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Last updateTue, 18 Sep 2018 1pm

Dear Mexican: From what I’ve seen and heard, Mexicans are very family-oriented. They take the names of both their mothers and fathers, live with extended family, take carpooling to the nth degree and tattoo the names of their children across their bodies. We recently had a party and invited one of our Hispanic friends. She showed up with her grandmother, mother, sister and her two kids! What the hell was that all about?

What I don’t understand is this: Whenever I see Mexican men and women walking along busy streets, or through stores, or standing at the bus stops, their little kids are usually more than an arm’s length away, sometimes trailing as much as several feet behind them. It’s also not uncommon to see little kids crawling around in front seats, back seats and beds of trucks, totally unrestrained! I’m quite sure these are the same people who put the “In memory of …” on the back windows of their vehicles when their kids die from wandering into traffic or an auto accident. Maybe there is some sort of perverse logic that I don’t understand. Perhaps those decals on the back windows are more highly respected by the Mexican community than raising good, healthy, honest kids.

What are your thoughts?

Dingo Gringo

Dear Gabacho: The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s 2013 study “Motor Vehicle Traffic-Related Pedestrian Deaths—United States, 2001–2010” broke down pedestrian death rates for children 1-14 by ethnicity. Findings showed that while more niños were involved in fatalities than gabachos, the rate isn’t too far off—1.66 deaths per 100,000 population for gabacho boys compared to 2.61 for Latino boys. On the other hand, rates in the same age group for girls favored Latinas—.62, compared to .68 for gabachitas. Do gabacho parents not care for their little girls, assuming their sons are going to marry Mexican chicas calientes anyway?

Unlike your pendejo ass, the study determined factors other than race skewed death rates a certain way. (The most-killed pedestrians statistically? Chinitos 75 and older.) Your assumptions just make an ass out of you and tu, but perhaps you respect babadas more than good, healthy, honest facts?

Why do Mexicans love to watch American movies with Mexican voices dubbed over the actors? I find this very irritating. What is this fascination? When Americans watch foreign films, the language is left intact, with only subtitles added at the bottom. There is nothing more amusing than watching Arnold Schwarzenegger speaking Spanish.

Gabacho Confundido

Dear Confused Gabacho: In the early days of sound, Hollywood productions would film multiple takes in multiple languages to appeal to their fans worldwide. Moviemakers knew even then that foreign audiences like hearing dialogue in their native language, even if said in a phonetically hilarious tone, à la Laurel and Hardy, or dubbed completely to ludicrous results. (You think Ah-nuld is funny? You gotta here “Homero” on the Latin American broadcast of The Simpsons.)

Nowadays, only the biggest foreign films or television shows get dubbed in Mexico, taking into account that children and the poor might not yet have the reading comprehension to understand subtitles. Besides, you’ve never seen The Lion King until you hear it dubbed in Spanish—the way my family did with a piratería copy again and again and again.

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 white people love Marco Rubio and cry at his speeches? Rubio was in my town selling his vision for America mierda to his gabacho constituency, and they drank it up like Tía’s fresh jamaica. They laughed; they cried; they wondered why we Mexicans can’t get behind the Great Brown Hope. Do we know if Rubio even talks to the kitchen help and wait staff when he’s finished talking at banquets?

“Oh, my God! He’s so inspiring!” FUCK THAT.

Mark Blondie

Dear Pocho: The great thing about your pregunta was that you attached a tweet from some PR hack essentially ejaculating while commenting that Rubio was “speaking to Spanish-speaking employees post-fundraiser.” Hell, Democratic politicians in the Southwest have given shout-outs to the help during their speeches for years now, but you don’t see Dems freaking out about it, mostly because they realized Mexicans were humans long ago.

I won’t elaborate too much on why Mexicans don’t like Rubio here—go find my columna in the Guardian from last month for a more thorough explanation; the Mexican promises that essay WON’T give you a pain in the gulliver—but explaining why gabachos like Rubio is easy: They think he’s their brown bullet to make more Mexicans into conservatives.

The more interesting trend I find is what you pointed out: Gabachos try to shame Mexicans into liking Rubio, just like they’ve used Clarence Thomas and Ben Carson to claim liberal African-American voters who don’t appreciate them are traitors to the race. Only in America do gabachos have the audacity to tell minorities they’re not minority enough because they don’t embrace a token—and if you don’t believe me, witness the campaign to make Carlos Mencia a likable person.

Hello, Mexican! My wife and I are gabachos living in a 99 percent Hispanic neighborhood. We are very tolerant folks and actually chose where we live because of its diversity (lots of people of every type—long story). Unfortunately, our immediate neighbors are putting us in an awkward situation.

One neighbor has four pit bulls tethered in his backyard, and they bark loudly ALL THE TIME (whether he is home or not). They never go inside his home; they just stay outside and bark.

The other neighbor has a boomin' system in his car and loves to sit in his driveway at the end of his day and clean the car while BLASTING gangsta rap. (I’m not kidding; this rattles the dishes in our cabinets!) Normally this wouldn’t be a problem, but we work out of our house, and the incessant noise greatly affects our ability to converse with clients over the phone.

I’m totally understanding of the need to be loud every now and again, but not so much when it comes to a blatant disregard for neighbors. Do you have any suggestions for addressing the problem without my being shot by gangsta-man or alienating my pit-bull-loving neighbor? I want to avoid having them see this as a white-on-brown thing; it’s more of a, “I live right next to you, and you are ruining my life by your inconsideration” thing. Or is it just con estos bueyes hay que arar? ANY suggestion would be greatly appreciated.

¡Yo Estoy Como Perro en Barrio Ajeno!

Dear I’m Like a Dog in a Strange Neighborhood: Don’t give me this “Plough with the oxen you have” bullshit. If you bought into your neighborhood not knowing that Mexican dogs bark a lot, that cholos like to blast music (and don’t forget the comadres cranking up Marco Antonio Solís to 11 every Saturday morning), and that Mexicans also work out of their houses (where do you think bathtub cheese comes from?), I’m marking you as a gentrifier who deserves no pity. Your only solace is that other gentrifying pendejos will no doubt also move into the neighborhood, and all those loud Mexicans you complain about will be gone in five years.

Congrats on being the Cortés of the barrio!

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 beloved niece married a boy of Mexican extraction. I am very fond of him, but he and his family kind of hold us all at arm’s length. It’s very difficult to get close. My niece has told me that his mother “doesn’t like white people.” Wouldn’t it be better to get to know me before deciding you don’t like me? Isn’t her attitude racist?

I’ll never forget walking into their wedding with big smiles, because my niece was getting married, and she is a major sweetheart. We were greeted with stony faces and no responses to our greetings; I felt like a character from West Side Story. Looking back, maybe I should have clicked my fingers and sang “When You’re a Jet.”

Is there something I can do, or should I just continue to be courteous when we meet, and try to find something to talk to them about? It is hell to hold a conversation with his family, and they always make me feel like I’m in the way. (Actually, his father is nice, and he makes great burritos.)

Wondering Whitey

Dear Gabacha: Stop being so gabacha. Believe it or not, not all Mexicans like white people. Your nephew-in-law obviously does, and it seems his papi goes gaga for the gaba as well. But your niece’s suegra? Not so much.

I can offer advice—take the woman out to a spa day, treat her to a nice lunch, smuggle over the last of her sisters from Puebla—but the sad reality is that Mexican moms keep pointless vendettas FOR LIFE. Whatever! You’re upset about one pendeja making family reunions uncomfortable; I should detail which of my cousins don’t talk to the other cousin over something said by uncles 45 years ago … but I still need to show my face at family quinceañeras, you know? Man, are our family funerals fun!

Can you enlighten me regarding something I am curious about regarding tortillas: Why are flour tortillas available in 6-, 8-, 10- and 12-inch sizes, but corn tortillas are available in only 6-inch sizes?

Worth the Girth

Dear Gabacho: Easy—flour tortillas can get bigger due to their gluten; corn tortillas have next to no gluten. Because of that, corn tortillas have a maximum size before disintegrating like the U.S. border.

The largest corn tortillas I’ve ever seen weren’t bigger than 8 inches, but as I told the Charleston City Paper last year, tortilla sizes are like penis sizes: It’s not the size of the ship, but the motion of the masa that matters. Or to paraphrase another penis aphorism: Once you go maize, you’ll always sing its praise. Or better yet: Once you learn to like corn, it’ll always be your porn. No?

While conversing with Mexican-American ’manitas, I came to a halt when trying to conjugate the verb pistear or pistiar. From whence does this term originate?

Slushed Out Sista

Dear Negrita: This is a great way to show the world anew the baroque, vulgar wonders of Mexican Spanish. The Real Academia Española (RAE), the official guardian of Spanish in the world, doesn’t acknowledge the Mexican Spanish definition for pistear—“to get smashed with pals”—but what do they know? The paisa slang ultimately derives from pisto, which is both an adjective (drunk) and noun (the drink that got the pisto person pedo). And pisto comes from the Latin pistus—“smashed.” Now it makes sense why Mexicans use pisto as a synonym for being borracho, ¿qué no?

Meanwhile, all the RAE can offer as a definition for pistear is some Central American mamadas about making money … pinche mamones. The RAE sure as hell doesn’t offer the Mexican Spanish definition of what a mamón is, either.

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 work with mostly young, progressive, educated white folks at an institution of higher education in Southern California. The other day, I mentioned buying a shirt that reads, “Illegal immigration started in 1492.” We had a good laugh, and my co-worker, whom I like a lot, said that it actually began in the Ice Age, suggesting that no one kind of human has a claim over “land” or geography.

While I get her argument, I was stunned. A flippant response like that diminishes the struggles of people trying to make a life here, under adverse conditions and having fled other adverse conditions, as well as the systematic historical exceptionalism mythology, jingoism, xenophobia and racism that has created the current state of affairs.

Can you give me a good comeback for when an otherwise cool gabacho says similar bullshit?

A Chicana in the Hallowed Halls of Learning

Dear Pocha: You can point out the fact that attachment to a vanquished homeland is a fundamental part of the human experience—witness the Garden of Eden, Israel, Palestine, Aztlán, Camelot and even The Sandlot—but did you try, “Check your privilege?” How about: “We didn’t cross the border; the border crossed us?” Maybe, “Who’s the illegal alien, pilgrim?” Perhaps: “Vete a la chingada, pinche sucia pendeja babosa”? Or the classic: “Chinga tu madre”?

I know you’re looking for an intellectual retort, but even Kant knew that a well-thrown verbal chingazo every once in a while makes the best possible point.

I enjoy your column, and I need advice on how to handle a difficult situation with a very special Mexican in my life.

I am in Big Brothers Big Sisters, and my little sister is a smart, kind, beautiful 12-year-old Mexican girl. Since we became sisters three years ago, she has been telling me all about what she wants for her quince (a beautiful blue dress, a stretch Hummer, a mariachi band, etc.). Although her parents don’t have much money, they try very hard to do special things for their kids and make their lives really happy. Today, her mother told me that they are not going to have the money to throw my little sister a quinceañera party. Instead, they want to take an inexpensive trip to the beach (she LOVES the beach), and save the rest of the money for her education. Her mother wants me to help her discuss the situation. Her parents have decided to tell her now so that she doesn’t spend three years planning a party that isn’t going to happen.

I would like to do something special for my sister which captures the spirit of a quinceañera celebration, but without the traditional party. However, being a white lady, I have no idea what that might be. Can you help me to figure out what a girl needs on her quince to feel special and celebrated? I love her so much, and I want to make her feel happy.

Happy to Be a Güera Hermana

Dear Gabacha: Primeramente, can you throw the chingones parents a party for breaking the chains of quinceañera nonsense? Not spending tens of thousands of dollars on one day of a teenager’s life in order to save for their daughter’s educational future? What a novelty!

That said, a beach party quinceañera is not only feasible, but would be more memorable than any rented VFW hall or community center. Check into reserving a big section of sand; tell the parents to invite her friends and family; and watch how happy your hermanita will be. Just don’t be surprised when all the Mexicans go into the ocean with their clothes on …

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 make up such glaringly obvious lies? Like this galán who had his sister call me and say it was really him—with a cold. Or my friend who pretends to be traveling around the world, but is really sending emails from his mother’s home computer. Or the random person on the street who tells you he knows how to give you directions, and then makes them up.

Do these Mexicans have something against reality, or do they really believe themselves on some level?

Clara la Dudosa

Dear Clara the Doubter: “There is nothing new about Mexico’s tradition of lying, of course,” wrote Andres Oppenheimer in his 1998 Bordering on Chaos. “Since as far as historians could remember, double-talk and deceit had been part of Mexico’s culture.”

This line has been used by Know Nothings ever since as proof that Mexicans are never to be trusted—never mind that Oppenheimer is an elitist Argentine carajo. Mexicans lie for the same reason anyone makes mentiras: to protect oneself, to try to gain an advantage over someone else, and to ultimately come out on top. If you think that’s somehow a uniquely Mexican characteristic, then you must also believe President Obama when he says the guv’mint ain’t spying on you, and that he has the best interests of Mexicans in mind while deporting us in record numbers.

Hola! I am trying to move to Japan and have been studying the language for two years. To my shame, when one of my Japanese associates posed the question, “What do you think of when you hear the word ‘immigrant’?” I first thought of a Mexican national in America illegally. I replied honestly, and we entered a discussion about why that was. (It’s in the news all the time—it’s still no excuse but, hey, I’m human and subject to flaws on occasion.)

After doing some research into the Mexican economy, I learned they seem to be doing very well among Latin American countries as far as unemployment rates and economic growth. I wonder: Are the benefits are only going to large corporations and a few at the top? Are wages pathetically low with no labor unions to negotiate for better pay? What is the main factor or factors that encourage people to risk so much to get here?

Please forgive my ignorance on these matters, and help me understand the larger picture.

Hoping to Become an Immigrant

Dear Gabacho: Konichiwa! Although it seems self-evident why Mexicans continue to migrate to the United States—better opportunities, just like every immigrant group that has ever come here—what makes them sour on their patria is a little more telling.

A 2014 Pew Research Center poll found that a third of Mexicans would migrate to the U.S. if they could—but whereas 60 percent said the economy is a big problem, 79 percent said crime is the country’s biggest issue. Also beating the economy on list of concerns were corrupt political leaders (72 percent), cartel violence (also 72) and water and air pollution (70 and 69, respectively—and gabachos say Mexicans don’t care about the environment!). Even corrupt police officers beat the economy as a topic of concern for Mexis.

At this point in Mexico’s history, it’s time to push the reset button and start a revolution—or do what we’ve been doing, and migrate to the U.S. Because why revolt in one country when you can do it in two?

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 Mexican men have thicker hair than Caucasian men? Is it because it runs in the genes? (I am only asking about hair on the head, not body hair.)

Frankie

Dear Gabacho: It’s ALWAYS about the genes for Mexicans, whether it’s our love of tortillas and tamales (indigenous ancestors), beer (Germans) or frizzy hair (the negritos in our family tree that no one ever acknowledges, even though your brother was born with a Jheri curl that made Lionel Richie’s mane seem as florid as a high-and-tight). The same influence applies to male-pattern baldness: Native Americans are the least-affected ethnic group on Earth when it comes to being pelones, a scientific consensus that is so prevalent that you can find it repeated without citing any study in multiple medical dictionaries. The Mexican couldn’t find any study specifically focusing on Mexicans, but don’t forget that a bunch of us have sangre india in our veins.

As for those of us who are getting calvos? As it says on a sweatshirt that my mami once bought at the swap meet and used to wear before realizing what it meant: I don’t have a bald spot; it’s a solar panel for a sex machine!

I have a Hispanic heritage, with long bloodline of Hispanics who came to this continent in the 1600s. Having researched my roots, I discovered that the Spaniards have Germanic roots, and the migration to the Americas and interbreeding soon created the mestizo, with other bloodlines and heritages. The generalization of terms used to describe a Hispanic were, for centuries, labeled as “white”; to make my point clearer, there was no such race as brown. In all of the documents that our forefathers filled out, there were lists of the races, which included white, red, black, yellow or red. There was never an option for brown.

Then the question of nationality came: Today, we’re listed as Anglo, Hispanic, Middle Eastern, Mexican American, African American, Oriental, Pacific Islander or other. This is where my soapbox becomes a podium: Mexicans are white. You hear in all the polls on TV that the whites voted this way, and the Hispanics voted that way! I cannot stand to hear that all the people in attendance at a particular school were 20 percent white, and 60 percent Hispanic! They are all the same people! Hispanics are white!

Anglos and Hispanics are in the same race. It’s the nationality that makes them two separate entities. Thank you for listening, and hopefully some clarity will come of the misnomer that Hispanics are a separate race than the Anglo, when we were both white all along!

Manito Manuel

Dear Wab: Repeat after me: Brown is beautiful. Brown is beautiful. Brown is beautiful. Brown is beautiful. Brown is beautiful. Brown is beautiful. Brown is beautiful. Brown is beautiful. Brown is beautiful. Brown is beautiful. Brown is beautiful. Brown is beautiful.

Now, go repeat that to all your Hispano friends in New Mexico who insist their ancestors never got it on with a mestizo, and tell them que se vayan a la chingada with their claims of pure bloodlines—or, better yet, go hang with Hitler.

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: 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.

PUBLIC HEALTH ANNOUNCEMENT

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?

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 23-year-old Latina attending a Texas university. I’m taking a class on Latino culture and history. I’m a first generation Tex-Mex kid, and lately, the documentaries and the other course work have been making me feel angry/sad/and overall confused, for lack of better phrasing. I don’t know how to handle these feelings, and it is making me be more introspective about the Latino/Mexican part of my identity—as if I didn’t already have enough issues there.

I don’t want to overthink it, and I don’t want to always wonder how people perceive me because of my background. But I don’t know how to feel about what I am learning, and if it’s OK what I am feeling. Did you ever go through something like this identity-crisis-type thing? And any advice on how to feel/handle it?

Down in Denton

Dear Mujer: Was I ever confused about my ethnic identity? Absolutely—tell your Chicano Studies professor to assign Orange County: A Personal History to ustedes, and you’ll get the carne asada of the matter. But your situation deserves a more insightful perspective than mine, so I turn the columna over to one of my bosses: Alexandro José Gradilla, chair of the Department of Chicana and Chicano Studies at Cal-State Fullerton, where I’m an adjunct-at-large.

“Dear Iztaccíhuat, you are experiencing ‘Chicano Studies Rage 101,’” Gradilla writes. “Here is a synopsis of why you are feeling the way you do. After more than decade in a K-12 school system that never really broached or addressed issues of institutional racism, most students of color coming out of high school would probably answer ‘no’ if asked, ‘Have you ever experienced racism?’ Here is the double problem. Most students have not learned anything about ‘their’ group. More importantly, they have not been taught about institutional racism. Taking a college-level history or sociology courseor, as you experienced—an ethnic studies class is par for the course. Then you get what happened to you. A sudden flood of cold, hard facts connected with theories of racism—then BAM! You are forever aware of the nature of social inequality in the United States.

“You ‘see’ how unfair and obscene racism is. Racism—and not individual prejudice or bigotry, but an embedded system of exclusion and denigration—is a profoundly ridiculous and irrational system. Whether you are learning about the Mendez, et al. vs Westminster case or the Felix Longoria affair, all within the short confines of a quarter or semester—even the most complacent coconuts are overwhelmed and bothered! The rage is famously captured by the quintessential Chicano movement poem “I am / Yo soy Joaquin” written by Rodolfo ‘Corky’ Gonzales.”

So, my little brown Aztec volcano: Your pending explosion within the classroom is nothing new. Just remember: Use your new knowledge to heal, not to hate.”

Awesome job, profe jefe! Just one thing I’ll add: While it’s OK to feel angry, never let the other side get the better of your anger, as I’ll show with the next question…

Does your cesspool homeland of Mexico allow illegals to break the law and sneak in? Hell no—but I guess it’s OK for the United States to allow it for you and your deadbeat wetback cousins. Go fuck yourself. I am sure that this is not the first time you’ve heard that from a fed-up USA taxpayer who is sick of you parasite moochers from down South.

Clean up your land if you want a good life. Don’t ride our coattails, you damn losers.

Klein in Van Nuys

Dear Gabacho: Parasitic moochers riding coattails? Olla: meet hervidor. Or, in English: Can’t wait for your beautiful brown grandchildren to take Chicano Studies 101!

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 so many cholos like the song “I’m Your Puppet” by James and Bobby Purify? Is there something about this song, or do they like all oldies?

Aspiring Puppeteer

Dear Gabacho: It ain’t just cholos who are down with oldies-but-goodies. Mexican Americans of all social classes have largely kept alive that particular music genre—the brown-eyed soul of Thee Midniters and Sunny and the Sunliners, as well long-forgotten R&B artists like The Penguins and Billy Stewart who aren’t crazy enough for hipsters to worship à la Esquerita and the Five Du-Tones, but who are still too threatening to oldies fans whose idea of soul is The Crew Cuts doing “Sh-Boom.” Oldies-but-goodies speak to the softer side of machismo—match up “The Town I Live In” with “Canción Mixteca,” and you’ll find they’re one and the mismo.

But rather than me trying to explain further to gabachos why Mexicans are so into oldies, let’s turn to the man who devoted his life to keeping the genre alive: legendary DJ Art Laboe!

“I think it has to do with the lyrics,” Laboe told The Mexican, referring to “I’m Your Puppet.” “If you listen to the song, it says, “I’ll do funny things if you want me to, I’m your puppet,’ so (that) means … I’ll do whatever you want me do to; I love you so much. I’ll do whatever you say. … I believe that is why (guys) like that song.

“It’s actually in the lyrics of the song,” Laboe continued. “‘I’ll do anything; I’m just a puppet, and you hold my string, I’m your puppet.’” Guys often have trouble revealing their feelings, and this song lets them do that. Through the years, ‘I’m Your Puppet’ has been one of our most requested songs on The Art Laboe Connection (which broadcasts Monday-Friday, 7 p.m. to midnight, and Sunday at 6 p.m. Pacific on KOKO94.com, and on the smartphone Tune In radio app via KDUC. Check ArtLaboe.com for the many other radio stations and times).”

WOW … Art Laboe in ¡Ask a Mexican! This column has finally hit its zenith—and since it’s all downhill from here, Art, I’d like to dedicate “The Agony and the Ecstasy” to my sad girl: journalism.

I was watching your video about why Mexicans hate yellow cheese, and it made me hungry. I found my way to the kitchen and made some burritos out of odds and ends—I wasn’t going for anything fancy or authentic, just clearing out some soon-to-be questionable food. So, with beans, rice, jalapeños and (sorry, yellow) cheese as a base, I threw in some chicken and some mushrooms. The mushrooms were crazy-good, but it occurred to me that I never see them in Mexican recipes. Why is that? Are all the Mexican mushroom recipes for “magic” mushrooms?

Seta Medio Oeste

Dear Midwestern Mushroom: This is a great plug for my semi-weekly ¡Ask a Mexican! video series, which I tweet out every Wednesday and put on my Facebook page!

As to your pregunta: We do eat mushrooms—they’re called hongos, and you can find them in everything from queso fundido to chilango-style quesadillas. But the fungus Mexis like the most is huitlacoche, which you Midwesterners call corn smut and have long thrown in the trash. But with huitlacoche now commanding top dinero in higher-end kitchens, looks like we’re going to save your corn-bred culos once more. If it wasn’t for Mexis moving to small-town America, Kansas would be emptier than the skull of Mexican president Enrique Pendejo Nieto …

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Published in Ask a Mexican

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

Smart Mexican American Reading Teacher Asking Serious Stuff

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

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

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

The Gabacho From Sylmar

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

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

Old Glory Gary

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

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

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Published in Ask a Mexican