—he was kind enough to cite this columna in the piece, which we find awesome-o!

Being one of two gabachos in my neighborhood in Denver, I'm wondering exactly how many Mexicans can fit in one car.

This is a broad question, so assume that in a two-parent family, there are six kids, three of which have three kids. The age range will be from around 50 years old to 5 months. We'll also assume that it's Sunday, and as many family members as possible need to get out on Federal (Boulevard). The car would most likely be a two-door Chevy truck, or a Saturn sedan on 20-inch rims.

Craving Some Chubbys!

Dear Gabacho: Depends on the situation—a Mexican car expands and contracts according to need like the Mexican mail panza.

Car goes to church? Only women can fit in—and since they’re prim and proper, the max is 10. Going to a party? 25. To school? Just one adult, and all the neighborhood chamacos who can fit themselves in the foot-rest part of the carro. And if a car is going to a Republican function? It magically doesn’t fit anyone other than the vendido cousin driving it.

Like my Mexican co-workers, I'm a migrant to the City of Angels. In my home state of Louisiana, there is an integral distinction to be made among folks whether one is Protestant or Catholic. But ask a Mexican what a non-Catholic Christian is, and they will tell you “Christian.” But a Catholic is a Christian.

I've inquired, and Mexicans don't seem to have a word for "Protestant." In fact, there are many words that are basic to my vocabulary that don't seem to translate into Spanish, i.e., “self-esteem” and “desk drawers.” Why is this?

New Angelino

Dear Gabacho: Of course a Catholic is a Christian—now, can you tell that to evangelicals? As for your translation queries: A Protestant is a protestante; desk drawers are cajones del escritorio; and “self-esteem” is tequila.

Ask the Mexican at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.; be his fan on Facebook; follow him on Twitter @gustavoarellano; or ask him a video question at youtube.com/askamexicano!

Published in Ask a Mexican

Dear Mexican: Why is it that people from Chihuahua and Monterrey are such jackasses? They come from pinches ranchitos and talk about their haciendas; they cross the border and act as if their cagada does not stink.

Why do pinches chihuahuenses act as if they are better than us American citizens? They go to all-you-can-eat $6.99 buffets and still want to take a plate to go for their abuela and primos and try to feed the whole familia. They stay at our hotels and treat the maids like rats, as if they were conquistadores. They speak loud, as if every one wanted to hear what they have to say—they are not E.F. Hutton. They think that their putos pesos can buy anything, When you ask them where they come from, they start by telling you that their abuelos are Spaniards, and most of their familia are Spaniards, as if they are ashamed to be called mexicanos. The women wear their pantalones so tight that when they walk, they go up their puto culo, with their fake blond hair.

Please tell those cabrones chihuahuenses and putos monterreyes que cool down; they are just as Mexican as the rest of us; they still smell like frijoles; and they are not Spaniards.

Hernan Cortez

Dear Gachupín: Nothing like some intra-Mexican hatred to prove that the idea of a Mexican nation united for Reconquista is as realistic as a Mexican government free of narco money!

Your specific insults toward people from the Mexican state of Chihuahua (or, as they’re known in El Paso, fronchis) and city of Monterrey (their nickname is regiomontanos) marks you as someone from Texas, as that’s where the majority of immigrants from northern Mexico have landed. And the reason they act so uppity isn’t so much because of where they’re from, but what they are: ricos who have fled the chaos of their home states for the safety of Texas, where pompous, ostentatious pendejos are not only welcomed; they become governors and presidents.

I'm a gabacha … kind of. I was born here, but my padres are mexicanos. So I'm a gabachacana. Anyway, my question regards fixing my authentic mexicano's papeles. He's 23, and I heard that once you're past 18, it's harder to do it. He's never been in trouble with the law; he pays taxes; he's a hard worker. But I’ve heard all of that would do him no good, and if I go through trying to fix his papers, he would need to spend, like, 10 years in Mexico. I'm a patient person, but que chingado man? I'm not gonna risk him meeting some paisana hoochie over there and having me wait 10 years for him. So, what steps can I take to prevent such an atrocity?

What would you suggest is the best way to go about in fixing his papers without the risk of having him meet some skeezer down south?

Gabachacana

Dear Wabette: While I’m all for people making up ethnic labels to describe themselves, gabachacana makes you sound like an apricot.

The easy answer is marrying the chavo—you’re still going to face a long process, but it’s faster than waiting for the Obama administration to make Dios-knows-how-many deals with labor, the Mexican government and Republicans to offer “comprehensive immigration reform” that’s actually as comprehensive as a tortilla chip covering a bowl of birria.

Better yet, why not just move to Mexico with him? As I’ve said before, Mexico is the true land of liberty now, a libertarian paradise that becomes more and more appealing as technocrats up here try to game the system for themselves and make los Estados Unidos into just another Mexico—oh, wait …

Ask the Mexican at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.; be his fan on Facebook; follow him on Twitter @gustavoarellano; or ask him a video question at youtube.com/askamexicano!

Published in Ask a Mexican

Dear Mexican: Although I’m familiar with your column, I don’t read it regularly. But today, I was struck by something you said in a recent column about how Mexicans can make Americans like Mexicans. So I quote: “We called ourselves Spanish; we considered ourselves white.”

I’m Mexican, and I consider myself “white” because I’m not black or red or Asian. I understand what I’m made of. People from Spain are Caucasian. But in the U.S., educators don’t teach you anything about Spain. They downplay Spain’s impact on this country. Test questions in school always emphasized that the Spanish came here for “glory and gold,” not to settle this land.

So I took 15 trips to Spain over a period of 20 years to explore. I’ve written and researched for years to learn who the Spanish really are. And I am here to tell you that I am proud to have a drop of Spanish blood! Do you know where to find the towns of Laredo, Reynosa and Durango? Not only in Mexico, but in the Basque region of Spain! Yes. The conquistadores named New Spain areas after towns in Spain! So even if we are one-quarter Spanish, we are members of the white race.

The Anglo Americans have succeeded in many ways of shaming Mexicans about their heritage and their ancestry. But I am very proud of being Mexican. I know who we are, and I know who I am. The blood in my veins is Indian and Spanish; we are Caucasian as well. If we can’t call ourselves white, why can others? Why is it that my friends from Iran, Egypt and Albania check off “white” when faced with a U.S. application or legal form? How do these groups end up being “white,” and Mexicans don’t? Why is it that even a mulatto calls himself “white” now? So please don’t be so eager to dismiss us as non-white!

Dear Brownie: You don’t regularly read my column? ¡No manches!

I have no problem with Mexicans being proud of their Spanish ancestry as long as they don’t ignore their nopal en la frente, just like I don’t mind Mexicans to be proud of their indigenous blood as long as they don’t try to pass themselves off as the pure-blooded heir of Cuauhtémoc. But news flash, chula: Mexicans no son white. Nor are Spaniards.

“White” is a construct, not a race. And the only legitimate Caucasians come from the Caucasus, ancestral home of the Boston Marathon bombers. (Quick aside for Mexicans: Don’t the Tsarnaev brothers look like at least one of your cousins, just like Saddam Hussein looks like everyone’s tío?) Finally, do better research—Laredo and Reinosa are in Cantabria, which is about as Basque as you are white.

As a student of history, I believe that Mexicans should be more attuned to speaking English. The Spanish did nothing but enslave and subjugate everybody on this continent. Speaking their language only gives them credit they don’t deserve.

For all the faults of the U.S.A. (and there are many, as you know), at least speaking and writing English can open some doors and give you a chance in life. Every immigrant group that ever came over on a boat or crossed the border has had it tough in this country. The ones who couldn’t speak fluent English naturally had it tougher.

So, as a certified advice columnist, whether or not you’re really an hombre or not, you should be advising everyone to at least sign up for the program here. If they don’t like what’s happening, they can always swear at their boss in Spanish, and he or she will never know the difference. But ask for a big, fat raise in English.

Dear Gabacho: I’m not certified by any organization I’m aware of besides the National Organization for DESMADRE, but I won’t pass along your advice to my readers. Repeating your consejo to them is like me telling Mexicans they should use salsa to spice up their food—they’d laugh me back to Cantabria.

Ask the Mexican at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.; be his fan on Facebook; follow him on Twitter @gustavoarellano; or ask him a video question at youtube.com/askamexicano!

Published in Ask a Mexican

Dear Mexican: I have always liked ranchera music. As of late, I have wanted to get deeper into the history, the culture and especially the songs and lyrics. The older I get, the more rancheras seem like poetry to me … sounds cursi, I know.

Do you know of a good book or two or a website that I can read or check out? I went to my local library, and they didn’t have a very good selection. And Borders or Barnes and Noble? Forget it … so por favor and gracias, if you could.

Houston Honey

Dear Wabette: Of course Borders doesn’t stock any books on rancheras—Borders doesn’t exist anymore (and borders don’t exist, period, but that’s neither ni aquí no allá). Most research on Mexican music concentrates on corridos, our ballad form that celebrates bad men, events and horses … but actual scholarly treatises on ranchera? Few and far between, alas—and nonexistent in English.

Your best bet is Jose Alfredo Jiménez: Cancionero Completo, a songbook that contains all of the compositions of the ranchera titan, whose hit parade makes the collected works of Gershwin, Porter, Leiber-Stoller, the Brill Building and Woody Guthrie seem as voluminous as the output of Paper Lace. The libro also contains a great introductory essay by Mexican intellectual Carlos Monsiváis that puts Jiménez in his proper context. As great as Cancionero Completo is, however, don’t bother buying it: A used copy of is currently priced at $54 on Amazon.com, and while the book showcases the Robert Burns-esque bravado and orgullo that was the Jiménez style, it ain’t worth that price in this day and age, when you can just gather all of the lyrics online.

Then again, if you’re willing to buy the book, I’m more than happy to sell my copy to you: I do need to finish off the down payment on my burro …

Dear Mexican: Upon first seeing me, as a 2-week old baby, my aunt Estrella screamed “¡Ay, que gringo!” But if you gotta call me a gabacho, so be it. I do have Mexican family (through marriage), and my brother (white like me) is currently down in Mexico City courting a beautiful Mexi nugget he met while attending college in Malaga, Spain. I get along well with many Mexicans, legal and illegal, but I hate that they aren't paying “the man” like I have to. Sure, I'm a little jealous, but I'd be all for Mexicans being awarded citizenship simply for walking over the border … as long as they paid their dues.

I pay taxes that fund shit like keeping white trash from getting jobs—jobs they could get if I wasn't already paying for them to survive on junk food, and if some undocumented border-jumping beaner wasn't working for cheaper (and not helping me pay the dumb taxes to keep the trailer trash alive). I say assimilate; document; pay taxes; and welcome.

I'm writing an essay on wetbacks (fuck PC terms) and their effect on our country for better AND worse. I'd never heard of you until I read about 30 of your emails and responses on the net today. I'd like to know: What's your opinion on the crossing over and its effect economically rather than socially?

White Sox Winner!

Dear Gabacho: The only opinion I have is on your language. “Beaner”? “Border-jumping”? “Wetback?” All these insults are SO 1950s. Don’t you know the current verboten insult toward Mexicans is “illegal” or “illegal immigrant”?

And as for your concern about the undocumented paying their way, dontcha worry about that: The recent proposed amnesty bill crafted by a bunch of political pendejos is more punitive than habañero salsa marching through your alimentary canal toward your culo.

Ask the Mexican at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.; be his fan on Facebook; follow him on Twitter @gustavoarellano; or ask him a video question at youtube.com/askamexicano!

Published in Ask a Mexican

Dear Mexican: What do we need to do to make the güeros understand that we come in peace as Mexicans? We are from this great American continent as well, but in the average close-minded English-speaking folks’ definition of “American,” it’s amusing to see they don't understand what it really means, as in: Unless you are from one of the few nature-communing groups of people now dubbed “Native Americans,” then you cannot say you are American; being that either yourself, your parents, grandparents or great-grandparents (you get the point) came from the Old World and hence have been in this land “illegally” for much, much longer than us bean-lovers.

So I repeat my question: How can we make these green-gos understand we come in peace? That we are here to live a good life in peace and to take it or leave it: We are here TO STAY! Help me make these McDonalders understand already so we can all learn from each other and live in peace!

El Frijolero

Dear Beaner: Gracias for showing American that Mexis can be as meandering as gabachos.

As to your question: Shit, we’ve tried everything to Hispander to gabachos over the years. We gave them half of Mexico; we called ourselves “Spanish”; we considered ourselves white; we made amazing dishes that other gabachos turned into multi-million-dollar empires—and, still, they hate us. What to do? Not a single pinche thing: Mexicans in this country are no longer at a place where we have to grovel to anyone. If gabachos don’t want to accept that aquí estamos, and we ain’t vamos, then they deserve the beautiful brown grandkids that are coming their way.

I noticed that my favorite candies are primarily made out of chile and tamarindo. I understand that chile is indigenous to the Americas, but tamarindo is not. I found that tamarindo originates from the Middle East and Africa; through the slave trade and the dreadful European expansion, tamarindo found its delicious way to the Americas.

What I don't get is how and why tamarindo became so popular among nuestra gente. We consume mega-tons of it! We drink it; we make candy out of it; I sometimes have dreams about it … ¿que onda?

Pocho De Ocho

Dear Pocho: Actually, tamarind came to Mexico through the Manila galleons and has no Middle Eastern connection whatsoever—the Levantine’s contribution to Mexico’s fruit culture is granada (pomegranates) via the Spaniards via the Moors. But it was only by a brain pedo of God that tamarind isn’t native to Mexico, as no other culture, save certain Hindoos, loves it the way we do.

It’s not much of a mystery: Mexicans love sweets with tropical verve and fleshiness, whether it’s mamey, mangoes, papayas, guanábana, tunas (the prickly pear) or boring-ass pineapple. But tamarind is the king of the jungle, because—as you pointed out—we can turn it into so many things: ice cream, fruit leather, salads and salsas, and put it on chocolate, paletas and so much more. And when we pair it with chile (which we always do), it’s the greatest product of foreign-yet-similar cultures since the leprecano.

Ask the Mexican at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.; be his fan on Facebook; follow him on Twitter @gustavoarellano; or ask him a video question at youtube.com/askamexicano!

Published in Ask a Mexican

Dear Mexican: We're in state testing this week at the high school where I teach. After the students finish a section, they can only sit and read, or just sit. I did an experiment: I chose the cholo-est, tattooed, pierced nonreaders and dropped your book on their desks. The students that never read were reading for 45 minutes straight. They were seeing words that they use every day in print for the first time. They had as much fun with the glossary as with the questions. They were sharing, laughing and discussing what they read. Then I set the hook: “We'll be using that book in my Chicano Studies class.” Best recruiting tool ever.

That's my personal copy, and it’s getting beat up. I'll be ordering more for the classroom. Thanks again: you have made my job much easier.

Maestro Man

Dear Gabacho: It’s stories like yours that make writing this column worth all the hate mail. The próxima question, on the other hand …

I'm a 23-year-old Mexican girl in my second year at a California state university, and I work part-time at a hospital. I’m dating a white boy who is 25, who works a minimum-wage job and who graduated with a GED. We have been dating for more than a year now, but when we were about six months into the relationship, we decided to move out together. Due to our financial difficulties, we had to move back in with our parents. Now, my traditional father is almost forcing us to get married since we have lived together, or else he wants me to dump him and find someone else who is doing better for himself. It’s so bad that now my white boyfriend does not feel comfortable coming over.

How do I confront my Mexican father? What do I tell my white boyfriend?

A Confused and Sad Mexican Girl

Dear Wabette: While I’m all for new traditions and the exiling of rancho mores to the rancho, don’t discount your father’s partial common sense. Primeramente, you’re WAY too young to be settling down with one guy right now—dios mío, you haven’t even finished college! And while I’m not going to hate on folks who have earned only a GED, a gabacho who wasn’t able to graduate high school when he was supposed to is like a Mexican man who was only able to eat 10 tacos at the last family carne-asada Sunday—a disgrace to the raza, and not much of an hombre.

Not only that, if your dad really was old escuela, he’d have problems with you going to college, period! So pay attention to your papi saying to look for someone else, but do tell him that the days of a woman having to marry the first man who bedded her went the way of the tequila bottle at my friend Gaby’s wedding.

Finally, refry your humble Mexican’s advice, chula: There are many flavors of chorizo in the market, so why buy the first one you see instead of tasting all of them? And finish your education and find yourself a career before getting a novio—the future you’re saving is your own.

Ask the Mexican at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.; be his fan on Facebook; follow him on Twitter @gustavoarellano; or ask him a video question at youtube.com/askamexicano!

Published in Ask a Mexican