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Mon12162019

Last updateTue, 18 Sep 2018 1pm

Dear Mexican: What are Mexico’s residency requirements, and how do you apply for their version of a green card? Because if that racist fuck Trump gets elected, I’m outta here.

We’ve gone too far in the past 40 years (20 if you’re from the South) to go back to the days of Jim Crow. Eight years of Bush was bad enough.

Not Gonna Put Up With That BS

Dear Gabacho: The detailed answer is in my book; the short answer is Mexico’s probably going to end up building the border wall to keep out gabachos like you who didn’t do enough to defeat the Drumpf.

Dear Mexican: Do you think that maybe television is part of the reason for this mass migration of people from Mexico and elsewhere to the United States?

For example, since you’re from there, you probably know the show The O.C.—and what is it we see on The O.C.? We see bikini-clad babes and buff lifeguards who live on the beach in nice houses with green lawns. They have exercise machines that look like UFOs and fancy sports cars. They have lots of food, good booze, lots of sex—and most important of all, lots of money.

On TV, we advertise the U.S. 24/7 .We have rock ’n’ roll, gangsta rap, reggaeton and WWE. We got those brave detectives from the NYPD keeping order in the streets, and the NYFD, who will show up at your door in 15 minutes or less after you dial 911. We’ve got Russell Crowe, Sharon Stone, Madonna, U2, Sly Stallone, Daddy Yankee, Snoop Dogg, George Lopez, Cheech and Chong, Larry the Cable Guy, J-Lo and all our ambassadors and politicians smiling in the camera saying, “Come on over and play with us. Come on over and get some of this! Come on over to Fantasylandia with your host, Barack Obama.” Hey, it’s only just across the border.

I Watch Too Much Glenn Beck

Dear Gabacho: American television? The only thing Mexicans ever picked up from it was The Simpsons, which remains one of the most popular gabacho shows in Mexico, even though Homer’s name is Homero, and Bart goes by Bartolo.

Other American shows are popular, but that’s not what drives Mexicans to come over; it’s the jobs, estúpido. And given there ain’t many right now, not as many Mexis are crossing over.

You want a better conspiracy? Go investigate whether Thomas Alva Edison was really Tomás Álvaro—the answer may surprise you!

Dear Mexican: My mom has long thought it cute and fun to quiz waiters in Mexican restaurants on how to say things in Spanish. When I was a girl growing up in an incredibly non-diverse area (Oregon), she said it would help me learn Spanish, and that I should take advantage of these rare opportunities to talk with native Spanish-speakers. But I’ve always felt it was a little rude, and maybe even condescending, to impose upon service people in this way. Is it?

Medford Maiden

Dear Gabacha: Todo tiene its time and place when it comes to learning Spanish. Getting it on with a Mexican? He’ll teach you the language of love. Protesting Donald Trump? You’ll learn so many ways of saying chinga tu madre that you’ll be able to walk the streets of Tepito with ease.

While a Mexican is working and serving you? Proceed with respect. If business is slow, quiz away; if they’re occupied, leave them be. Otherwise, they’ll tell their fellow meseros in the back of the kitchen about the loud gabacha and spit in your chips—as they should.

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 follow him on Instagram @gustavo_arellano!

Published in Ask a Mexican

Dear Mexican: Why must gringos insist on changing my preferred name of “Rose” during introductions to “Rosa” or “Rosita” or “Rosarita”? When I respond with “No, my name is Rose,” you would think I had committed a crime against my heritage to deny what can only be an assumption on their part.

Nicknames, Nicknames Everywhere

Dear Pocha: See, most Mexicans usually suffer the other way: Gabachos Anglicize their muy mexicano names into English nicknames, in the way Manifest Destiny taught them. In fact, that used to be the de facto law of the land until sometime last decade—that’s why you see old Chicanos going by Connie and Art, even though their birth names are Consuelo and Arturo.

You must be one of those veteranas, given you said Rose is your “preferred name,” suggesting it’s not your actual nombre. But instead of calling you a vendida for siding with English against Spanish or even Nahuatl (why not Xochitl—“flower” in the language of the Aztecs?), I respect your decision—names are personal things, so we should respect people’s choices.

Unless you’re Donald Trump, of course, who should only be called pinche pendejo gabacho cagaleche.

Dear Mexican: How come Mexicans don’t like negative space? I was thinking about this important question on Saturday as I was staring into a huge bowl of menudo at Delicious Mexican Foods to Go on Fort Boulevard in El Paso. It was stuffed with tripe and pozole and greasy red sauce, and then I threw in chopped onions, cilantro, dried chili pepper, salsa verde and whatever that green dried-herb is, and then I squeezed half of a lemon on top of the concoction. The nice lady also gave me two buttered bolillos hot from the oven, and a glass of water and a cup of coffee. There was no space left on the table for anything except hunger.

I began to eat. The menudo was glorious. But in the midst of my reverie, the menudo got me thinking about Diego Rivera and the Aztec calendar and Pancho Villa, for God’s sake, and even Frida Kahlo. If any of them saw even a little bit of negative space, they would fill it up with paint or blood or prophecy about the end of the world. It was like they wanted to answer every question there is to ask.

Then Japan popped into my head. The Japanese love negative space—like miso soup and strange little sushi pieces on a big platter and Zen and haiku and inked scrolls showing some monk sitting on a stone dwarfed by the totally empty void. So, lucky for me, I remembered you.

Am I right? Do Mexicans have a thing against negative space? Maybe Mexican culture is an antidote for Japanese culture, and vice versa, and what we need now is an antidote to gringo culture. And why is it I can like Mexico and Japan at the same time? Am I crazy or what?

Chuco Bobby

Dear Gabacho: You are absolutely right—we despise negative space. Gabachos see a manicured lawn; Mexicans see a place to park a car. Gabachos silently mourn during a funeral; Mexicans hire a tamborazo. Gabachos stand respectfully apart while in line; Mexicans get so close to you so they’re nearly pito to culo. It explains our love for murals and poofy quinceañera dresses and fruit salads with chili powder.

Why do we fill up negative space? Because life was meant to be lived crossing borders—DUH …

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 follow him on Instagram @gustavo_arellano!

Published in Ask a Mexican

Dear Mexican: I’ve noticed that many Mexicans have pet birds, and most of the time, they’re obviously neglected. One time, I saw a live parrot in a cage next to a cage with a dead and decaying parrot! WTF?

Is this a Third World thing—an exercise in not feeling bad about another animal’s feelings in order to strengthen minds in some twisted way? Or is it because they have seen so many adults and babies dying of disease that they have no heart for animals? I’ve passed by a house where the family keeps a cockatiel on the front porch day and night. I have never seen these people, but I will bet you anything—anything—that they are freakin’ Mexicans. I mean, it’s still alive, so obviously they keep feeding it, but why own a bird if you are not going to make it part of the family? Don't they know that birds get more intelligent with more interaction? This is something I feel strongly about, so if you know, please explain this to me.

Güero Para los Pajaros

Dear Gabacho for the Birds: You tilting, bruh? There’s a reason why the Spanish word for pet is mascota—that is, something to have around but not necessarily treat as a human. Gabachos see pets as fur- or feather-people; Mexicans see pets as animals.

But it’s not a Third World thing; it’s class, pendejo—don’t forget that Americans had the same perspective on animals they owned not so long ago. (Cockfighting was still legal in Oklahoma, New Mexico and Louisiana as recently as last decade.)

I’m not making excuses, or trying to play down the severity of our treatment of birds: A 2007 study compiled by Defenders of Wildlife, a conservation nonprofit, estimated that 65,000 to 78,500 parrots were captured each year, with about 60,000 of them dead before getting to a buyer, “making this trade terribly inhumane and wasteful.” I can’t blame the gabachos this time, either: The same report cited U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service stats that showed about 86 to 96 percent of those captured pericos stayed in Mexico.

Dear Mexican: My mom is very expressive and can say some stupid things sometimes. One night, my family had a holiday get-together, and my brother invited his Chicana friend. My mom was talking, and the word “vato” rolled from her lips; the Chicana friend’s eyes opened wide, and her jaw just dropped.

Is that an offensive word to Mexicans? We’re black, so is it like the N-word to them? What I mean is that some people take offense to the N-word; some think it’s OK to say the word if you’re black; yet others may see it as a form of saying, “What’s up?”

Question From a Black Man

Dear Negrito: You mean is there’s a word that can mean both “nigger” and “nigga” in Mexican Spanish? No word in our idioma is as loaded as those. The closest would be paisa, short for paisano. The full word means “countryman,” but roughly translates as “bro”—but in its paisa form, it can be used as a slur that means “hillbilly.”

That said, some Mexicans proudly use paisa for themselves and reappropriate the term à la nigga.

Quickly: The Chicana got offended because vato (“dude” in Chicano Spanish) is usually associated with gangs. Here’s hoping she didn’t call your mom a mayate

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 follow him on Instagram @gustavo_arellano!

Published in Ask a Mexican

Dear Mexican: I’m a misplaced half-Mexican in Mississippi, of all places. The area I live in is WHITE as WHITE can be, and has been for many foreign-hating years. However, I have seen the Latin community more than double in the four years I’ve been here. This makes me feel more at ease, since a diverse culture is what I’m used to. I spent my first 23 years born and raised in California.

My dilemma is that I find two different kinds of Latins (mostly Mexicans and Guatemalans): They are either really friendly and relieved to see another brownie, or they are NOT that accepting. I am a half-beaner: My dad is from Mexico, and I have dark skin, curly hair and the hips and ass to prove it. Problem is, I wasn’t raised as a Mexican; my dad never taught me Spanish, and I never had anything but a white neighborhood and white friends.

How can I get my brown homies in this WHITE town to accept my white-raised side, too? I feel misplaced, because the whites think I’m another “border jumping, job-stealing” Mexican, while the Latins think I’m a tanned whitey who hates them. We should be sticking together, right?

The Confused Coconut

Dear Pocho: First things primeramente: Drop the “Latins” moniker. That hasn’t been used to describe Mexis since the days when baseball writers referred to Robert Clemente as “Bob.” But having traveled through the Magnolia State—I’ve enjoyed Delta tamales in Greenville, tried a so-so burrito in Iuka, and lectured about Mexicans in the South during the fabulous Southern Foodways Symposium at the University of Mississippi—I hate to say this truth: Racist good ol’ boys are more likely to accept you than Mexicans.

Mexicans have shunned other Mexicans since the days when the Tlaxcalans and Totonacs sided with Cortés against the Aztecs. Gabachos? Yeah, they hate us, but all you have to do to get accepted by them is open a Mexican restaurant. It doesn’t matter if it sucks; you’ll mesmerize them into submission like catnip mesmerizes a gato.

Dear Mexican: I had an affair with a younger Mexican co-worker. I warned him not to get attached, as I was married, and then I didn’t follow my own advice. In the end, I made the mistake of asking what his brother would think if he knew about us—and he ended the relationship, because he realized his whole family would be disappointed. The problem is, he means a lot to me and made me feel so good. How could he call me hermosa and preciosa, tell me I was perfect—then end it?

I realize family is very important to him, but he knew what we were getting into from the start. Is there a way to get him back, or should I give up? Is that family bond, which I’ve witnessed seems to be a very Mexican thing, strong enough that now that it’s clicked with him, there’s no going back?

La Preciosa

Dear Gabacha: So you’re telling me you’re mad at a Mexican because he did what you asked—that is, you invited him in, but asked him to not get attached, and he didn’t, and now you’re sad? That’s just like the United States asking Mexico to send over men during the Bracero Program in the 1950s, but asking them not to become American—and then Americans get shocked that Mexicans remain Mexican. Comal, meet olla.

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 follow him on Instagram @gustavo_arellano!

Published in Ask a Mexican

Dear Mexican: Why do Mexicans applaud first-generation Mexicans who assimilate completely, but criticize (and apply the term vendidos) to first-generation Mexican Americans for doing it? (And why is it that there is no real name for U.S. citizens in English, forcing us to use the name of the continent? Someone should translate estadounidenses.)

Take my case, for example. Both of my parents are Basques—don’t get them wrong, they are grateful; they really love Mexico and will proudly tell you they are 100 percent Mexican, because Mexico adopted them, but they also love their original culture and speak Euskera fluently. (Well, one speaks Euskara, the other Euskera; one is from Donostia, the other from Bilbao, so they spell a few words differently.) They play Mus almost every day, prepare typical Basque dishes (txipirones, txangurros, pil-pin and the infamous kalimotxo, which is a drink that is obtained by mixing red wine and cola, almost always in a 1:1 ratio), and partake in all sorts of Basque cultural activities.

I feel proud of that heritage and speak some Euskera (badly, but I can communicate), but I don’t feel Basque, and don’t feel the need to participate in any kind of Basque cultural activity. (I love to play Mus, not because it’s Basque, but because it’s a great game.) I feel Mexican—hence, the only cultural activities I participate in are Mexican activities. (Whatever that means; Mexico has but a few real national cultural activities. The different regions have different cultural activities, making the country very interesting and diverse.) Most Mexicans applaud my behavior, and obviously applaud any similar behavior of other sons and daughters of immigrants. The funny part is that they despise the same behavior when sons and daughters of Mexican immigrants do it in the U.S., calling then by any number of names. (I would say most of them can’t be published, but I can see that you don’t have any trouble publishing “risky” words in Spanish.) In fact, many Mexicans feel betrayed by them. Why is it that the same exact behavior is applauded and vilified?

By the way: My wife says that the irony of all is that I will probably have a son or a daughter who, when talking about his father and mother, will explain how he or she is very proud of his/her heritage of his/her Mexican parents, but he/she doesn’t feel Mexican and can’t understand why his/her father feels it is so important to speak fluent Spanish. I know my father will look me directly in my eyes and exclaim poetic justice.

The “Mus”-Loving Mexican With Basque Parents Who, According to His Wife, Will Probably Have an American Kid With Bad Spanish Abilities

Dear Pocho: The only reason I let you run on and on here is because of your Basque heritage, which I’ve always respected. And your question is so pinche confusing, it might as well be in Euskara, one of the few languages in the world with no relatives.

But this is what you’re saying: Mexicans in Mexico love it when the Mexican-born children of immigrants identify with their culture (like Mexican-Kenyan actress Lupita Nyong’o), applauding it as natural, but get mad when the same happens to the children of Mexican immigrants in the U.S.

Easy answer: Mexicans want everyone to be Mexican—except Cuban-American presidential candidates, of course.

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 follow him on Instagram @gustavo_arellano!

Published in Ask a Mexican

Dear Mexican: I enjoyed reading the letter about lip liner some years back from the lovely Mexican lesbian.

I have met several guys from Mexico who came to the U.S. so they could come out of the closet. Nothing warms my middle-age gay heart more than when a nice Mexican young man says, “Hola, papi!” However, when they go home to Mexico to visit their mamasitas, they go back into the closet.

I’ve read in the news that things are getting better for my fellow homos in Mexico. Are more macho muchachos “out” in Mexico these days?

Grateful White Queen

Dear Gabacha: Life for mariposas in Mexico has gotten much better since the days when the Aztecs would kill gay men by pulling their entrails through their culos. Just last month, the Mexican Supreme Court legalized gay marriage in Jalisco, stereotypically the most macho state in la república. (The rest of us mexicanos always knew those charros from Los Altos were on the down-low, anyway.)

On the other mano, the Human Rights Commission of Mexico City’s 2008 report on LGBT discrimination noted that a Mexican governmental survey found that 48.4 percent of households said they wouldn’t allow a gay person to live there, and that more than 90 percent of LGBT folks had experienced discrimination on account of their sexuality.

In other words, Mexico is about as tolerant of gay folks as Ted Cruz—but far better-looking.

Dear Mexican: How come Mexicans lower their pickup trucks and put those tiny wheels on that stick out beyond the fender? In doing so, they essentially ruin a perfectly good truck by turning it into nothing more than a low-riding car.

I can honestly say that I haven’t seen any other ethnic group do this to their trucks as regularly as Mexicans. What gives?

Juan Confused Coloradan

Dear Pocho: Mexicans lower their cars; gabacho bros raise their Dodge Rams and F250s as high as possible. Such suspension choices are metaphors for our respective razas—Mexicans are close to Mother Earth, while gabas will forever remain uppity pendejos.

Dear Mexican: I work with Mexicans on a golf course. We eat lunch together, and I love tortillas. I even learned how to make a spoon out of a tortilla.

These guys know nothing about la cocina, so when I ask them how to make the red sauce in which the meat is cooked, they give me the furrowed-brow look. I cook a lot at my house; I’m sure some of them think this gringo is a homo. Where can I find a recipe for this red sauce?

My 18th Hole is You-Know-Where

Dear Gabacho: Not enough info here. What kind of salsa roja was it—from chile de arbol? Japones? Chipotle? Piquín? Chiltepín? Or was it a guisado? A mole? Maybe a thick consommé?

There are as many Mexican salsas as there are narcos in the Mexican government, so get back at me with the details. But don’t say that hombres can’t cook; just take it from celebrity chef Anthony Bourdain, who said last year, “If (Donald) Trump deports 11 million people or whatever he’s talking about right now, every restaurant would shut down.” So can someone shove a cold burrito in Trump’s face 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 follow him on Instagram @gustavo_arellano!

Published in Ask a Mexican

Dear Mexican: I’m an instructor at a community college. I wanted to work within the community college to help the marginalized and disenfranchised have greater access to education. Additionally, as a Latina, I have witnessed too many of my own people drop out of college, and I wanted to do something about it.

At the beginning of every semester, instructors attend personal development training, and I attended one on white privilege. The discussion included reviewing an article written some years ago about what constitutes “white privilege,” and whether that definition is still applicable today. The facilitator and some of the participants asked for my perspective on it, and whether I agreed. Finally, I understood that they thought I was white because of my lighter skin. I tactfully corrected them, telling them, “I am MexiCAN.” However, the facilitator went on to say that having the surface appearance of “white” is an advantage.

While I understand that having lighter skin poses an advantage, I don’t think that alone offsets the type of systematic racism my family has experienced. Would you agree? Also, I am frustrated with having to explain that Latinos come in all shades, and people being surprised that I don’t speak with an accent. Am I being overly sensitive, or what?

Wondering Güera

Dear Pocha: You’re not being sensitive enough—white-privilege workshops are snorefests whose takeaway should be reduced to two words: Fuck gabachos. I’m not opposed to that sentiment at all, but obsessing over color also masks the far more pernicious issue of class, especially as it applies to raza in the States.

, white historically made right in Mexico, but it never translates so easily. Take the Mexican’s ancestral ranchos in Zacatecas, El Cargadero and Jomulquillo. Residents in the former are super-white (my maternal abuelita had green eyes); gente in my dad’s rancho are más prietos. Skin color gave cargaderenses the feeling of being superior to los de Jomulquillo—never mind that both ranchos were poor AF, and both essentially emptied to el Norte due to lack of opportunities in Mexico.

White privilege for Mexicans in the U.S.? My mami’s alabaster skin didn’t keep her from working in the fields starting when she was 9, and it didn’t spare my Tío Ezequiel ruthless beatings at the hand of teenage gabachos in the 1960s while attending Fremont Junior High in Anaheim. (He got his revenge, gracias a Dios, by kicking the ass of his tormentors so bad that all the gabachos finally let him be.) So tell those white-privilege workshop trainers to stop with the race obsession, and focus on class, cabrones.

I’m curious about the etymology of the term padrastro. As the stepfather of two youngsters, I’ve wondered about the connection to the term for a hangnail. Is it a coincidence? I’ve also seen the translation mal padre, and I won’t lie: I was a bit hurt. Any info is greatly appreciated.

Super Stepfather

Dear Gabacho: Speaking of sensitive … you’re tilting, broder. Padrastro is a direct translation of the Latin patraster, which means “stepfather,” but is derived from pater (father) and –aster (a pejorative suffix roughly meaning “imposter”), so it was never meant as a nice word to begin with. Padrastro as hangnail is a purely Castilian creation—the Latin for hangnail is redivia.

So why the Mex hate on stepfathers? As with nearly all Mexican pathologies, blame the Catholic Church—you can look it up!

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 follow him on Instagram @gustavo_arellano!

Published in Ask a Mexican

Dear Mexican: Hey, I was wondering why it is that Mexicans are said to have low risk for heart attacks, considering they eat lots of beans, animal intestines and other strange foods like pigs’ feet and cow tongue. Could there be some mysterious magical healing power in all these strange cultural cuisines?

Max Cherry Burger

Dear Gabacho: How is eating animal intestines, pigs’ feet and cow tongue “strange”? That’s working-class food, whether you’re Polish, Mexican, black or a good ol’ boy from a Kentucky holler—and it’s certainly better than the mainstream mierda gabachos eat.

Another fact you got wrong: Mexicans are not paragons of heart health. Maybe in el pasado, when we mostly ate cactus and human flesh, but that was a long time ago. Nowadays, no less an authority than the American Heart Association says on its website that Mexis “face even higher risks of cardiovascular diseases because of high blood pressure, obesity and diabetes” due to our new-found diet in the United States and a lack of exercise. And don’t think this affliction is just a pocho thing, either; a 2010 American Heart Journal study by Benjamín Acosta-Cázares and Jorge Escobedo de la Peña titled “High Burden of Cardiovascular Disease Risk Factors in Mexico: An Epidemic of Ischemic Heart Disease That May Be on Its Way?” showed that the rate of Mexicans in Mexico dying of heart disease doubled between 1970 and 2000, as did rates of high blood pressure and diabetes. (While the rate is still far lower than what’s found in the U.S., the report also noted gabacho rates are going down, while ours rise like El Chapo’s pito while thinking of Kate del Castillo.)

Fact is, Mexicans are dying a slow, obese, short-breathed death gracias to our new, Americanized eating patterns—call it Donald Trump’s revenge.

Can you tell me if Eugenia is a popular name in Mexico?

Clean for Eugene

Dear Gabacha: Maybe in 1902, when names such as Sabas, Fidencio, Adoración and Petra were all the rage, but certainly not today!

I've enjoyed reading your posts and typically find your responses insightful, even if I might not always agree with your view of history. However, when you replied to an admittedly hostile question about assimilation and the level of education, you completely dropped the ball.

Not only did your snarky response fall flat (the randy racist spelled the word in question correctly in the message body of his email), but more importantly, you missed a great opportunity to explain a stereotype that from many perspectives seems to be pretty legit. Did this one hit a little too close to home?

Ad Hominem Attacks Are for Losers

Dear Gabacho: You’re referring to a question that appeared a couple of weeks ago in the chingón Denver alt-weekly Westword that insisted Mexicans don’t assimilate while referring to us as “beans” and “beaners,” opining that I’ve got my “head up (my) ass” and concluding that Mexico is a “shithole country.” And you’re upset at me for dismissing his racism with a flippant remark? Sorry, but the Mexican’s responses are based on the question posed. And, in your case, you get this: vete a la chingada, pinche pendejo baboso inútil.

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Published in Ask a Mexican

Dear Mexican: I was wondering if you can help me. I’m trying to get my family tree together. My family is from San Julian, Jalisco. Both of my grandparents were part of the bracero program, and I was wondering: What is the agency or institution where they hold the list of names of Mexicans who were part of the program? I would greatly appreciate it.

Jalisco No Se Raja

Dear Jalisco Never Backs Down: Your abuelitos were braceros? One of mine was, too, along with a chingo of uncles—one of whom ended up picking beets in Michigan. Fun!

Just to remind the gabas who braceros were: They were members of the original guest-worker program between the United States and Mexico, originally set up during World War II, so that our fighting men could go kill commie Nazis. Originally an executive order signed by President Franklin D. Roosevelt, the bracero program continued until the mid-1960s. While the pendejo GOP presidential field sometimes wishes it would return, someone should remind them the program ended because of exploitative conditions and the fact that both the American and Mexican governments shorted braceros on their salary by withholding 10 percent of their wages—wages that elderly braceros and their descendants were still battling both governments for as recently as last year.

On the Mexican side, the Secretaria de Gobernacion (SEGOB, as acronym-obsessed Mexico calls it) has a registry of ex-braceros; on the American side, try the excellent online Bracero History Archive hosted by the Center for History and New Media at George Mason University.

Good luck, and don’t think your great-grandpa was special because he fought with Pancho Villa; EVERY Mexican’s bisabuelo says that!

Dear Mexican: Yesterday in a parking lot, I was opening my car door to get out, and a lovely Mexican lady was opening her door next to me to put her young child in her car. We both opened our doors at the same time. We both quickly pulled our doors in to avoid hitting each other, but then she quickly reopened her door and took a long time to put her child in the car, thus making me wait when it would have taken me only a second to get out; she then could have proceeded.

I didn’t understand why she did this, especially when I’m an older woman and seemingly should have been granted the right-of-way. I’ve always been under the impression that in the Mexican culture, the senior woman would be given courteous regard.

Leisure World Lady

Dear Gabacha: Yes, we respect our elders—but we respect a woman with a child more, and so should you. Plus, you’re a gabacha—and gabachos are EVIL. Lucky she didn’t steal your country while you were waiting.

Oh, wait…

WATCH BORDERTOWN!

Reward your faithful Mexican with the regalo of watching Bordertown, the Fox animated show on which I served as a consulting producer. It airs Sundays at 9:30 p.m. (8:30 p.m. Central). Watch it live; DVR it; watch it on Hulu or Fox Now—I don’t really care, as long as you watch it! And por favor, don’t pirate it until the eighth season!

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Published in Ask a Mexican

Dear Mexican: I’ve been following a show called You’re The Worst since it started showing on FX in 2014. Among other things, it features a character named Edgar Quintero, an awkward and troubled Iraq War veteran who happens to be Mexican American. I think this must be the only such character regularly featured in series television these days.

My only issue with the character is that, though he is well-handled, the actor who plays him is obviously from the Eastern U.S. Non-Mexican-American actors have been playing Mexican-American characters, sometimes quite well, for decades. In this case, Desmin Borges has a Puerto Rican background. I don’t consider that a problem in and of itself. But I have a big problem if they talk like they are from New York or Chicago.

The language of those of us out West, Latino and otherwise, is different, and we rarely see this acknowledged on television or in movies. Nonetheless, I love the show, and he is certainly my favorite character.

I wanted to know if you had an opinion about this character and his portrayal.

Television Reconquista

Dear Gabacho: You’ve gotta get your Borges background right. He’s part-Puerto Rican, born in Chicago, raised in Houston, lives in NYC, and works on a show based in Los Angeles—as jumbled of a cultural history as that of any Mexican.

You’re the Worst is funny, and Borges’ character is great in that he’s just a guy—not a Mexican, not a Puerto Rican playing a Mexican, but a guy who happens to be Mexican. I can’t state how revolutionary that is, in an industry that still writes Mexican men as little better than cholos and narcos. And while it’d be cool if a Chicano from City Terrace played Edgar Quintero and made him talk like a Chicano from City Terrace, it sure is better than Douglas Fairbanks playing Zorro—or, hell, Hillary Clinton pretending to be an abuela.

Dear Mexican: Why can’t second- and third-generation Mexicans just chill? The reason I ask is because lately, there have been more cholos infiltrating the Colorado River, and although there’s plenty of room for them, they always get all stabby or start fights. I've been going there for years and love it, because everyone’s pretty much drunk and happy … except for the cholos.

What’s up with that? Could it be that the Indian in them gets crazy with hard liquor? Or is that just with American Indians?

La Coconut

Dear Pocha: Cholos fight because they’re cholos, just like bros fight at Lake Havasu because they’re bros. You can’t hate a cholo or bro for fighting any more than you can hate Donald Trump for being dumb—it’s who they are. The problem, of course, is when said cholos or bros or Trump fuck it up for everyone else.

The solution? Place them all on a houseboat and let them sort it out—someone green-light THAT show!

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Published in Ask a Mexican