Last updateMon, 20 Apr 2020 1pm

Dear Mexican: I’m listening to a podcast called Gravy. The segment is bluegrass tacos. You were interviewed, and a few statements bothered me: “The U.S. can take half of Mexico. They can make us peons, force us to move up north.”

Is this a common shared view of America(ns) in your community? If so, it is very disappointing that in 2017, you would express this bias/prejudice against this amazing country.

How were you forced to move north? Do you recognize/appreciate all the opportunities that this country has given you and other Mexicans who have came here? I would like to know your views. My initial opinion of you is that you are holding onto the view: “We are an oppressed people and can’t believe what America has done to us.”

There is always a “great” country to the south that offers so much more, without the oppression, that has openings for residency. Let me know what you think.

Ticked Off in Tulsa

Dear Gabacho: You know what I think? You’re a pendejo.

The podcast Gravy is an extension of the James Beard-winning food journal, for which I write a column called “Good Ol’ Chico,” where I write about the Latino South. And what you call “bias/prejudice” are straight-up facts.

The United States did steal half of Mexico, but you don’t have to take my word—just ask Ulysses S. Grant, who said that the Mexican-American War was “one of the most unjust ever waged by a stronger against a weaker nation.” I don’t have to “hold on” to the idea that Mexicans are oppressed—we know it’s true every time whiny gabachos like yourself insist that we love this country just like you. The cool thing, though, is that we don’t let pendejos like you get in the way of creating a better America.

Finally, have you ever heard of a little chingadera called NAFTA—you know, the one thing Donald Trump gets right? It not only stole jobs from American workers; it upended Mexico’s economy, forcing millions of people to el Norte. And, yes, they were forced—just like the Irish were forced to leave Eire due to the brutal British, and the Jews who fled pogroms, and the Okies who got out of the Dust Bowl for a better chance at life.

My, how quickly Oklahomans forget their own history—it’s sad that a Mexican has to teach you about your own people, but that happens only in America.

Dear Mexican: I’ve always noticed that some second-generation and even third-generation Mexican Americans speak English with an accent. I understand that English might not be their first language, but why do some Americans like Cheech Marin or Danny Trejo, who've been here for generations, still have an accent, while a first-generation wab like me has been told I speak English like a white person, whatever that means?

Pocho Pero Paisa

Dear Pocho: Trejo and Cheech have an accent the same way a mick in Southie has an accent, or the way characters on Fargo speak in their own unique way. It’s regional American English—in their case, Chicano English, coming from generations of assimilation in the Southwest.

We children of modern-day Mexicans sometimes get that accent, and sometimes don’t, because we learn English as a second language, not as our primary one. The most prominent practitioner of Chicano English is George Lopez, who once tried to make this column into a television show, then let the option lapse. Hey, George: Let’s take more meetings, you know?

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Dear Mexican: Why can’t U.S. citizens take responsibility for their own actions? It’s common to encounter ignorant people blaming Mexicans (and many other Latin Americans) for their own plight. But let’s look at the facts: First, almost as soon as the Spanish, French, Portuguese and Dutch left their colonies in this hemisphere, Washington, D.C., stepped in, trying to support puppet dictatorships and crush any real independence. These puppets often (not always) impoverished many of their people.

Also, every year, U.S. citizens hand over billions of dollars of their own tax money in subsidies to agribusinesses. These companies use their “welfare for the rich” to cover their costs, and then dump overproduced, underpriced agricultural products on Mexico. This forces Mexican farmers out of business and off of the land, which forces down Mexican wages and job availability, and forces Mexicans out of the country. So what happens? The impoverished results of the aforementioned events are showing up as illegal immigrants in the U.S. As embattled immigrants in the U.K. put it in the 1970s, “We come here because you go there.”

Fuck Neo-Colonialism

Dear Gabacho: You pretty much lo clavaste, especially the second and third points—that’s the story of the North American Free Trade Agreement, which Bill Clinton pushed on us Mexicans during his administration, and which Hillary Clinton has never denounced.

While the Mexican’s preferred candidate of choice for any political race will always be Alfred E. Neuman, you’re better off as a Mexican if you feel el Bern instead of trying to pretend that Hillary has things in common with your abuela, as a laughable Clinton listicle insisted last year. The only grandmother La Hillary even resembles in Mexican culture is one of those mean, rich ones in telenovelas who talks trash on the india maids and her puta daughter-in-law.

Why are we content to hear the same old recycled Tejano music? We have tons of local jazz and blues musicians—why doesn’t the Latin radio station dedicate a few hours a day to these artists? Encourage them to push the boundaries. Stretch out, and push the envelope. Can you imagine the outcome? Why aren’t we, in turn, impacting Anglo and Black culture with our style, music, art, literature, acting and architecture?

Fresa Freddy

Dear Pocho: I seriously doubt you’re listening to Tejano music; you’re probably a pendejo pocho who can’t tell his Flaco Jimenez from Ramón Ayala and thinks Jennifer Lopez made Selena popular. Spanish-language stations don’t play local artists for the same reason that English-language ones don’t—they don’t come from the record-label cartels that dominate Top 40 music.

You want boundary-pushing music? Let’s take your much-maligned Tejano music, which takes the Czech polka, Polish mazurka and German waltz; puts Spanish lyrics in front of it; speeds it up with American rock ’n’ roll; adds R&B pizzazz; and calls it a start.

Modern-day jazz and blues? They’re more derivative than a piñata-maker.

Finally, if you don’t think we influence gabacho and negrito culture, go talk to Taco Bell.

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Dear Mexican: I wasn’t born in this country, but I got here as quickly as I could at the age of 10. I was born in Mexico and live in Houston, a city that is bursting at the seams with Mexicans and Latinos from every country south of the border.

I think I have the solution to this immigration debate. The light bulb went on recently when I was attending a breakfast put on by big-time real estate developers at a five-star hotel. They were pitching new communities being built in resort cities starting at a mere half-million dollars.

So why not just annex Mexico? We’d make it easier for rich gabachos to go south with their money and create lots of jobs.

El Coco

Dear Coconut: Isn’t that what NAFTA did?

All my Mexican friends are second- or third-generation Americans, and relate to Mexico in a generic way, but are shaky on the details of history. Which grupo should they hang with? The bloodthirsty “We're here to kill you and steal all your stuff” conquistadores, or the “cut out your beating heart and worship anything that moves” indios?

White Who Likes Brown Power

Dear Gabacho: Gabachas, of course: the blonder, the better!

Why is it that you guys pack yourselves eight deep in a pickup truck cab that wouldn’t hold me, my huntin’ dog and my girlfriend, ’n’ then drive down the freeway slower than Canadian snowbirds lookin’ for Sun City? Almost makes me want to reach back ’n' grab my deer rifle outta the rack!

Road-Raged Red Neck

Dear Gabacho: You do that, boy, and all those Mexicans will pour of the camioneta and give you some good ol’ fashioned chingazos like we always do—and there’s your answer.

I’m going to graduate school for Mexican history, and I had a professor of Chicano studies call me a Mexicanist. Have you heard of this term before? What does it mean?

La Sonorense

Dear Woman From Sonora: Yes, I’ve heard of the term—it means your professor is an insecure pendejo.

I love your articles and would invite you to El Tepeyac in Boyle Heights for a burrito, but I don’t have enough bus fare for the 47 family members you will probably bring along. But I need some love advice.

I think I really fancy a Mexican lady who regularly recycles cans and bottles around my neighborhood. She’s like a seven out of 10, wears jeans and boots, and looks like she can really please the right kind of guy. I’m a middle-aged güero gabacho who isn’t unpleasing to look at. What should I say to make her bed me?

Huevos Oaxaca Rellenos Nuevo Yucatan

Dear Oaxacan Eggs New Yucatan Rellenos: Whisper “Soy un pendejito gabacho con verga de pulga, y huevos de chavala”—and you’ll get what a fine gabacho like yourself deserves!

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Dear Mexican: Do Mexicans know that if at least one of their grandparents was born in Spain, they can immigrate immediately not just to Spain, but any other country in the European Union? I know this is not an option for a lot of Mexicans, but it certainly seems like a better one for those who have the “Spanish” option.

Spain is a First World country with free health care and seven-hour work days—and quite simply, Spanish people seem to share much more in common with Mexicans.

Don’t get me wrong: I think Mexicans are a great thing for America, and that anyone who wants to live here should be able to, yet I am also a realist. I only bring this up because, well, it just seems like it might be an easier option for those grandchildren who fled Spain to come to Mexico during the times of Franco. It’s also a hell of a lot cheaper than a coyote. Learning to say vosotros and vos instead of ustedes and tu, and using joder instead of chingar seems a small price to pay. Then again, “Jodo tu mama” just doesn’t have the same ring …

Genuinely Concerned Gabacho Living in Mexico

Dear Gabacho: Don’t just limit your goodwill to Spanish refugees from the Franco regime. Last year, the Spanish government said anyone who could prove their ancestors were Sephardic Jews cast out during the Inquisition could apply for Spanish citizenship. (Conveniently left out, of course, were descendants of the Moors because, you know, Muslims.)

Becoming a member of the European Union might sound appealing to gabachos looking to backpack for a year, but a mass migration to Al-Andalus ain’t happening for Mexicans: They only give a shit about Spain when they win the FIFA World Cup, or a Mexican soccer player gets to ride the bench for Real Madrid or FC Barcelona.

Why is it that Mexicans call people from the United States norteamericanos instead of unidenses? Don’t they know that Mexico and Canada are also in North America?

El Habrano

Dear Wab: Because Mexicans are also U.S.-ers—the full name of their country in habla is Estados Unidos Mexicanos. And while mexicanos know that Canada—and Mexico, for that matter—are in North America, we didn’t discover the Great Gabacho North until 1994, once the North American Free Trade Agreement let us know of another country to eventually conquer.


Dr. Ron Romero, a dentist from Santa Fe, N.M., let the Mexican know at the annual Servicios de la Raza gala in Denver that not only did dentists appreciate me discussing their profession in February (in the column answering why so many Mexican children have silver teeth); he also asked if I can pass along the following public health announcement.

He says that childhood caries (the disease that makes babies teeth rot and is colloquially known as baby bottle tooth decay) is a communicable disease, and that it can be transmitted by the simple act of feeding each other from the same spoon or drinking from the same glass. Doc Ron also wants ustedes to know that childhood caries are easily preventable—just go to your local dentist, and they’ll apply a simple wash that’ll put you in the clear for a while.

Consider your request done, Dr. Romero—and think you can fit a diamond in my front teeth à la Lenny on The Simpsons?

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Dear Mexican: My co-worker was driving to work this morning when she realized she was being followed by a Mexican in his vehicle. He followed her for at least three miles on the road, and during this time, he waved at her, smiled when she frowned, and even puckered his lips. She took small streets and confirmed that he was following her every move until she was able to lose him.

Why do Mexican men tend to follow women when they are driving? Do Mexican men really think that relationships start on the road?

Perturbed in Pacific Palisades

Dear Gabacha: Let’s ask Chris Berman. In a 1990 Sports Illustrated profile (one of the first big ones on the legendary sportscaster, since the magazine was still lamely comparing him to Fred Flintstone), Boomer admitted to pulling the very stunt you just described. “One day in 1979, he tracked a silver Firebird down Interstate 84,” the story reads. “When it pulled into the parking lot of an elementary school, so did he. Berman got out of his station wagon and nonchalantly kicked its tires. When the driver of the Firebird walked past him, he asked her to go to breakfast with him the next day. She accepted, and four years later, they were married.”

Maybe your friend should’ve stopped her vehicle and met the Mexican of her dreams. Instead, she gets a yenta of a gal pal to stereotype only one group of men instead of admitting that all men are perverted pendejos one way or another. Next thing I know, you’re going to ask why Mexican construction workers make kissy-kissy sounds at women—without having ever walked past a Manhattan demolition crew.

The U.S. public opposed NAFTA, so why can’t more people connect trade policy to the current immigration debate? Why won’t people in this country get involved, even for selfish, populist reasons? Why should Latin Americans (and poor people worldwide) have to do all the work themselves? Before I read Ohio Sen. Sherrod Brown’s Myths of Free Trade, do you have any recommendations for opening the eyes of gabachos, gringos and all the rest? Perhaps getting this published would be a start, so I will stop typing.

¡La Lucha Continua!

Dear The Struggle Continues: Here’s the problem, and you already hinted at this: I could recommend all sorts of books and authors that show the devastation NAFTA wrought on Mexico in the form of destroyed industries, and the subsequent mass migration to the United States that gabachos fret over so pinche much—but it won’t matter.

The best writer on Mexican immigration’s effects on Mexico and el Norte, of course, is Los Angeles Times scribe Sam Quinones (whose books I always plug come Christmastime), but most every Chicano writer and artist has railed about NAFTA ever since it started … to the choir.

How can you make gabachos care about NAFTA? Make it sing the national anthem in a mariachi costume.

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