Last updateMon, 20 Apr 2020 1pm

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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Dear Mexican: Some time back, you discussed the Chivas soccer team. This reminded me of my time in San Francisco’s Mission District, when the traficantes would whisper, “Chiva … chiva,” (pronounced “chee-ba”), as I walked down 16th Street. At least that’s what it sounded like. When I asked someone what it meant, they said, “stuff,” which seemed plausible enough. Now it’s baby goats?

I know slang etymology is often hard to pin down, but why is heroin referred to as chiva, if that’s the right word?

My Only Animal is a Chihuahua

Dear Gabacho: Don’t ask me; ask my pal Sam Quinones, the greatest-ever reporter on Mexican immigration to the U.S. and its effects on both countries, and author of the magnificent new book, Dreamland: The True Tale of America’s Opiate Epidemic.

His response: “Oooh estimado, that’s no goat they’re offering for sale. That’s black-tar heroin. Chivas are indeed a soccer team, and chiva means goat—the meat that goes into that delicious birria and barbacoa that the folks from Jalisco and Michoacán make so well. But on the street, it’s slang for that sticky, semi-processed kind of heroin that looks like rat crap, and tends to block up all your arteries and then pretty soon, you get infections and gangrene, then flies start buzzing the infected area, and trust me, no one wants to talk to you after that. So you want to stay away from the chiva those heavy breathers are offering on the street. They’re supplied by our traficante friends from northwest Mexico, whom we have to thank for the decapitations and wanton massacres of late. Stick with the barbacoa. It’ll just get your fingers messy.”

Perhaps immigrants need a bit of a public-relations boost. Instead of being portrayed as parasitic foreigners who siphon off taxpayer money, shouldn’t someone point out that they believe in America, and want to be part of a free nation built on American principles? This may go a long way toward integrating the immigrant population and reducing resentment, sí?

Inclusive Gabacho

Dear Gabacho: While I’m sure you’re asking this from a good place in your corazón, this is the exact sentiment expressed by Know Nothings like Donald Trump—you know, his bullshit: “When Mexico sends its people, they’re not sending their best. … They’re sending people that have lots of problems, and they’re bringing those problems with us. They’re bringing drugs. They’re bringing crime. They’re rapists. And some, I assume, are good people.”

Fuck it: Let’s celebrate all the “bad” Mexicans who come into this country without papers. Let’s celebrate people like my dad, who came to this country with a fourth-grade education and is the proud papi of four college graduates—three of them with master’s degrees. Let us now praise the people savvy enough to not only escape la migra, but then make a life of themselves in los Estados Unidos outside of immigration law. The supposed losers of society are the people who made this nation, from former slaves to Jewish refugees to the Yellow Menace, homesteaders and yes, Mexicans.

Besides, when we do highlight the absolute best that Mexican immigrants we offer—undocumented college students—those same Know Nothings like Trump just dismiss them as illegals.

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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: Why is it so easy to escape from Mexican prisons, and why is it always accomplished the day before execution? And why haven’t the proper authorities figured it out yet? See Madero, Pancho Villa, Luis Terrazas Jr., etc.

Fuga Frank

Dear Jailbreak Fred: Don’t forget El Chapo!

The answer is obvious: Mexican law enforcement and government officials are more easily bought than a piratería copy of Star Wars: The Force Awakens at your local Mexican supermarket parking lot. As for Chapo’s already legendary escape, all I can add is that I still can’t decide whether Dig Dug or Super Mario Bros. is the more hilarious meme for the situation.

Oh, and fuck Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto, that pinche prieto cagaleche.

Dear Mexican: I’m Mexican. I don’t mind when my friends ask me questions about Mexicans. But my Jew-wop friend asked me a question about Mexicans that I don’t understand, and to which I have no answer: “Why do some Mexican chicks look Asian?” Having grown up in SanTana, I immediately thought of the cholas and every Payasa, Tweetie and Shorty I knew, and their amazing skills with liquid eyeliner. Several Google searches did not yield any good results. So neither of us got the much-needed visual to help us communicate.

So, the original question: Why do some Mexican chicks look Asian? Is it the makeup, his Jew-wop ignorance, or something I am clearly missing?

La Sad Girl

Dear Pocha: What you’re missing is that a chingo of chinitos are Mexicans.

Asians have been coming to Mexico since the 1500s, when Filipinos worked the Manila galleons that would unload in Acapulco; they then intermixed with the population in Guerrero, Oaxaca and beyond.

Give or take a Chinese pogrom or a chino, chino, japonés schoolyard chant, the Asian presence in Mexico has never ended. In recent years, Korean migrants have made Mexico City home, and there’s the continued takeover of Ensenada by Chinese nationals. Their presence in Mexicali dates back nearly a century. Not only that, but don’t forget that our indigenous side came from Asia thousands of years ago—so don’t be surprised when your cousin grows up to look like a radiant Burmese tribeswoman from a Cold War-era National Geographic spread instead of however the hell a “normal” Mexican is supposed to aparecer.

I’m a residential real estate guy, and this question came up in my group recently: Why is it that when Mexicans buy a house, one of the first things they do is put up heavy shades, or even blankets, on all of the windows? Why don’t they let the sun shine in?

Re/Max Ramón

Dear Wab: Three possibilities. The most obvious is that Mexicans like their privacy. If we want the world to see us, we have no problem being outside—that’s why we have parties on the front lawn, and couches on the porch, and why we create gazebos and benches for the outside. But once we’re inside, we don’t want metiches nosing around.

That leads to the second posibilidad: The house might be occupied by multiple families, who do not want the outside world to know that what’s supposed to be a bedroom is actually occupied by a family of five.

The least likely answer is also one that all gabachos immediately assume—that it’s a drop house for drugs. The only way to know if that last thing is true: If it’s the one house on the block that gabachos come in and out of. You know what to do …

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Dear Mexican: I’ve been on sex-offender registry websites a couple of times, and it seems there are a lot of names ending with -ez. Is there an elevated rate of sexual deviancy amongst Mexicans? If so, why?

El Güero Guapisimo

Dear Readers: This is the first time in ¡Ask a Mexican! history I’ve ever changed an answer—only because the Mexicans-are-rapists idea is the new black right now. I answered the above pregunta in 2007 this way:

Methinks you doth look for brownies too much. But I don’t blame you. Turn on the television and radio, and you’re likely to hear anti-immigrant pendejos screeching about how Mexicans will rape you while stealing your job and playing banda music really loud. You’ll probably hear them invoke the work of Dr. Deborah Schurman-Kauflin. Her 2006 paper “The Dark Side of Illegal Immigration: Nearly One Million Sex Crimes Committed by Illegal Immigrants in the United States” came to some startling conclusions, including that there are 240,000 illegal-immigrant sex offenders in this country—and that 93 of these cretins enter this country daily. Know-nothing politicians and even the House Homeland Security Committee’s Subcommittee on Investigations have cited Schurman-Kauflin’s paper in arguing against amnesty.

She based her findings on a 2005 Government Accountability Office (GAO) survey that showed 2 percent of illegals in federal, local or state prisons had committed a sex crime. She then applied that percentage to the illegal-immigrant population at large—voila! Instant endemic perversity! But this statistical sleight-of-hand withers by employing the very stats she uses. GAO data for 2003 (the most recent year available) showed about 308,000 criminal aliens (legal as well as illegal immigrants) were in American prisons; they constitute about 3 percent of the nation’s 12 million illegal immigrants. If only 2 percent of incarcerated illegals committed a sex crime, then it’s intellectually misleading to arrive at the 240,000 figure for all illegals, ¿qué no?

For the Mexican, a more telling number is the percentage of criminals arrested for sex crimes. So let’s compare apples to manzanas: In 2003, gabachos incarcerated for such crimes represented about 18 percent of all gabacho inmates in state prisons; perverted Hispanics, conversely, made up just 11 percent. (Strangely enough, the U.S. Department of Justice doesn’t keep the same statistics for federal prisons.) According to this comparison, gabachos are more likely as a group to sexually assault you than Mexicans—but betcha you won’t hear Lou Dobbs repeat that factoid ad nauseam.

Now, the update, which I’m pirating from my recent Politico article on the same subject: A 2011 U.S. Government Accountability Office study, “Criminal Alien Statistics: Information on Incarcerations, Arrests and Costs,” found that of the 3 million arrests of immigrants, legal or not, examined by investigators, only 2 percent were for sex offenses—2 percent too many, but hardly an epidemic. It didn’t break down the ethnicity or legal status of the offenders, but the Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS) National Crime Victimization Survey breaks down such stats by victims. For 2013 (the most recent year available), it shows that whites accounted for 71 percent of all sexual assaults documented (above their total percentage of 63 percent of the U.S. population), while Latinos accounted for 9 percent, far below their total percentage of 17 percent. As a percentage of all “serious violent victimizations,” sexual assaults represent 11 percent of the violent crimes against Latinos. For gabachos? 18 percent.

The BJS also noted that for the period from 2005-2010, about 66 percent of sexual assault victims knew their perp, and that whites had strangers commit violent victimizations against them at a rate of 9.2 per 1,000 people, compared to 9.8 per 1,000 for Latinos. So much for the notion of an army of faceless Mexicans stalking their fair-skinned prey.

For those who don’t comprende: White American citizens are far more rape-y than Mexicans can ever hope to become. So when are gabachos going to jump on that pandemic?

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Dear Mexican: I live in New York, where taco trucks are a fairly recent addition to the urban landscape. I’ve noticed they always serve their tacos with double tortillas. Why?

I’m a long-time lover of Mexican food (the REAL stuff), and own several Mexican cookbooks, but the recipes never call for this. Also, what is the “right” way to eat a double-tortilla taco? I generally split the filling between the two tortillas, since there is so much of it, but I have no idea whether I’m making a fool out of myself.

Gourmet Gringa

Dear Gabacha: “Actually, double tortillas are common in Mexico!” says Lesley Téllez, author of the awesome nuevo book Eat Mexico: Recipes From Mexico City’s Streets, Markets and Fondas, and a Puebla York resident herself. “Lots of Mexico City street vendors serve their tacos on two tortillas, or they’ll ask if clients want one or two, in case they’re watching their waistlines. (Heh.) Particularly with a liquidy filling like a guisado, the first tortilla breaks. So the second tortilla serves as back up. How you eat your taco is up to you, so load it with two salsas, divide it in half—como quieras.”

Good job, Lesley! The Mexican will only add that you shouldn’t add peas to your tacos … HA!

Here’s a spicy tamale for you. My question: Why do Mexicans tear each other down? Why do they hate to see another Mexican doing better than themselves? They see a fellow Mexican climbing to the top, and rather than cheer him or her on, they throw stones, grab at their ankles and drag them back down.

Yes, I’m a Mexican (and a proud Mexican) with an education. I have a strong work ethic, and I worked hard to get what I have, yet I feel despised by fellow Mexicans who think I think I’m better than them. One of my former Mexican supervisors didn’t like it because I could communicate and articulate with gabacho supervisors on their level. He verbally berated me and called me a suck-ass in front of a group of employees. It could have been a nice EEO complaint, but I just said “Adiós, and besa mi culo,” and walked out. Even the local drunks in my barrio look at me dirty because “I don’t talk to them.” Is it because they would rather see me drunk and belligerent with them all day behind the local icehouse?

I have no tolerance for stupidity, be it from someone who is black, white, Mexican or otherwise. I sell aluminum cans to supplement my income, so no: I don’t think that I’m better, especially when I’m diggin’ in trash for a few cans. Remember the movie La Bamba? Esai Morales played the character of Ritchie’s brother who could not be happy for his brother’s success.

OK, Mexican, thanks for letting me get that off my chest. I wait in earnest for the wisdom of your response.

Just Another Mexican

Dear Pocho: You know who hates Mexicans more than Donald Trump? Mexicans. I wish there was a punchline for this, but there ain’t. Crabs in a bucket, cabrones: cangrejos en una cubeta.

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Dear Mexican: I read your column of a couple of years ago about Chicanos loving the Aztecs, and it left me both cracking up and intellectually fortified. In the last portion of the column, you added: “But, hey: If you want to change your name from José González to Nezahualcoyotl Moctezuma and go to sweat lodges on weekends, even though you’re lighter-skinned than a Southern belle, be my guest! I’m sure your ancestors who fought the Aztecs—both indigenous and Hispanic—would’ve approved!”

I really would like to know your opinion about Chican@s appropriating indigenous names. (Well, for me, it’s appropriating.) Every time I go to Facebook and see my friends change their names to things in the Nahuatl language, I cringe. Maybe it’s my own internal struggle, but I see changing your name as a very insignificant. I mean, que ganas con cambiando tu nombre, if you don’t know the language? Or if you do, you probably know some phrases.

I don’t, because to me, yo soy indígena—and I mean by immediate bloodline. I know Zapoteco and I speak it with my family. Pero, you don’t see me or my family changing their names or whatnot. In fact, nosotros nos guardamos nuestra cultura; we don’t parade it to the world. I don’t know; maybe it’s bad to get frustrated by these people changing their names. What are your thoughts?

Tehuana Chingona

Dear Badass Tehuana: Big correction to your boast about zapotecos not showing off their culture: From Día de los Muertos to your Guelaguetza (for gabas, it’s basically a Mexican country fair meets Eurovision) to your spectacular cuisine, Oaxacans are among Mexico’s proudest ambassadors of their native cultura, and aren’t afraid to show it off—and that’s OK. Similarly, it’s fine for Chicanos to change their names from the Hispanic nombres given to them at birth to Nahuatl ones if it makes them feel more in touch with their roots.

Everyone has a different path to coming to terms with their Mexican identity, and they’re all OK. The problem I have is with people who then start ridiculing others who don’t adopt Aztec dancing and calendars as vendidos and Tío Tacos; these indigenazis, of course, make their insults in English and use the Internet (created by gabachos) to boast that they’re more Aztec than Quetzalcoatl himself. Que se vayan a la chingada.

I’m a Canadian woman who has been travelling to Mexico (Guanajuato y Oaxaca, the cute places) lately. I travel alone and want to understand the “social” rules a little better.

I was told by an expat American living in Mexico that Mexican men think all American women are sluts. (I assume that generalization extends to canadienses.) His theory is that Mexicans see television shows like Sex and the City and think it’s reality. I’m acutely aware of this when interacting with Mexican men, and as a result, am somewhat guarded, which I really don’t want to be. I’d like to be able to meet Mexican men on the same terms as Canadians—sure there’s a possibility of a little steam, but maybe we’re just platicando, amigo-like.

What are your thoughts? Do mexicanos think we’re all sluts? If so, why? Do Mexican women/girls save sex for marriage? Does this mean I can never have casual sex with a Mexican man again, for fear of perpetuating a stereotype?

Una Canadiense Confusa

Dear Confused Canadian Woman: Noticias flash—Mexican men think ALL women are sluts. It’s the Madonna-whore complex, comprende?

That said, don’t let pendejo heretonormative norms get in the way of you enjoying chorizo—modern-day Mexican women don’t, so why should you?

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Dear Mexican: Where is my America? I’m half-Hispanic and half-Italian. I was born on Coney Island to a drug-addicted father and was raised by my mom, who had to work. We were very poor. I’ve always had to struggle for basic possessions. Spanish was not spoken in my house, so my Spanish is muy malo. I’ve worked since I was 15, barking on the games in Coney Island.

I went to culinary school and became a chef. I’ve worked in the industry for 10 years. It is inundated with illegal Mexican workers. Most of these guys are OK, and they are willing to work longer hours, for less pay. Gone is the eight-hour work day. Nobody gets health coverage. It’s rare to get a paid vacation. It’s rare not to work six days a week. I feel the influx of illegal workers has lowered labor standards for all workers in the industry. I believe it also creates a population of second-class people ripe for abuses. Plus, these guys got skill: They are fast and focused. They never complain and think that complaining a problem in itself. I feel like I can be easily replaced with an illegal worker with whom I can’t compete.

I don’t mind helping out people who need work. But where can I go? Most restaurants are small businesses, and hiring illegal workers is part of the business plan. Where can I go to have my American Dream? I’ve also been called gringo, whitey and pelón by illegals who, it seems, have never heard of civil rights.

Coney Island Angry

Dear Gabacho: I was mostly with you in your letter—yes, American worker rights have suffered during the Great Recession; no, it ain’t the fault of Mexicans. Robber barons are the culprit choking labor now, just like when the Molly Maguires were raising hell in Pennsylvania coal mines.

Then you started whining that the Mexican cocineros you worked alongside with in kitchens called you names. So you’re upset that they called you two types of gabacho, and a baldy, to boot? That just means they thought you were enough of a friend that they felt they could bust your balls. But obviously, they didn’t trust you too much—otherwise, they’d give you worse names. And I’m not talking about the parade of pendejo, puto and güey that any male in an all-Mexican environment must endure. You haven’t earned a Mexican squad’s trust until you have an insulting nickname—the more inappropriate, the better.

In my time, I’ve known of Mexicans in workplaces whose nicknames were El Taliban (for the man’s beard), El Perico (The Parrot, for the guy’s taste in cocaine), El Maricón (The Faggot, because the hombre was gay—he laughed it off, especially when learning more than a few of his macho co-workers were on the down-low), El Panzón (The Fatass) and—my all-time favorite—La Panocha (The Pussy), because homeboy was a player.

But I’m a nice guy, so I’ll give you a new nickname: El Chavala. You can look it up!

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Dear Mexican: I’m not sure if this is solely an Orange County thing, but: As a high school student in SanTana, I can’t help but realize that the great majority of rockabilly kids are Mexican. Why is this? Weren’t the ’40s and ’50s kind of a bad time for Mexicans?

Chicana con Ganas

Dear Motivated Chicana: Yes y no. While Mexican-American activists were fighting for civil rights through lawsuits and voter-registration drives, the young people were getting into cars, rock ’n’ roll and R&B, and changing their given names from Consuelo and Jorge to Connie and George—the better to assimilate. The ’40s generations were pachucos, but more than a few Mexis became so-called rebels during the ’50s and continuing into the present day.

For years, one of my favorite cinematic nuggets was discovering that there was a Mexican in the Pharaohs car club that kidnapped Richard Dreyfuss’ character in American Graffiti—we were part of George Lucas’ gabacho nostalgia-fest as a different type of greaser, raza!

Of course, all of that history means little to the current generation of Mexican rockabillies (call them chilibillies, por favor), who like the scene for the same reason Mexicans like Morrissey, lowriders and oldies-but-goodies: Those subgroups pay strict attention to dress, hair, music and gender roles, and romanticize the past and violence. Hey, at least we’re not Civil War Confederate re-enactors, who have no excuse for their fun games other than they liked people who fought to defend slavery.

A mexicana friend of mine told me that assertiveness is not part of the Mexican—or even Latino—culture, and that assertiveness may be considered rude by Mexican standards. An example she gave would be a Mexican consenting to go out of his/her way to do a favor, especially for a gabacho, instead of being assertive and saying “No puedo” or “I’m too busy to help.” Another example would be a Mexican (legal or otherwise) never questioning a boss’ request—although a work situation is definitely a different story.

As far as you know, is there any truth to this claim that Mexicans, or Latino people in general, don’t feel comfortable being assertive?

Mi’jito’s Padre aka Mipadre’s ’Jito

Dear Father of a Son, aka My Dad’s Son: I’ve been hearing this horseshit my entire life, from Catholic priests saying we should never look people in the eyes, to yaktivists making excuses for underperforming students, to sociologists going back to the days of The Children of Sanchez. And I gotta ask: Where are the meek Mexicans?

Are they the millions who have come to this country undocumented over the past couple of decades, risking everything for the great unknown? Or are they the field workers, jornaleros, carwasheros, mineros and canners who have held some of the fiercest union strikes your labor history books never bothered to cover? Is it the DREAMer (or whatever those secular saints call themselves as nowadays) storming the halls of their local politicians, demanding amnesty? Maybe the parents working nonstop to give their kids a better future? Or is it those who remain in Mexico, raising DESMADRE against the corrupt PRI and PAN duopoly?

An unassertive Mexican is like a non-vendido Mexican Republican—people say they exist, but they don’t.

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Dear Mexican: Why are lowrider artists obsessed with surly clowns? I went to an exhibition of the art of Mister Cartoon in Venice Beach years ago, and the clowns in his art were downright disturbing. I've seen these nasty clowns on T-shirts and a bunch of other places, too.

What's up with that? Did the whole culture have a nasty experience at the circus?

Cirque Du So Low

Dear Gabacho: I’m answering this pregunta not just because it’s a good one, but to teach the value of patience. Gentle readers: This question was sent on the first week of ¡Ask a Mexican!’s existence, which is now more than 10 years ago. I’m finalmente getting to it because it’s about pinche time, you know? So you, too, will get your question you sent hace seven years answered … eventually.

For this one, Cirque Du So Low, it’s muy simple: Mexicans like payasos, period. From Cepillín to Javier Solís’ legendary song “Payaso” to “The Tears of a Clown” by Smokey Robinson and the Miracles to the classic cholo tattoo and mantra, “Smile Now, Cry Later” (itself a callback to the legendary oldies-but-goodie song of the same tame by Sunny and the Sunliners) to that assassin dressed as a clown who strolled into a narco’s party last year in Baja California, shot him dead and escaped, Mexicans are clown-crazy.

Gabachos might find them creepy, but we love these eternal tricksters, because they’re representations of our id, and a reflection of the importance we place on humor, no matter how dour our reality. I can also cite Nobel Prize laureate Octavio Paz’s essay on masks, and how clowns are a metaphor for Mexicans, but Paz hated pochos, so fuck him.

I read just the other day that demographers are predicting there will be more Mexicans than anybody else in California in 20 years, just from birth rate alone. Un tipo como tu tiene que tener some brujo in him, so use your skills, ese, and tell us what you see in the future. Will California be like Whittier? Or will it resemble Rosarito, with all the gabachos crowded into condos near the beach?

El Mero Panzón del IE

Dear Badass Big-Bellied Man of the Inland Empire: 20 años? Try last year, when Latinos surpassed gabachos to become the most-populous group in the Golden State. Given a 2011 demographic profile by the Pew Research Center determined that Mexicans make up 83 percent of California's Latino community, paisas and pochos should outnumber everyone within the end of this decade.

So what does the future hold? You’re reading it: a child of Mexican immigrants who works a white-collar job and whose nieces and sobrinos will no doubt have names like Brittney and Brad. Sorry to break it to Know Nothings, but the Reconquista will be the most anticlimactic event since the release of Chinese Democracy.

In the newspaper today, there was a picture of a Mexican in Mexico grinning next to a sign that said, “Turista GO HOME!” Are Mexicans getting so rich off money siphoning through their illegal invaders that they no longer need the LEGAL stream of wealth from tourists? And if so, why can’t they spell-check their signs first? Would a sign campaign also help the illegals here get the message that THEY are unwelcome? Or should we just count ourselves lucky that the arrogant foreigners are using signs instead of rape or guns to make their point, in a nation with such a low literacy rate?

Walking Down the Beach the Other Day, I Started Wondering …

Dear Gabacho: The sign was spelled correctly; the tourist just happened to use Spanglish, a language created to piss off pendejos into flights of pendejismo. Gracias for dejando Spanglish do its trabajo!

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