Last updateMon, 20 Apr 2020 1pm

Dear Mexican: Why are we put down by our own people for being educated and articulate, while the Anglos accept us for being smart? (I’ve been called gabacho, and I’m as brown as the next guy.) I work in Santa Ana as a high school teacher and am considered very good at what I do, but when I meet with Mexican parents, it almost borders on mistrust. What is it—envy, paranoia, jealousy?

Smart Mexican American Reading Teacher Asking Serious Stuff

Dear SMARTASS Wab: Don’t flatter yourself too much. Anti-intellectualism is rampant in American life—witness this country electing Dubya as president for two terms, liberals slobbering over Hillary Clinton, and conservatives elevating Michelle Malkin and Hugh Hewitt to sabios when the thinking part of this country rightfully relegates them to pendejo pendejos.

Tell you what: You’re enlightened, so guide those hater Mexicans to the Light. Let them know that the only way ahead in this country is to be educated and articulate—and then guide them to me instead of your arrogant ass.

Dear Mexican: When I around my workers, I keep hearing the word “camote,” and they are not speaking about yams. What is the slang use of “camote”?

The Gabacho From Sylmar

Dear Gabacho: Usually it means “penis”; every once in a while, it can mean a cerote, which means a “turd.” Ain’t Mexican Spanish slang grand?

Dear Mexican: I’ve no doubt that only the most incendiary shots were used, but I was watching YouTube last night, and there were a lot of videos of the amnesty marches of a couple of years ago. I still couldn’t help but notice two recurring themes: One was Mexicans burning, stomping and desecrating the American flag. Another was Mexicans consistently using the terms “racist” or “Nazi” to describe American citizens, born or naturalized, who oppose amnesty. Certainly, sympathy for the cause was not a goal of this march. What is your take on that?

Old Glory Gary

Dear Gabacho: I’ve been to immigration protests where Know Nothings assaulted peaceful protestors and burned the Mexican flag. I’ve seen immigration protests where gabachas called little kids “cockroaches” and “savages,” and gabachos menaced college students. I’ve seen immigration protests where Know Nothings spewed all sorts of modern-day blood libel on Mexicans, with little fear of reprisal.

I agree that burning American flags ain’t going to win anyone over to amnesty, but the only people on our side who support such moves are indigenazis and yaktivists who grow out of it. Your side, on the other hand, not only condones the boorishness of your worst Know Nothings—you elect them again and again to office because of those tactics. Or do you think the only reason Sheriff Joe Arpaio has stayed in office so long is because of his porcine good looks?

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Dear Mexican: Why do wabs, regardless of age and body size, always have one hand rubbing their bellies under their shirts? Is this something inherent in all wabs? They all do it, especially the “fresh from the border” ones. I don’t get it. I’m a pocho, and I’ve never seen other pochos do it. Are wabs finger-banging their belly buttons, or what? They all look so fucking stupid doing this. Just go to Home Depot and watch them.

Pocho With Albóndigas Grandes

Dear Pocho: What’s with the panza hate? In previous eras, girth was a sign of bounty and promise—I’m thinking Santa Claus, William Howard Taft and the Earth Mother. That’s still the case in Mexico: Next to a broom-thick mustache and a gray Ford truck, a glorious, well-rounded stomach is our ultimate proof of machismo. A panza’s layers of fat fuel our insatiable work ethic; its orbital shape is a testament to the wives we keep in kitchens at home. Gabachos might work out, but taut muscles cannot compete with the centripetal force of a panza. Kids flock to it; crowds stare in jealousy when a magnificent specimen passes by. So when we rub our panzas, we pat the larded treasure that brings us success, popularity and prosperity—recall how Buddhists massage Siddhartha’s plump belly for luck.

In an amazing coincidence, Theravada Buddhists celebrate a mid-July holiday called Khao Pansa, where the faithful live in monasteries for three months and conclude with a gluttonous festival of food—all in the name of expanding that sweet, sweet panza.

Not long ago, I attended a Los Tigres del Norte concert at a small hall with no dance floor. The people attending were supposed to sit down and enjoy the music. Five minutes into the music, these jumping beans started dancing in the aisle. Within minutes, half of the attendees were going up and down the aisles dancing to the music. It’s not the first time I’ve seen Mexicans create improvised dance floors.

Why do Mexicans love dancing so much?

Lambada Louie

Dear Gabaho: Anyone who needs to ask why people dance to Los Tigres del Norte—the norteño supergroup that combines traditional polka beats with socially conscious lyrics to create something that’s part Clash, part Lawrence Welk and puro mexicano—has no soul or is a gabacho. How can you not sway to their metronomic bass, their lush accordion trills, their canned sound effects and member Hernán Hernández’s mexcelente Mexi-mullet?

Mexican music is among the most danceable outside of Brazil, because its practitioners understand that nalga-shaking stirs humanity into the realm of ecstasy. Almost all the genres that constitute Mexican popular music—the aforementioned norteño, the brass-band strut of banda sinaloense, son jarocho’s twinkling harps and guitars, even the dark riffs of Mexican heavy metal—put the focus on rhythms rather than lyrics. (The exception is ranchera, the domain of drunkards and macho pussy men.)

But dancing for Mexicans is more than a mere physical act. Every hallmark moment in Mexican society centers on dances—weddings, baptisms, informal gatherings, birthdays, anniversaries, etc. More noteworthy are the dances held by hometown benefit associations that raise billions of dollars for the rebuilding of villages in Mexico. Tellingly, Mexican society does not consider girls and boys to be women or men until they begin to dance. Once they’re eligible to dance, Mexicans are eligible to take care of their community, too. Mexicans know that dancing solidifies trust, creates community and repairs the injured civic and personal soul.

Besides, it’s a great way for Mexican adolescents to grope each other in a parent-approved environment.

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Dear Mexican: So there I was, sitting in Spanish class, like the good half-frog/half wop (i.e. “frop”) that I am, when I observed the Spanish teacher write the word “esposas” on the board. Imagine my shock/horror when the teacher told us “esposas” has two meanings: “wives” and “handcuffs”!


Fropito From Laguna Hills

Dear Gabacho: On one hand, I can point to Latin—esposas is the feminine plural of esposo, which comes from the Latin sponsus (same root word for “spouse”), which comes from the Latin spondere, which means “to bind,” which is exactly what handcuffs do. And then I can carry the misogynistic theme and mention that wrists in Spanish translates as “muñecas,” which also means “dolls,” and that the Real Academia Española doesn’t know the etymology of the word, or why the two words mean the same thing. And I can conclude by decrying machismo in Mexicans—it’s so ingrained in our culture that it’s even infested etymology.

On the other hand, only a single guy would ever ask why “esposas” simultaneously means “handcuffs” and “wives.”

Just wondering: Why do Mexicans love to eat shit? You can walk down the street in any Mexican city, any day or night, and the smell of frying intestines and so forth is overpowering. To anyone but a Mexican, this is a repulsive smell—it literally repulses, meaning that it calls up an instinct to get as far away from such smells as possible. But one sees such food-stands covered in Mexicans, like flies on shit.

What gives here? Is shit, i.e., intestines, really good food? Or what? What am I missing here?

The Only Living Fresa in Puebla York

Dear Pendejo: You’re talking trash on tripas, which mankind has eaten in one form or another—sausage, dinuguan, chitlins, hamburger meat, and in tacos—since your ancestors were wiping the culos of Olmec emperors.

Fresas like you might sneer at tripas as pauper food, just like the elites of society all have through history, but whatever: That’s one thing ustedes will never gentrify. Besides, you already took the real shit in our society by embracing Maná.

I’m a gringa with the star sign of Leo, so I love cats, but I also love Mexican men. But here’s the rub: Every Mexican I meet seems to be allergic to cats or just hates them. I can’t deal with it.

Am I just picking the wrong Mexicans, or is there some kind of aversion to four-legged furries in the culture to which I’m not privy?

Sad Cat-Loving White Girl

Dear Gabacha: While consumer surveys show Mexicans do own cats (more so than African Americans or Asians, for that matter), Mexicans will always prefer dogs to gatos, because we like their companionship and barking abilities—think of them as our ADT Alarm systems. Besides, the only pussy Mexican men worry about ain’t felines …

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Dear Mexican: Recently, I visited a viejecita in an assisted-living home. As I’m getting on in years myself, I wondered how I would fare in such a place. Fortunately, I do like to eat cottage cheese, but I would like some salsa with it, or better yet, an occasional jalapeño en escabeche.

Are there places for those of us who like spicy Mexican food? Perhaps you have answered this question already in Taco USA, but I have been so busy lately that I have not yet cracked the cover of my copy.

Sabor Para Mi

Dear Flavor for Me: Time was, the Mexican could boast that we raza would never join cruel gabachos in exiling our aging parents to senior homes—instead, we let them live by themselves because mami y papi were tough enough, or at the most, we house them in their golden años in the casas of our youngest sibling, because that’s what mija was born to do. But Mexicans tend to embrace the gabacho proclivity to abandon the familia the longer they’re in the U.S.

“Growth of Racial and Ethnic Minorities in US Nursing Homes Driven by Demographics and Possible Disparities in Options,” published in the July 2011 issue of Health Affairs, showed that the number of Latinos in nursing homes grew by 54.9 percent between 1999 and 2008, while the number of gabachos decreased by 10.2 percent. While the researchers blamed poverty and a lack of access to better medical options for the increased rates, maybe all those old gringos are moving out because they don’t want to spend their last days living with Mexicans?

Anyhoo, the way those nursing-home rates are going, Sabor Para Mi, I don’t think you have to worry about the lack of Mexican food at your retirement home, but rather cottage cheese—what Mexican likes that cochinada?

Why is it that when black families are shown in commercials on TV, they are usually—scratch that—always portrayed living in nice neighborhoods, living in nice houses, and even though they’re just chilling at home, they’re dressed to the nines? Not to mention the youngest member of the family usually talks like he just graduated from Harvard! Meanwhile, when a Mexican family is portrayed on television, the only thing that’s missing is cockroaches crawling down the kitchen walls in the background. Why and where is the so-called Mexican American Defense League or some other kind of worthless raza arguing this point? Are they afraid their corporate media masters might call them out as INTOLERANT or HATERS or any other tag that might threaten their important JALES and big, fat City Hall paychecks?

Growing up in Los Angeles, I was always taught that the raza was brave and strong when it came time to get down. But unfortunately, that seems to be nothing but a fairy tale, because for the most part, I’ve seen a bunch of meek, subservient pushovers. We seem to be more preoccupied these days about how “Black Lives Matter” than our own social political situation.

Shame on Us

Dear Wab: It’s one thing to be rightfully concerned about the horrible representation of Mexicans on television (a good antidote—the wonderful Cristela on ABC), but it’s another to whine that blacks are getting too much positive love, after more than a century of being depicted as toms, coons, mulattoes, mammies and bucks.

The Republican Party called—they want their token racist Mexican back. OBLIGE THEM …

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Dear Mexican: As I’ve been doing a lot of business in the city of Santa Ana (one of the most Mexican cities in the U.S.), I’ve realized that a shitload of Mexicans are Fox News-type conservatives—yakking out the same kind of shit you hear at a Glenn Beck conference, except for issues surrounding immigration (probably because Tío Juan has no papers). I’ve also met a ton of anti-immigrant Latinos who look like they just hopped the border themselves. In fact, I hear more crazy shit from Latinos in Santa Ana about Mexicans than I do from gabachos in Laguna or Newport (probably because the only time they see Mexicans is when they are getting some kind of manual labor service).

I know Mexico is inherently conservative and racist, and I wasn’t surprised to encounter conservative fanaticism from Latinos, but hearing such pendejadas so consistently has been a bit shocking. Is there any scholarly evidence backing up my observations, or am I just being paraoico?

Your Former Student Julio

Dear Wab: Refry this: A 2014 Pew Hispanic Center survey showed that 11 percent of Latinos identified as libertarian—almost as many as gabachos! As I’ve been writing since you were in high school, Mexican immigrants from the countryside and their descendents (the majority of Mexicans) are natural libertarians, what with their up-by-the-bootstraps mentality, skepticism toward government of any kind, hatred of the police and love of liberty. (Let us play our tamborazo in the backyard and raise chickens in peace!) They also bring with them social mores from the days of having sex through a hole in the sheet.

It’s pesky chilangos and Chicano Studies yaktivists like myself who push our cousins and parents toward modernity—toward them accepting the primo in the closet and explaining why words like joto and puto just aren’t cool anymore. Needless to say, the struggle es real …

As I’m sure you are well aware, there isn’t much letup on the whole “immigration” debate. Whitey continues whining about how “the Mexicans took my job” and “non-English speaking this” and “I can’t understand Spanish” that. So … how do I get people to knock it off? I’m just your average every-day white guy, so nobody really listens to me anymore. Anyhoo, whitey complains too much about his job being given away, but it’s been shown on television, radio and other media that a lot of people can’t handle a lot of the jobs that the migrant workers and immigrants get. Also, Mexico has a diverse and rich culture that everyone just tosses aside (except for the ever-popular Taco Hell). Spanish is also one of the easier languages to learn, and is considered to be one of the Romance languages.

So my question, again: How do I get whitey to stop being so, well, white? How can I open up the doors to a more peaceful community between our people? I know as just one loner, I can’t do much, but the Buddha said, “If only one will listen.” So please: Help me help others end the pointless feuding and realize we’re all in this together. America shouldn’t just say one thing and enforce another (although we’re really good at it). Thank you for your time.

Just a Whitey

Dear Gabacho: How do you stop gabachos from being gabachos? Make ’em Mexicans—and we’re working on that, one taco and gabachita at a time.

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Dear Mexican: As you’ve said before, Mexicans lack education. Why? Why don’t they care that a high school education is not enough in this 21st century? I see exceptions to the rule, but the rule seems to be “No More School After High School.” I don’t get it.

Educated Gabacho

Dear Gabacho: Misquote alert! I’ve never said that Mexicans “lack education.” I might’ve discussed dismal high school graduation rates in the past, and wished for more Mexicans in college—but that’s far different from how you’re painting my past thoughts.

While we’re on the subject of rhetoric, a quick critical thinking lesson: When saying something is a “rule” in making a quantitative argument, you should at least shoot for a supermajority figure to bolster your claim. As it turns out, a 2013 Pew Research Center study showed that 69 percent of Latino high school graduates from the class of 2012 (a supermajority, of course) enrolled in college, while only 14 percent of their peers dropped out of high school.

The gabacho enrollment rate that same year? 67 percent.

I’ve seen exceptions to the rule, but the rule seems to be “No More Pinche Pendejo Gabachos Asking Pendejo Questions.”

What’s with the surge in restaurants from other grupos like Filipinos, Chinese, Salvadorian and other Latin American countries that advertise Mexican food on their menu? They go as far to add “And Mexican Food” to their logo!

Isn’t it hard enough to make authentic food for a native country, let alone add a second subgroup of food to the list? Are restaurants attempting to capitalize más feria with Mexican food to their menu? Or has comida mexicana come under attack from its commercial notoriety with the gringos over the years thanks to Taco Bell and Chipotle? Is mainstream America to blame for other culture groups mocking Mexican cuisine, by slapping the food on their menus, as if it was una Hot Pocket, ready in one minute? Or do they really look up to the mexicanos’ food?

Habla Chris

Dear Chris Speaks: Cálmese, mi cabrón. It’s perfectly fine for other groups to sell Mexican food, or combine their meals with ours to make something new—as I’ve written before, if it wasn’t for such mestizaje, we wouldn’t have al pastor (created by Lebanese), tequila (invented with European distillation methods), carne asada (Spaniards), arroz con leche (Moors), cerveza (Germans), pan dulce (French) and Tostilocos (pochos). It’s even perfectly fine for chinitos, gabachos and others to become rich off of Mexican food, as there are a lot of Mexicans who also get rich—like a pot of tamales, there’s plenty for todos.

Where the Mexican has a problem is with restaurants or companies insulting Mexican food—for example, saying tamales are thing of the past à la McDonald’s in promoting a McBurrito in interior Mexico (which is something like trying to sell Chef Boyardee in Milan), or being Chipotle and inviting writers to pen mini-essays to print on cups and bags … yet not inviting a single Mexican-American writer to participate. (If CEO Steve Ells had any huevos, he’d excerpt the works of Chicana chingona Michele Serros, who recently passed away.)

Besides, can you really blame some of these groups for wanting to draw in customers with Mexican food? Even Salvadorans aren’t so pendejos as to try to make a fortune solely on pupusas, as delicious as they are. So just be proud that—again—when America needs the job done right, they call on Mexicans.

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Dear Mexican: Can you please explain why some Chicanos and mexicanos get offended when you speak to them in Spanish? As a fellow Chicano, I find it hard to believe that raza gets offended by this genuine approach.

Have you noticed this behavior yourself—that little dirty look that comes when you say “Hola”? Is this pattern more deeply rooted in the times when speaking Spanish was shameful act in the U.S.? If the Reconquista was to ever be fulfilled, how would Spanish-speaking Chicanos and non-Spanish-speaking Chicanos get along?

Habla Henry

Dear Henry Is Speaking: As if Mexicans don’t have it hard enough—narcos back home, Know Nothings in the States, and a Mexican soccer team that probably won’t win the FIFA World Cup in our lifetime—now comes this conundrum.

I get the underlying anger of Chicanos and Mexicans who don’t want to speak Spanish—they’re upset you don’t think they’re smart enough to understand English, or are so ashamed of not knowing Spanish that they take it out on you. Then there’s the flip side: Mexicans who get enojados if you address them in English—as if you’re supposed to know they don’t speak it! Can’t paisas and pochos get along? And the answer is, of course, no. That’s why the Mexican always greets everyone, regardless of linguistic ability, with a mariachi cry, the universal language of chingones, and goes from there.

I have to do an interview report on Mexican culture, and I need to interview a person who is from Mexico, but I don’t know about that culture, even though I’m Mexican myself. You Mexicans call me a whitewashed Mexican, so I don’t think I will have the questions that I will need, so anyways: What good questions should I ask when I do my interview report about Mexican culture?

Run Ronaldo Run

Dear Wab: Asking the Mexican about questions to ask Mexicans about Mexicans? How meta! The only real pregunta I have for my raza for which I don’t have an answer is why more of you didn’t buy my Taco USA: How Mexican Food Conquered America, or how come someone hasn’t started a torta chain that’ll turn Chipotle into the next Chi-Chi’s.


Know Nothings who are trying to blame the recent measles outbreak on Mexicans—it ain’t happening. Vaccination studies show that Mexicans are among the most-vaccinated people in the United States, whether they’re getting shots here as chicos, or they are getting stuck by those crazy needles that our parents and cousins had to undergo back in Mexico that left a giant mark on their arms that looks like a Neolithic-era ceremonial scarring.

The least vaccinated people in los Estados Unidos, on the other hand, are gabachos: Amish, survivalists and suburban moms who lunch on kale. The myth of Mexicans bringing pandemics to kill off gabachos is a tool that the right tries to use again and again to further their career, but remember the last guy who tried it? Former CNN host Lou Dobbs? He’s competing against a UHF signal nowadays, and that destiny will happen to all conspiracy-spewing gabachos like him—oh, and they’ll also get beautiful half-Mexican grandkids.

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Dear Mexican: Do Mexicans sling racial slurs at each other or casually refer to each other as “wabs,” similar to the way blacks call each other “nigger?”

What’s your take on the whole “nigger” thing, anyway?

Kingfish the Cabrón

Dear Blackfaced Wab: What do I think of “nigger”? Um, it’s bad?

I think you mean que pienso of “nigga,” which some etymologists and the Washington Post argue means something completely different: It’s an appropriated term when gabachos and Mexicans use it among each other, and a term of endearment when African Americans use it to describe ellos mismos.

There’s no real comparison in Mexican Spanish, except maybe paisa and its regional synonyms (wab in Orange County, cheddar in Denver, brazer in Chicago and so many more—consult a May 2010 edition of this columna for a comprehensive list of slurs that Mexicans in el Norte use against each other).

The big difference is that such jabs use class instead of race; Mexicans use racial terms to describe family members (the obsession by tías and parents to classify their progeny as güero, moreno or—my favorite—prieto azabache, “jet black,” a term my mami endearingly used to describe the Mexican’s younger brother) and strangers.

While we’re on the subject of “nigger,” raza: Can we finally admit to America that the term Mexicans use to deride blacks (mayate) is far nastier than the N-word, because it not only means “beetle,” but also “homosexual”? The more you know about Mexicans, America …

Why do a lot of Mexicans let their toddlers stay on the baby bottle longer than most kiddos? I work at a surgery center that specializes in children’s dental surgery, and most of the patients are Mexican kids getting their teeth fixed from such scenarios. I've also personally known Mexican mothers whose children’s mouths were completely blinged out with dental work.

Any insight on why the Mexican bambinos stay on the bottle so long?

Wean ’Em Off

Dear Gabacho: You’re right about the problem—multiple studies have documented the Mexican propensity for their chicos to suffer from what’s scientifically known as early childhood caries (ECC) and colloquially known as baby-bottle tooth decay. The disease rots baby teeth, leading to so many kids making rapper Riff Raff’s dientes seem as pearly white as a Pepsodent model.

UCLA student Sally Chu’s 2006 “Early Childhood Caries: Risk and Prevention in Underserved Populations” in the Journal of Young Investigators found that “Hispanics have the highest rate of ECC in both developed and developing countries with an average prevalence of 13 percent to 29 percent, second only to Native American,” citing the seminal 2002 paper “Caries-Risk Factors for Hispanic Children Affected by Early Childhood Caries.” All studies cite poverty and lack of education more than culture, so I guess you want me to make a psychosexual joke about how Mexicans overall are still attached to their mami’s chichis, leaving us perpetual infants. Well, you ain’t going to get it, so I’ll make it up with an insight as equally lame: Why do Mexicans like to drive lowriders? So they can cruise and pick strawberries at the same time … HA!

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Dear Mexican: My wife and I chose to adopt children instead of having our own. We were living in Costa Mesa at the time, so we put down white or Latino as a preference, but were open to any ethnicity. We ended up adopting six—all Latino. It wasn’t until after we brought home a 7-year-old boy (now 15) that we were told that he was a Mexican citizen, abandoned here in the U.S. for years.

When we started the adoption process, the Mexican government fought hard to get him back. I did a little research and discovered that Mexico does not seem to want Americans to adopt Mexican children.

I can totally understand why a country would want to keep its children, but in that same year, Mexico allowed only 73 American adoptions, while tiny Guatemala allowed thousands. It pains us when we go with our church to help out at orphanages right across the border knowing that those children want families—and Americans just a few miles away are willing to adopt them.

Gringos Frustrados

Dear Gabacho: One of the reasons Guatemala had such high adoption figures in the last decade—numbering into the miles, as you put it, with more than 4,000 in 2007 alone—is that Guatemala is a poorer country than Mexico, and the government was more than willing to unload poor kids abroad; things got so crazy that the U.S. Embassy in Guatemala is no longer allowing adoptions from the country, period.

Mexico, on the other hand, has always been more tight-fisted with its chamacos getting into gabacho hands—a 2011 El Paso Times investigation found “virtually no new adoption requests from Mexico to the U.S. were processed between 2008 and late 2009” due to American, Mexican and international bylaws.

I feel how frustrated ustedes are about the situation, but Mexico and other countries need to guard against child exploitation. On the other hand, them fighting ustedes over a kid already in los Estados Unidos reeks of jingoism—it's every Mexican's mandate to fuck with gabachos at all time, after all. Just pay off those officials with pesos or something, and tell them to vayanse a la chingada.

Dear Mexican: Why is rock en español so mellow? You'd think that with so much injustice, Mexican rock bands would sound angrier.

El Gigante de Anaheim

Dear Anaheim Giant: You’d think so, right? Back in the Mexican’s rockero days, groups like Maldita Vecindad, Café Tacuba, El Gran Silencio and so many more were laying down tracks as political as they were moshable—for crying out loud, death-metal icons Brujería once recorded a song imaging hateful California governor Pete “Pito” Wilson getting assassinated with an AK-47! And who can forget rock gods El Tri singing about wiping their shit-stained culos with the border wall in “El Muro de la Vergüenza” (“The Wall of Shame”)?

But those days are long gone; nowadays, you’re lucky if the latest pop chanteuse even gives a shout-out to the 43 disappeared students of Ayotzinapa. Answer is simple: Maná. Oh, “matando güeros/estilo O.J. Simpson,” where art thou?

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Dear Mexican: I have a hard time believing that the immigrants we see at Home Depot are the best Mexico has to offer. Why can’t we entice more cream-of-the-crop of Mexicans to come up north? (Mexico has the richest man in the world, so someone has to be doing something right.) Are the laws fucked up, or are these people better off staying? It couldn’t hurt the other immigrants if we had more well-educated immigrants messing up our stereotypes.

We Can’t Do Better?

Dear Gabacho: Keep laughing at those Home Depot wabs, because they’re going to have the last risa.

All immigrant groups feature a few highly educated folks in their teeming masses, Mexicans included: Entire swaths of Texas are now the playgrounds for the middle and upper classes of northern Mexico, mostly because they’re fleeing the narco wars. And thousands of Mexicans get TN-1 visas (the NAFTA version of the smarty art H-1B visa) every year. Besides, it’s the dirty immigrants who have always pushed this country forward, from the Pilgrims to the Irish to the Dreamers of today. If all we allowed into this country from the beginning of the republic were well-educated immigrants, we’d be just like Japan—aging, crumbling and obsessed with tentacle porn.

When I was a kid, my grandmother always told me that Sonora was a beautiful place to live … that is, until people from southern Mexico began moving to Sonora. The guachos, she called them; she considered anyone hailing from south of Obregón a guacho. She had a serious dislike for anybody not from Sonora or Chihuahua. She said they had “piojos y lombrices” and spoke with funny accents (although I’ve realized people in Sonora are the ones who have accents). My grandfather considered Mexico like three different countries: north, central and south.

Can you please help me understand why the hate for guachos? I love the shit out of Jalisco, Puebla, Guerrero and even Chilangolandia. Also, why is it that in the rest of Mexico, a guacho is a slam to a soldier, but in Sonora, it’s anyone from the South?

Sonora y Sus Ojos Negros

Dear Sonora and Her Black Eyes: Regional rivalries are as much a part of the human experience as breathing, so you shouldn’t be surprised at your abuelita’s hate for the rest of us. So is thinking up of new ways to insult your rivals: While Sonora is a beautiful state, too many of its residents have a Jalisco complex about them, in that they think their ancestors never intermixed with Indians. As a result, guacho (a term originally from Quechua, and meaning “bastard”—as in, someone with no mother—in almost all of South America, which is also used to slur poor people in Cuba and soldiers in the rest of Mexico) turned into an epithet in Sonora referring to any other Mexican; the thinking was that all other Mexicans were mestizos, while sonorenses were pure-blooded Spaniards.

Come on, Sonora: If you think your grandparents weren’t getting it on with Yaquis, then you must also think flour tortillas are nothing more than water and paste. (Sorry, readers; I but don’t know too many Sonoran jokes—they’re not easy to make fun of like, say, people from Jalisco).

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Published in Ask a Mexican