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Last updateTue, 18 Sep 2018 1pm

I’m a white, college-educated, liberal, Democrat, socialist U.S. citizen. I don’t have any problem with Mexicans coming here to get a good job. In fact, I don’t see the “problem.”

From your perspective, why are Republicans and redneck dickheads so into building that big fence on the border? What I mean is: If there are so many “illegal” Mexican immigrants in the U.S., what is stopping them from becoming “legal?” Is it really a question of attaining citizenship, or is it just plain ol’ ignorant racism?

Taco Lover in Houston

Dear Gabacho: Gracias for writing in, Bernie Sanders! Love ya, but I don’t think you stand a chance against that pendeja Hillary—but good for you for pushing her into Aztlanista territory.

As for the preguntas: Republican dickheads want to build a wall because it’s the simplest “solution” to the immigration “problem” and is symptomatic of how out of touch they are with America’s raza reality. They obviously don’t know that if we do build a 100-foot tall wall tomorrow on the U.S.-Mexico frontera, some chilango from Tepito will build a 101-foot ladder the following day—and the slide that goes with it—while a culichi will construct a tunnel underneath it that would rival the Lincoln Túnel. And it’s those same Republican cagaleches who are stopping undocumented folks from becoming legal by failing to work with Democrats on a good amnesty program.

Hey, I get it: The GOP knows that once we get the vote—and I know I said this last week, but it bears worth repeating—we’ll make them as irrelevant as the payphone.

Let me start out by saying that I’m a HUGE fan of your newspaper columns. I’m writing you because at a recent family dinner, one of my cousins was telling the family his opinion of the word “Mexican.” He proceeded to say that the word is racist and degrading, and everyone should refer to people from Mexico as “Cinnamon People” or “Cinnamons.” He said this because, in his opinion, most people from Mexico have a light tint or shade of red to their skin. So with this thought in mind, I asked my Mexican friends at school if “Mexican” is racist and degrading; all but two just laughed at me. A few people have agreed with my cousin but still: I’m very confused.

Is “Mexican” a racist word? I have seen countless people call someone a “Mexican” at school and get knocked out for it, yet I can refer to my Mexican friends as anything I want (partly because I’m half-black, and they can call me whatever they like). Can you help me understand? Should mainstream America start referring to the Mexican people as “Cinnamons”? Or is my cousin being ignorant/racist? Can you PLEASE help me understand this conundrum?

Eager in Elizabethtown

Dear Young Mujer: “Cinnamons?” At least your cousin didn’t suggest “wetbacks.”

He’s not racist—one of the most romantic songs in the Spanish language is the bolero standard “Piel Canela,” which translates as “Cinnamon Skin” and was immortalized by Eydie Gormé (yes, of lounge-lizards legend Steve and Eydie) with Trio Los Panchos. That said, calling someone a “Mexican” can be racist, mostly if the person being called that isn’t a Mexican, or if the person saying it pronounces it “Messkin” and has a deportation cannon next to them.

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 teach U.S. citizenship classes in both Spanish and English. Recently, some of my students corrected others in Spanish about race terms. How do I help my students talk about race progressively, so they don’t sound like racist grandmas?

Denver, But Works in Littleton

Dear Gabacha: Tough, ain’t it? A jefe once told me that German was such a direct language that the word for “meat” literally translated as “flesh”—and that’s how it is when Mexicans speak about race in America. “African American” does translate as afroamericano in Mexican Spanish, but most Mexicans think that’s PC silliness and a mouthful. Instead, the best you can hope for is negro, which literally translates as “black,” but means “negro.” Similarly, “Asian American” translates as asiático-americano, but most Mexicans go for chino—Chinese. And I’m saying the polite terms; I can only imagine what your students cracked during class.

My advice: Teach them that race is a social construct; hyphens shouldn’t exist; and everyone in this country is an American—except that pendejo Donald Trump, of course.

In your appearance on the radio show On the Media, you said you think that white America will never accept Mexicans and Mexican Americans as anything besides an “other.” I've heard other people argue that Mexican Americans will one day also become assimilated into “mainstream” American society, like other immigrant groups such as Italians and Irish who were initially considered “other.”

What leads you to disagree?

Media Pundit

Dear Gabacho: You wrote this back in 2006, just after I appeared on the NPR show. (Sorry not sorry for just getting to your pregunta; the queue for this columna is longer than the pedestrian line at the U.S.-Mexico border.) I should’ve added during my appearance that Mexicans are always assimilating into American society; it’s just that American society won’t accept it. I was proven right, regardless: It’s now 2015, and Republican candidates are babbling about anchor babies, mass deportations and border walls. Meanwhile, us Mexis keep assimilating and are getting ready to vote pendejos away next year and side with Deez Nutz!

Why do most Americans stereotype us as stupid Chicanos? Chicanos are a disgrace to Mexicans, and so are cholos. Our roots don’t take pride in the things these pendejos value.

I’m a Hispanic, Not a Stupid Chicana.

Dear Pendeja: While I’m no fan of cholos, and have bagged on Chicanos before, it’s pendejas like you who make me want to put on a Bo Jackson Raiders jersey and blast “Crystal Blue Persuasion” from my Monte Carlo.

Mexican “roots”? You mean a culture that historically glamorized valientes (gunslingers), revolutionaries and bloody Christs? Or are you one of those fresas who isn’t that type of Mexican, who looks askance at pochos and paisas? News flash for you, princesa: Your “Hispanic” vendida pendeja kind is the biggest disgrace to raza since that one chick who said her ancestors were Basque even though she was had a big ol’ nopal en la frente.

Is it true that Mexicans use human excrement to ferment pulque?

Mucho Grande Pendejo

Dear Gabacho: Nope. Is it true that gabachos would still drink it if it was? Damn straight!

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: My boyfriend is Mexican, and I love him very much. We have a very good relationship, and most of the time, he is sensitive to my needs and feelings. On some occasions, however, he will act in a VERY stubborn way.

For example, if something I say or do is disappointing to him, rather than tell me he is disappointed or hurt, he will insist that whatever we are doing has to stop. One time, we had a disagreement on New Year’s Eve when we were getting ready to go out for the evening. He got so angry that he yelled and said the evening was off, and we were not going out—so we didn’t go. Another example that just happened the other night was that I didn’t feel like dancing when we were out at a lounge, but I wanted to stay to hear the music. He was so angry about me not dancing that he said, “If you’re not gonna dance, we have to go home,” which we did. In these instances, he demands that I do as he says, which is ending the activity—it’s as if he has to punish me if he doesn’t get his way.

I don’t understand why he has to call the whole evening off. Is this behavior part of Mexican culture (“El Rey” syndrome)? Or is this his own pathology? Or am I being an overly sensitive gringa?

Huerita Hermosa

Dear Beautiful Gabacha: Dump this llorón NOW.

I’m not going to pretend that Mexican men aren’t capable of domineering, irrational actions toward women—is your guy demanding that you not talk to your siblings for decades, like far too many rancho machos I know? At least you didn’t mention anything about physical abuse, thank Dios. But acting like a chavala when things don’t go his way? A real Mexican man wouldn’t even talk about his emotions to you, instead saving it for the yentas who are his borracho buddies. Continually melting down the way your guy does suggests he’s someone with the maturity of a Donald Trump supporter—so dump the pendejo now, and get yourself a man with actual huevos.

I just had my first child, and in true Mexican fashion, I plan to have him baptized Catholic in the coming months. However, I married a Whitexican, whose mother is white and father is Mexican. In planning the baptism this weekend, I tried to explain to them the very tradition of giving bolo by the godparents, but I was bombarded with questions as to how it started, and why we do this as a Mexican tradition. I had no answer, so I figured maybe you had an answer I could pass along to the in-laws.

As you might know, to give bolo is the tradition of the godparents giving away money to the attendees, apparently for being part of the celebration—usually quarters, dollars. etc. Now, this is my understanding as to why it’s done, but I may be wrong. Any help would be appreciated.

Baptism Belén

Dear Pocha: Perhaps the biggest difference between Mexican and gabacho Catholics isn’t our worship of Mary or their declining church attendance, but rather the importance of godparents. For gabas, it’s just an excuse to dress up for a day and pretend to be Catholic; for Mexis, it signifies a blood oath between families. Toward that, the tradition of bolo is for the padrinos to show their worth as godparents by giving away money, much like the potlatches of the Pacific Northwest.

Etymology? From the word óbolo, which dates back to the Greek term for a sixth of a drachma. But warning: If you’re an adult expecting bolo at a baptism, everyone will think you a loser deserving of the ugly cousin in the familia.

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 white, and Donald Trump scares the crap out of me. Mexicans must be shaking in their boots. Does The Donald give Mexicans the willies? Do Mexicans get the willies?

Dump Trump

Dear Gabacho: Scared of him? Donald Trump is the best thing to happen to Mexicans since the bacon-wrapped hot dog. Oh, his rhetoric is straight out of The Turner Diaries, and Trump’s fans make slack-jawed yokels seem as cultured as Aristophanes. But the piñata pendejo is exactly what Mexicans need—a kick in the nalgas to wake us up and get ready for the 2016 elections.

Mexicans vote best when raza is threatened, and given he’s vowing to deport 11 million undocumented folks and their anchor babies (otherwise known as “American citizens” by the Constitution), we’re going to make sure that neither Trump nor any of the candidates copying his ideas get into the Oval Office. And if he does? Let’s have a double-revolution in Mexico and the U.S., and boot the bastards out in both of our countries, ¿qué no?

Can you clue me in as to what it means when someone is called jarocho? I know it’s a traditional Mexican style of music—son jarocho—but in what other ways is it used?

Colas, Colas

Dear Nicholas Gabacho: A quick description for your fellow gabas: Son jaracho is a style of music from the Mexican state of Veracruz that involves high-strung, quickly strummed tiny guitars called jaranas; a distinctive lead guitar called a requinto; and other instruments that can range from a harp to a donkey’s jawbone to a drum. Together, they create a beautiful genre (“La Bamba” is its most famous song) that, while known in Mexico, is an obsession of Chicano yaktivists; they arrange academic conferences around all-night parties, lionizing its supposedly proletarian spirit while relegating other, more-popular Mexican regional music forms like tamborazo and chilenas to quinceañeras in Montebello.

No es surprise, then, that jarocho also refers to someone from Veracruz. But this is where its etymological roots get fun: The Real Academia Española defines a jarocho as someone “of brusque manners, not courteous, and something insolent,” and traces its roots to the word farota, which means “shameless woman” (and that word comes from a classical Arabic term referring to the act of getting angry). In other words, jarocho is a word originally used as an insult, but reappropriated by veracruzanos as a point of pride. Such linguistic tactics are popular around Mexico: Words like chilango (someone from Mexico City) and paisa (a hillbilly) are other such intended regional slurs. This shows Mexicans can make beauty out of shit at all times, which explains the continued popularity of Maná.

And speaking of caca

Your people have destroyed your own country, and like any good virus, when you run out of things to destroy, you move on to somewhere else to destroy.

Do you know why Mexico is a shithole, and America is great? Because Mexico is full of Mexicans, and America is full of whites. That’s literally the only reason. Congratulations: You will never be more than a poor, brown-trash spic. Viva la Caca!

The Donald Devotee

Dear Gabacho: Viva! Manure is a wonderful, natural miracle worker that can fertilize the most wasted of terrains. Why, with all us shit-Mexicans smearing across the United States, our cosecha in 50 years will bring this country back to the Garden of Eden.

And gabachos? Y’all will be reduced to skid marks.

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 tired of debating pasty white-breads that the Camino Real has had people going back and forth across the border for more than 500 years—and that a fence is redundant, because people will always be crossing our southern border. The white-breads insist that the wall can end this traffic; I don’t think so.

What is your thought on the history of the Camino Real?

Blanco Beaner

Dear Gabacho: Which Camino Real are we talking about? The one that connected California’s missions and was romanticized by gabachos? The one that connected Texas’ missions? El Camino Real de Tierra Adentro, which went from Mexico City to Santa Fe? Or El Camino Real, the chingón Fullerton eatery that’s the favorite Mexican restaurant of Los Angeles Lakers superstar Kobe Bryant?

All of them reflect the same idea you allude to—that la frontera has had humans going back and forth for centuries, if not millennia, and that trying to seal off the border for good is as futile of an endeavor as getting Donald Trump’s mouth not to spew caca.

I was in San Diego recently renting a car when I mentioned I might be taking it down to Tijuana for the day. The nice man behind the counter asked me if I wanted to buy Mexican insurance. I thought that was a great idea.

Do you know if it’s available here in Denver? I’m sure I would feel a lot safer driving around the streets with that policy in my glove box!

Chubby Chubbys Chump

Dear Gabacho: You know, I was going to answer your question honestly—of course you can’t get Mexican insurance to cover you in the United States; it’s called Mexican insurance for a reason. And Mexican insurance really isn’t all that necessary in Mexico, if you have a $50 bill on you to pay off a cop—but now I’m thinking you’re just fucking with me.

May Peyton Manning choke again this season as punishment for your pendejadas.

I think, by law, all al pastor should be made traditionally—on a spit, topped with a fresh pineapple. Agreed?

Su Amigo, Otro Idiota con las Mejores Intenciones

Dear Friend, Another Idiot with the Best Intentions: Yes, and no. The Mexican personally thinks al pastor—the Mexican meat that involves packing together chunks of marinated pork on a spit, slowly roasting it for hours, and shaving off slices as needed—tastes best when topped with a pineapple, the better to have jugo de piña seep into the trompo. But be careful when you talk about traditions and Mexican foods.

As seemingly all hipsters found out this year after NPR and leeches—sorry, I meant millennial publications—did stories about al pastor’s origins, the tradition owes nothing to Mexico: It’s based on the shawarmas that Middle Eastern immigrants brought to central Mexico in the 1930s. All Mexicans did was substitute puerco for the original beef and lamb. And the original al pastor didn’t have pineapple—that’s a more recent addition dating back no more than 30 years, if that.

The only Mexican food law that should be enacted is a ban on anyone ever thinking again that celebrity chef Rick Bayless is an authority on anything other than his pocketbook.

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 is it that Mexican immigrants like my parents—who have done well enough in this country to provide a home (a house, paid off in 10 years, in white Orange County), an education, food, clothes and toys for their children (namely, myself and my brother)—can complain about El Hombre Gringo and his stupid immigration laws, yet when they go down to Tijuana, or to visit family in La Barca and Zacatecas, they complain about the prices of things: the blankets, the jewelry, the food, about how all it’s “tan caro”? Call me a commie, but goddamn, these people are making shit profit on their wares. Shouldn’t more affluent people such as my parents be happy to spread their money around and help out their fellow men and women?

Why do my parents complain about how El Hombre Gringo treats us like shit, even though Mexicans work hard at the jobs gringos wouldn’t do, but when they see one of “our people” selling roses on the freeway off-ramps, they ignore him, and never even think about buying them from him? At least he’s not just standing there with a cardboard sign that says “Will wurk fur food,” so why make a big stink when I want a damn blanket at the border crossing (one of those fabulous warm fuzzy ones, you know) that costs $32, and would most certainly cost me more than twice that even in Westminster? ¿Qué mendiga mierda es eso?

I don’t exactly consider myself Mexican; call me a traitor, if you will, but since I was born in the U.S., raised around nothing but whites, and went to school with a majority of whites, I don’t identify with the Chicano culture. But I see what people like my parents do—people who were born in Mexico, and know what it’s like to live in poverty—and I wonder what mierda their brains are made of, that they wouldn’t try to help out with something so piddly as buying the stupid Chicletes that the children at the border sell. Sure, you can’t buy from all of them, but why refuse to let me buy the blanket, saying, “Oh, he’ll come back and lower his price”? Well, he didn’t come back, and I never got my blanket. And he never got the $32 I was more than willing to fork over; I was actually, going to give him $40. because who cares? (But don’t tell my dad that; he’d mess his pants.)

Too Many More Issues to Mention

Dear Pocho: Loco, you’re nothing but a Chicano. Chicanos are the only people on Earth who care about poor Mexicans. Mexicans in Mexico don’t give a shit; Mexican immigrants in the United States not brainwashed by progressive do-gooders (SARCASM ALERT to said progressive do-gooders, who’ll only laugh at jokes that involve Republicans getting ISIS’ed) talk nothing but shit about the paisas and nacos and chúntaros in their neighborhoods. So God bless you for caring about poor Mexicans, but a word to the wise: Stop being a Linus. The Paramount Swap Meet sells blankets for cheaper than $32.

Does Mexico have a problem with illegal immigrants coming into their country for free healthcare and welfare?

San Miguel de Allende Asshole

Dear Gabacho: No, because we’re smarter than that—and look at how great our immigration policy has worked for us!

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 Readers: The Mexican is currently in the rancho, scheming about how to get close enough to Donald Trump so I can smear a bean burrito in his face … HA!

But I did want to share two cosas. A couple of weeks back, I published a letter by one Dickhead in Denver, who asked 10 pendejo questions, regarding everything from why Mexicans are so fat to why Mexicans aren’t good in math. Your humble paisa easily knocked him down, but so did many of ustedes in letters sent to me—chingao!

I wish I could quote one directly, but I can’t. Let’s just say an executive from a major American company told me that company hires more engineers from Mexico than the United States, and showed me the numbers to prove it—chingao!

The following letter is one I’m allowed to share in its entirety:

I can’t address some of the B.S. addressed by this individual so aptly named, but here’s something: I taught as an intern and then as a substitute teacher in Albuquerque, N.M., almost exclusively at Dolores Gonzales Elementary by the BioPark for two years. The kids from Mexico were better in math, science and language skills (Spanish, of course) than local kids. In one of the classes where I acted as a teaching assistant, there were five of them who were placed in advanced classes the following year.

Where the kids got screwed up was a three-fold thing: 1. Dealing with “cooperative learning” crap. They were used to traditional, old-school methods with the teacher in front of the class, and the kids listening, taking notes, etc. When you broke them up into groups, that’s when problems began. 2. Learning a new language. 3. Pressures from IDIOT local Hispanic/Latino kids who ridiculed them and sometimes beat them up, because they were diligently trying to learn; and pressures at home from parents who were also dealing with a number of issues.

Le tengo odio a mitoteros/mentirosos como Dickhead: “Todo el dia, tuercen mis palabras …” —Salmos 56.5

’Burque Babe

For those who don’t habla: The maestra said at the end: “I hate nosy idiots/liars like Dickhead: ‘All day long, they twist my words…’ Psalms 56:5.” Biblical retribution? Chingao!

See, America? Mexicans come to this country all perfect and precious—and it’s this country that destroys them by making them become Americans.

BUY THIS BOOK!

#FuckCancer: The True Story of How Robert the Bold Kicked Cancer’s Ass is an awesome new book by Robert Flores, a lifelong butcher who decided to tell his tale after surviving fourth-stage colon cancer. #FuckCancer is not just the latest entry in the lengthy bookshelf of cancer literature; it also belongs in Chicano studies classrooms. In the butcher, you find everything we want our community to turn into: a fighter. A survivor. Someone who’s proud of where he’s from. Brown and down. And a pioneer: Robert is brave enough to tell his story and to become a writer despite being in his mid-50s after never having written a “professional” story, let alone a full-length book. May this book inspire people who want to be writers but are afraid to do so … to do so.

Follow him on Twitter @foxflores, and buy his book at roberttheboldstore.etsy.com!

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 recently received the biography of Rolling Stones guitarist Ronnie Wood. While reading about his friendship with Jimi Hendrix, I came to a part in which Ronnie describes Jimi as part black, Cherokee and Mexican.

I’ve always read about Jimi’s grandmother being Cherokee, but this was the first I read about him being Mexican. I Googled Hendrix’s name with the word “Mexican” and received many hits.

Is this another mentira originated by Mexicans, like Anthony Quinn’s supposedly real last name being Quintana??

El Habrano

Dear Wab: Man, the locuras some people believe and repeat, ¿qué no? I’ve seen mentions of Hendrix’s supposed Mexican heritage everywhere from the aforementioned Ronnie: The Autobiography to mainstream American newspapers to even the bloody BBC. But don’t believe what you find on the Internet—it’s only good for reading my column.

I have no idea why or when people began believing Hendrix was part-wab, but the rumor’s been around since at least the late 1990s. The closest I can peg him to possessing any Mexican roots is gracias to Charles R. Cross’ 2005 book, Room Full of Mirrors: A Biography of Jimi Hendrix. In it, Cross cites an interview Hendrix once gave in which he remembered how one grandmother gave him a “little Mexican jacket with tassels” when he was a child—and little Jimi was ridiculed for wearing it. Also, Cross found a Hendrix diary entry that makes mention of his “Mexican mustache.”

Cross’ bio is a must-have for any music fan, since it’s the best of the many Hendrix books out there, and he also gives the most thorough genealogy of Hendrix’s family I’ve seen, going back through both sets of grandparents. The guitarist did indeed possess gabacho, negrito, Canadian and Cherokee blood, but no Mexican sangre whatsoever.

Mexicans claiming a major historical figure as one of their own is nothing nuevo. I’ve read that Thomas Alva Edison was from Zacatecas, that Walt Disney was the bastard child of a Mexican, and that Jessica Alba wants her baby to be Mexican. Wishful thinking all of it, just like the many gabachos who insist a Cherokee princess is in their family tree. (Never mind that the Cherokees had no royalty.) In fact, the only crypto-Mexican who has ever panned out is also the most unlikely—Ted Williams. Yep, America: Teddy Ballgame’s mami was Micaela Venzor of Ciudad Juarez, Mexico.

My co-worker Maria and I are having a disagreement about the meaning of the word gringo. Would you be able to tell us the true meaning and street meaning of gringo?

Veritas vos Liberabit

Dear Gabacho: I think you and Mary are having the wrong discussion. Even the dumbest gabacho knows gringo is a pejorative Mexicans use against Americans, one nowadays so harmless that even gabachos call themselves gringos.

What ustedes are probably trying to determine is the word’s origins. The Mexican usually consults the Royal Spanish Academy’s dictionary for such queries, but even the world’s foremost body of español has no clue—its entry describes the etymology as “disputed.” Here’s what we know: Gringo did not originate during the Mexican-American War as a result of—take your pick—the invading Yankees wearing green coats and the terrified Mexicans shouting “Green, go!” at them; or because said soldiers sang either “Green Grows the Lilacs” or “O Green Grow the Rushes” while trampling Santa Anna’s armies. Both explanations are self-serving urban legends repeated by gabachos who get a perverse pleasure out of dominating all aspects of Mexican life, from former territories to our women to even our slurs for ustedes.

Besides, etymologists can find the word gringo in Spain centuries before the Mexican-American War, in the context of referring to strangers. Some say it’s a corruption of griego (Greek, the classic Western European ethnicon for something that makes no sense), while others claim it referred to Irish immigrants in Madrid. Whatever its genesis, the Mexican recommends not using gringo, as it’s an antiquated term like celestial or greaser … and one should always maintain an up-to-date Rolodex of Racism.

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

I live in the Bronx, in a heavily immigrant area. We have many West African, Dominican, Mexican, Central American, Guyanese and Bengali newcomers.

I’ve noticed that Mexican men seem to spend lots of time with their wives and kids. Every weekend in the park, you see Mexican man after Mexican man playing soccer with his kids or doing some other activity with his family. I know that most of these men work six days a week, and am amazed that in their free time, they don’t just want to be left alone. It’s not that you don’t see men of other nationalities playing with their kids, but more often, you see the African and Dominican men hanging out with other men, and the wives are with the kids. This is, of course, a vast generalization, but I’ve noticed it a lot.

I also often see Mexican men helping their wives at the Laundromat. I thought Mexicans were supposed to be machos. But now I’m thinking that maybe I need to find myself a Mexican man!

Randy in Riverdale

Dear Gabacha: You should definitely get yourself an hombre, but not to take care of kids. “The Quality of Time Spent With Children Among Mexican Immigrants,” a paper written by Purdue University professor Andres J. Vargas and Daniel Kidane of Ohio Wesleyan University, found that Mexican fathers spent less time with their kiddies than gabachos, Mexican Americans and African Americans, although the rate improved the more time the papis lived in the U.S. “We interpret this as evidence that duration of residence is associated with an improvement of the child-care behaviors of Mexican immigrants,” the two wrote.

They didn’t give a reason as to why Mexican fathers spend less time with their kids, but you alluded to the answer: Our dads work a lot. There’s no time for museums, libraries or tutoring. But trying to turn your son into the next Fernando Valenzuela or Chicharito? Of course!

I’m a gabacho, but I’ve been loving menudo for about 45 years. What are your thoughts on why menudo is the Food of the Gods?

I Ain’t Mexican but Mi Estómago Damn Well Is

Dear No Soy Mexicano But My Stomach Sí Es: You are one smart gabacho! Most people of your ilk only think of the tripe soup as an edible donkey show: a horrific, disgusting artifact of a horrific, disgusting people. But menudo is so much more than boiled cow guts or something to soak up the booze that fueled your previous night.

Menudo is a socio-historical lesson in a bowl: The fat, pale kernels of pozole have nourished Mesoamericans since time immemorial; the use of tripe (and not the better parts of a cow) is a testament to its status as a poor person’s meal. Menudo is delicious, with the trinity of firm pozole, chewy tripe and a fiery, blood-red broth producing a comforting, fatty flavor.

More important: Menudo is amor. It’s the soup Mexican women slave over for their hungry families on weekend mornings, the dish over which families unite and teens fall in love. Menudo nowadays exists in can form, but that’s heresy. True menudo is a difficult feat, taking hours to create, but it comes with a payoff that transcends taste buds and strives for the sublime.

Will menudo cure a hangover? No doubt. But if that’s all you eat it for, then you truly don’t know love.

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

Here are a few questions I have for the Mexican:

  1. Why are wages so low in Mexico?
  2. Why is Mexico such a violent country?
  3. Why is Mexico so corrupt?
  4. Why have the drug cartels taken over large swaths of Mexico?
  5. Why can’t one drink the water in most towns in Mexico?
  6. Why are there so few public libraries in Mexico?
  7. Why are Mexicans so fat? Mexico is listed as the country with the highest rate of obesity on Earth.
  8. Why is public education in Mexico so miserable and pathetic? In my many years of working there, I have yet to come across a worker who could multiply, divide or read a map.
  9. Why don’t more Mexicans up here go into physical science and engineering?
  10. If you are a Mexican, why are you here? Is it possibly due to 1 through 8 above?

Dickhead in Denver

Dear Gabacho: Answers 1-4 are easy: The United States.

Número five is bullshit—though water quality isn’t pristine in Mexico, it’s not at California levels of scarcity yet. We’d be better if the U.S. didn’t muck up the water in the Rio Grande, steal the water from the Colorado River, and have factories making cheap products headed to the U.S. that use up precious water and foul up the rest of the supply. No. 6 is a flat-out crock of mierda: Mexico has roughly 6,000 public libraries, which averages out to .049 libraries per 1,000 Mexicans—barely below the U.S.’s .052 per 1,000 Americans.

Spare me 7, since the U.S. and Mexico have flip-flopped for the crown of world’s fattest nation for more than a decade now—and it’s all the U.S.’s fault. For No. 8, United States, just for the hell of it. I’m not sure how to answer No. 9, because the same could be said of American students—why else are we importing un chingo of Indians and Chinese? Finally, Mexicans are here to make a better life for themselves—thanks to los Estados Unidos.

I’m writing to ask about an epiphany I had recently about government-sponsored clamors for crackdowns on immigration, especially against members of a certain race/creed/color/ethnic group. It seems to me that whenever there is a cacophony of support for deportation and the closing of our borders coming from the highest offices in the land, there’s also a war going on that’s going rather badly for us. Is this just coincidence, or is there more to it?

A Farewell to GúantanaManzanArms

Dear Pocho: You’re off. World Wars I and II went splendidly for us, but that didn’t stop Americans from demonizing Germans in the Great War and interning Japanese Americans (and more than a few German Americans and Italian Americans) in the Good War. If anything, it’s when wars are going bad for us that the American government makes a push for Mexicans in the military—look at what’s happening during this War on Terror, or during the Vietnam War and the Korean War.

To paraphrase South Park: Call it Operation Get Behind the Beaners.

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Published in Ask a Mexican