Last updateMon, 24 Aug 2020 12pm

Dear Mexican: I’m a half-Mexican, more American than Mexicant (although to Cockasians, I’m sure I’m just another brown spot on their white carpet). I don’t speak Espanole nor do I care to, not because I’m ashamed, but I just don’t feel the need. If I lived in another county, I would need to, but I live in white-washed Southern California, and 80 percent of my interactions are English transactions.

In the small percentage of meetings with fellow Mexis, when I confess that I don’t know Spanish, I get the frustrated angry jeers and, in one occasion, ridiculed. I’m insulted that just because my TACO skills are less than theirs, I have to be shafted. Here’s the thing: Is it REALLY a big deal that I don’t know Spanish? Why can’t I just be left alone and not have to explain my reasons and FUCK! It’s just like my veganism explanation: I’m a Mexican vegan, and I don’t speak Spanish, and I am PROUD.

No Speaky Spanisho

Dear Pocho: While hard stats on how many half-Mexis speak Spanish are duro to come by, the U.S. Census’ 2011 American Community Survey offers a bit of a clue. It shows that about 20 percent of people of the 2.8 million people who speak Spanish at home, but don’t consider themselves Latinos, can trace their heritage to a Spanish-speaking country. And given that 26 percent of non-Latinos who do habla live in a household that has one Latino member, and 30 percent of such Spanish speakers are married to a Latina/o, we can surmise (with a lot of mezcal, and birria to soak up that statistical cruda) that halfers retain their Spanish about as well as the Mexican government retains narcos.

That said, who cares? If people make fun of you for speaking bad Spanish, let them; then congratulate them for being as bigoted as you.

I play in a fantasy football league with 11 other beaners. Most of them are pretty cool, but one of them is a total pendejo. When his team was mamando verga last year, he basically gave up and refused to set his roster. Then, when several of us called him out on it, he told us to go fuck ourselves.

Normally, the commish would ban an owner like this from partaking in future league activities, but ours is a puto. Instead of removing the owner from the league or handing down any sort of discipline, he told us, “He was a cool guy,” and, “We would like him if we only gave him a chance.” Well, we let the pendejo play in the league again this year, and it was a big mistake—can you believe the pendejo did it again? To make matters worse, we told him several times to set his lineup before the games even started. I would ask our commish to do something about this, but, like I explained earlier, he is a puto. He’s also gone MIA since trade-raping a chunti for the second-best quarterback in the league.

I could go on and on about the problems with the league and our useless commish, but I’ll cut to the chase: Why are so many Mexicans putos and pendejos?

The Prickly Pear

Dear Gabacho: Between all the talk about putos, male rape, pubic hair and mamando verga, methinks you meant to sign up for Grindr, not fantasy football. Then again, with its obsession over Packers, sweaty men and asses, looks like you found the perfect home for your fantasies—¡Que chulo!

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Dear Mexican: Why do Mexican men think all of us gabachas are like the girls in The Bikini Carwash Company? I am married, a conservative dresser, and frankly not very good-looking at all (but I do have blonde hair, so maybe that counts for something on a guy’s internal whore-o-meter), and I speak karate-choppin’ good Spanish. In fact, that’s my job: I interpret for Spanish speakers when they go to the doctor’s office. So then why—dear GOD WHY?—when I interpret for a Mexican man, does he seems culturally required to at some point say something gross to me?

Here’s a real life example from last week: “Rafael”—like so many people who work in dangerous jobs no güero would accept—got hurt at work a year ago, when he fell from an impossible height onto concrete and barely lived to tell the tale. He had a series of doctor’s appointments wherein he got poked and prodded, and his sexual dysfunction was discussed at length with me as the intermediary. (I think this might have something to do with it.) As we were waiting outside the last doctor’s office, he blushed and whispered to me, “I wanna ask you a question, but I’m embarrassed.” Oh dear god, I thought, here it comes. “Why do all you gabachas like to do—how do you say it?—table-dancing?”

Table-dancing, Mexican. Is it possible that he has lived in this country for seven years and really thinks that we are all secretly strippers who like to dance on tables? I understood this bullshit when I lived in Latin America, since Bikini Car Wash-esque stuff plays constantly on broadcast TV, but the man has been in this country for seven years. How can he think something so asinine at this point? Is it possible he’s been spending all his money at the nudie bar instead of sending it back to his wife and kids in Michoacán? What, pray tell, am I missing here?

Grumbling Güera

Dear Gabacha: Wait … so not all white women are strippers? Wow, you learn new cosas every day!

Anyhoo, in this case, the guy was obviously trying to reassert his manhood in front of a woman, so I wouldn’t read too much about Mexicans through him. But you’re right about hombres viewing gabachas as perpetual putas one martini away from doing a DP.

It’s easy to blame Mexican machismo, but the real issue is exoticism: Gabachas are the Other, and thus easily sexualized. The same thing happens with gabachos and how they view Mexican women: A University of Southern California (go Bruins!) study released earlier this year shows that, while Latinos had only about 5 percent of the roles in Hollywood’s 100 top-grossing films of 2013, 38 percent of all Latinas depicted in said películas were at some point fully or partially naked—and that’s not including all the tight skirts and blouses non-fat mujeres must wear at all times. This, of course, is nothing new—the spicy señorita archetype goes back to the silent reelers. But, as a result, gabachos have sexualized Mexican women ever since—and if you don’t believe me, go to any fraternity’s Drinko de Cinco bash.

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Dear Mexican: What do Mexicans in the United States think of the violent drug-cartel problem in Mexico? Do local Latinos cringe with disgust or fear when they hear another drug-cartel story on the news … or do they feel a sense of disconnect, because they are living in America now, and it’s no longer a concern of theirs? Do local Latinos fear crossing the San Diego/Mexico border? Do they worry about being kidnapped or carjacked on the way to Rosario like Caucasian people do right now?

Yo Gabba Gabacho

Dear Gabacho: Mexicans can be scared of the cartels all they want, but far more frightening to the majority of the population is the Mexican legal system. Police officers in the state of Guerrero are being investigated in the kidnapping of more than 40 student teachers; last year, a judge set free Rafael Caro Quintero, the notorious drug lord implicated in the murder of DEA agent Enrique Camarena. And the less that can be said about President Enrique Peña Nieto, the better … actually let me take that back. PINCHE PENDEJO BABOSO.

By the way, you and your fellow gabachos gotta stop thinking the mundo revolves around you. Unless you’re a meth dealer delinquent on your payments or a drug-war soldier, gabachos in Mexico can walk around with impunity—you’re Quetzalcoatl incarnate. The cartels are not stupid enough to kidnap a random gabacho or kill them—otherwise, Obama would drone the narcos to kingdom come, and the Mexican government would pretend to care about justice. But if you’re one of the many Mexicans in los Estados Unidos kidnapped when traveling in Mexico, or one who has paid ransoms for family members? The American and Mexican governments don’t care—after all, those victims are just Mexicans.

A friend and I ate at Carl’s Jr. An Arizona Republic newspaper was on our table. A young guy brought our food, glanced down at the headline and winced. It read: “‘Chorizo’ new mascot for Cactus League.” We asked him why he’d winced. “Chorizo,” he said with disgust. ”You speak Spanish? It means ‘meat.’ It’s a swear word,” I said, “like cabrón, pinche?” He glared at the paper. “They are so stupid.” So, chorizo = meat = prick, yes?

Su Amor Uni-lingual

Dear My Beloved Monolingual: Let me show you my chorizo, and you can find out!

Why do Mexicans ALWAYS hand-deliver invitations to birthday parties, quinceañeras, baby showers, bridal showers, etc., to street-side mailboxes, rather than sending them through the U.S. mail or delivering them to the door (which is less than 20 feet away from the streetside mail box)? Regardless of the fact that it is a felony to put items into U.S. mailboxes, it seems to be impractical with gasoline at more than $3 a gallon to be hand-delivering invitations.

Mail Male

Dear Gabacho: Heaven forbid Mexicans practice good manners! This is a relic of Old Mexico, where mail was an illusion, and inviting people personally was an opportunity to catch up with the invitee. It’s actually a beautiful thing, much better than getting an eVite or overlooking an invitation on Facebook because it got buried in your feed under the umpteenth Candy Crush Saga update.

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Editor’s Note: This week’s edition of ¡Ask a Mexican! features an incredibly well-researched answer to a question about a famous claim involving shows in Tijuana, women and a certain animal. Viewer discretion is advised, and you probably should avoid reading this at work, unless your employer is really, really cool. However, you should definitely NOT skip this column; you’ll learn something. Actually, you’ll learn a lot. Enjoy!

Dear Mexican: I’ve heard that the Tijuana donkey show featuring a female whore is not real, other than the fact that they bring out a donkey and do some simulation for people who are drunk.

Down-Low Loco

Dear Gabacho: You’re right—and after months of research, the Mexican can confirm the full history of donkey shows, the supposed borderlands specialty in which women have sex with donkeys before a live, paying audience.

Not only are they not a thing in Tijuana (or Juarez or Acapulco or anywhere in Mexico frequented by tourists); they’re actually a wholesale gabacho invention that says more about how America projects its fevered perversions onto Mexicans and Mexico than anything about Mexicans themselves.

None of the Tijuana Bibles, the infamous X-rated comics of the Great Depression that showed all sorts of depredations, make any mention of such shows south of the border. (The excellent 1997 anthology Tijuana Bibles: Art and Wit in America’s Forbidden Funnies, 1930s-1950s, even points out that the foul funnies got their name not because they were made in Mexico, but “as a gleefully sacrilegious pre-NAFTA slur against Mexicans.”) A published account of donkey sex shows in Mexico doesn’t pop up until 1975, in the book Binding With Briars: Sex and Sin in the Catholic Church. Before that, mentions of “donkey shows” in newspapers, books or magazines were exactly that: donkeys on display at county fairs, and nothing else.

But after porn star Linda Lovelace claimed her then-husband was going to force her to get “fucked by a donkey in Juarez, Mexico” in her 1980 memoir Ordeal, the act quickly seeped into mainstream American culture. Three years later, the search for a donkey show in Tijuana was a plot point in the Tom Cruise film Losin’ It; by the mid-1980s, a pioneering ska band called themselves The Donkey Show—based out of San Diego, no less.

Really, the biggest culprit in spreading the donkey-show myth is Hollywood—in the past decade alone, there’s been mention of the act in at least a dozen high-profile projects, from The 40-Year-Old Virgin to Two and a Half Men and more. This proves once again that Hollywood’s stereotyping of Mexicans hasn’t changed in a century—but what else do you expect from screenwriters (notwithstanding the awesome writers at the new ABC sitcom Cristela, and the upcoming Fox cartoon, Bordertown, for which I’m a consultant) who know Mexicans mostly as their nannies, car washers, gardeners, cooks and the janitors in their offices?

Are there sex shows between humans and animals in Mexico? I’m sure there are, just like there are in the United States—in fact, the earliest account I could find of people paying to see a woman-donkey coupling is in the November 1915 issue of the St. Louis-based medical journal The Urologic and Cutaneous Review, in which a doctor recalled a case 25 years earlier: Spectators at such a show (including “a judge, sons of a social reformer, and a secretary of a girls’ aid society”) were criminally tried after a woman died during the copulation. But leave it to gabachos to stereotype such debauchery as being as exclusively Mexican as the Aztec pyramids and a corrupt government. Pinche gabachos …

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Dear Mexican: Why don’t Mexicans tip decently? I labor as a waitress in a local upscale steakhouse where, unfortunately, many Mexicans eat—and the lousy tips are starting to piss me off! Even blacks tip better! (Although, I gotta say, Mexicans are much easier to wait on. No constant requests for “So’ mo’ ranch dressin’.”) And yes: I always give good service on the one-in-a-million chance the brown-skinned loser sitting at my table isn’t a complete social retard.

Could you possibly pass the word along so I can quit spitting in their drinks?

Waits on Too Many Wabs

Dear Gabacho: Let’s consult the findings of Cornell University professor Michael Lynn, the country’s premier scholar on tipping. In a 2003 study titled “Ethnic Differences in Tipping: Evidence, Explanations and Implications,” Lynn examined the long-standing claims by waiters that minorities tip less than gabachos. He analyzed the responses of nearly 2,000 eaters in Houston and found that not only did “Hispanics” (Mexicans, really, since Houston’s Latino community is nearly three-quarters Mexican) tip as well as gabachos; they usually tipped better. Mexicans, according to Lynn, “increased their percentage tips with service … more than did whites.”

Lynn offered no explanation for his findings, but I will: Mexicans leave a little extra not out of a perceived social obligation, but for a job well done—which includes how caliente the chica is. Most Mexican restaurants force their waitresses to wear skirts just below the culo and blouses with a neckline that plunges like the American auto industry. Mexicans tip accordingly—I’ve been to dives where Mexican men will tip three times their $40 bill if the waitress jiggles just a little bit longer. When Mexicans go to eateries where the waitresses dress more conservatively, the tips usually dry up.

Want a little extra, Too Many Wabs? Bring us a bottle of Tapatío—not Tabasco—without prompting. And get some ass implants.

Why do Mexicans pronounce “shower” as “chower,” but “chicken” as “shicken”?

Vietnamese About to Orate

Dear Chinito: This column has provided readers with many indicators of the differences between recently arrived Mexicans and los que have lived here for generations: skin tone, car purchases, whether the Mexican in question flushes his soiled toilet paper or tosses it in the trash can, etc. Another sure-fire way is the ch/sh phonetic test.

Proper Spanish doesn’t feature a “sh” sound (known among linguists as a linguapalatal fricative), so Mexicans pronounce English words using an “sh” sound with the harsher “ch” (known as a lingualveolar affricate). However, many indigenous Mexican tongues use linguapalatal fricatives. The most famous example is in the original pronunciation of Mexico: As said in Nahuatl, the word sounds like “meh-shee-ko.” The Spaniards couldn’t pronounce the middle consonant, though, instead substituting a guttural “j” (as in “Meh-hee-ko”) early in the Conquest. They killed most of Mexico’s Indians in the ensuing decades, but the indigenous “sh” sound never wholly disappeared.

If you do hear a Mexican using “sh,” it’s probably a Mexican Indian. So the next time you hear a Mexican ask for a “Shinese shicken sandwish with Sheddar sheese,” VATO, por favor, don’t shortle.

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Dear Mexican: Why don’t Mexicans get green cards and come into the United States legally?

After talking to people who have, I realize that the process is not hard, and it only takes a maximum of three years to do. By coming in illegally, people are taking jobs from legal Mexican citizens and taking advantage of the U.S. social-welfare systems. This causes increased taxes, not to mention increased costs of all types of insurance. These costs are forced onto all legal citizens, including Mexicans.

Do the Mexicans who cross the border illegally have any respect for people or their own culture?

Shane the Shooter

Dear Gabacho: Who says Mexicans don’t come here legally? The Pew Hispanic Center shows that nearly half of the 11.4 million Mexican immigrants in el Norte are legal, with about un terced of that half permanent residents—that’s a lot of Mexicans with green cards!

But factor in all the other immigrants wanting to get their micas, and the pie-en-el-cielo scenario you paint of folks going through the process within three years is as laughable as Mitt Romney considering another presidential run. I know people whose green-card applications have been held up for more than a decade because of the backlog of cases. And like I’ve said many times in this columna and elsewhere, no one’s going to wait for a superfluous piece of paper when you’re starving, and salvation is just a couple of thousand miles, a bus ride and some evil human-smugglers away.

As for the rest of your babble? Babadas.

What’s up with the scorpion symbol? I’ve seen it on the rear window of many a lowrider truck, and I’m baffled by what it means. One of my pocho friends says it has something to do with drug-smuggling. Is that true?

Gabacho de Albuquerque

Dear Gabacho: I seriously doubt the truck on which you saw a scorpion was of the lowrider genre—those are driven by Chicanos who usually leave their windows clean so that everyone can see the car-club trophy on the back of their seat. What you saw was a truck or a giant SUV driven by a paisa—a Mexican term for a hillbilly. And more likely than not, that paisa is from the state of Durango, where the alacrán is a symbol of pride given its desert/mountain landscape.

That said, narcos have appropriated the scorpion for the obvious, menacing reason, just as they’ve done to Tweety Bird and Santa Muerte—but to say everyone who puts those stickers on the back of their trucks is a drug-dealer is like saying everyone who wears pointy boots is a pendejo.

Oh, wait …


Just out from the University of Arizona Press: Our Sacred Maiz Is Our Mother: Indigeneity and Belonging in the Americas, by Roberto Cintli Rodriguez, professor of Mexican-American and Raza Studies at the University of Arizona. It’s an awesome treatise on the importance of corn in the Americas, combining history with ethnography, cultural studies and a bunch of desmadre. Buy, buy, compra!

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Dear Mexican: I enjoy the use of language by Chicanos, mexicanos and Mexican Americans. Humor and a sardonic sense of history, in my view, are encapsulated in many everyday expressions. Two examples are the use of huey (or perhaps buey) and rollo. In the first case, perhaps buey (ox) is a bitterly ironic reference to the term huey tlatoani, “ruler of Mexico-Tenochtitlan,” I read about in Fifteen Poets of the Aztec World by Miguel León-Portilla. In the second case, I’ve heard young Chicanos use the word rollo, for conversation or dialogue, perhaps seeing themselves as seated Aztecs uttering word-scrolls. What do you think?

Cuauhtémoc’s Cousin

Dear Wab: I agree that Mexican Spanish is a magnificent thing, and you forgot to throw in caló, albures and double-entendres to the roll call of linguistic desmadre. But your folk etymologies are a bit off.

We derive buey (or, güey and wey) from the Latin bovis, the term for an ox. As I explained in one of the first ¡Ask a Mexican! columns ever, Latin cultures consider the ox to be the dummy of the animal kingdom, much in the same way gabachos think of an ass, so the Aztecs (and Central Americans, for that matter) got that insult from the Spaniards. Huey, on the other hand, meant “exalted” in Nahuatl when referring to the Aztec king, and while the capacity of Mexican-Spanish humor is almost limitless, no one ever thinks of Montezuma when calling someone a pinche güey, even if he was a pinche güey.

Rollo is a different rola, on the other hand: In other words, it also comes from the Spaniards via the Latins and has nothing to do with the Aztec codices. Then again, I think you’re mishearing the young Chicanos, because I’ve never heard them use rollo to describe a conversation, but have heard them say rola more than not. Then again, maybe I’m hanging out with too many chilangos

Why is it that Mexican putos can only cry when drunk out of their minds? They always use the lame excuse that they don’t cry so they can last longer in the cama! When you’re young, I understand, but nearing your 60s? Give me a break! And, yes, these are real big mamadas! Back in the day, the mujer fell for this crap! And they wonder why we don’t stay in a relationship for years, because it slips from the cama to thinking you belong in the kitchen 24/7 … vamos a la chingada.

Chicana que no se Deja ser Chingada

Dear Chicana Who Won’t Allow Herself to Get Fucked Over: The best response to this came from ranchera legend Vicente Fernández, at a concert I once saw him at in Anaheim. Borracho out of his mind, Chente began crying onstage. “I’m not crying, güeyes,” Chente roared as he crooned the José Alfredo Jiménez barn-burner “Tu Recuerdo y Yo.” “My eyes are sweating!”

You know how it goes with hombres: That whole machismo front is a farce. And the only thing that brings it down is the bottle … and maybe the death of their rooster.

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Dear Mexican: A very close friend of mine is supposed to become a U.S. citizen. He was brought here by his parents when he was 9 and has been illegal since then.

When the laws changed, he went through a lot of hoops, and it really didn’t look good for a long while—especially since he was already 30 by the time the law was truly enacted. But somehow, through petitions and an appeal, he has been told he will become a U.S. citizen. That being said, he is still waiting for the day, still working in a dodgy manner, and still not driving—his American wife always drives.

There’s a pallor of emasculation about not being a citizen. He feels second-rate—something I know not because he tells us, but because his wife and I are very close. He takes out his anger and resentment on his wife and marriage, and it’s caused immense stress.

Are there counselors specifically for people who are dealing with the difficulty of becoming legal? Is that a strange question? I love this guy so much—he’s such a close friend to our family. I’ve never met a harder worker and a more curious soul. This scenario, while common, is so unfair. It breaks my heart that he has to experience this—and has for years. Any advice would be so greatly appreciated.

Good Gabacha Friend

Dear Gabacha: There are many support networks for undocumented folks, whether they’re younger DREAMers, or people who just missed the cutoff point for Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), the Obama administration memorandum that effectively put millions of people like your friend in a waiting game. And now with Obummer stating there’s no chance of any immigration reform until after the November elections, your friend and so many others will continue to wait in frustration—but tell your amigo he should feel no shame, and to keep the faith.

Then again, who am I to say anything? The Mexican was born in this country—it was my papi who came in the trunk of a Chevy—so maybe my privilege makes me wear rose-colored mad-doggers. Have him check out, where my former producer, renowned artist Julio Salgado, and others tackle on the problem of what it means to grow up in this country without papers and a government de puros pendejos.

So I went to New York the other day, and we went to this neighborhood that was Dominican. I didn’t know what that meant, but it looked like a normal black neighborhood. Then I noticed they were all speaking Mexican. Is a Dominican just a fancy word for a black Mexican? Why are they so good at baseball?

Confused in Utah

Dear Gabacho: This is ¡Ask a Mexican!, not ¡Ask a Tíguere!, so I really can’t help you much here. The only facts I can offer are that a 2008 City University of New York study projected Mexicans to eclipse Dominicans as the largest immigrant group in la Gran Manzana in the next decade, meaning there’ll be a whole new group of Latinos to hate us soon. Oh, and that our mujeres LOVE bachata, the twang Dominican music form that’s the only genre in the world certified by God as an automatic choni dropper.

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Dear Mexican: The Mexican-American community is the most adversely affected by the influx of illegals. Only the politicians have any gain from lumping all Hispanics into the Latino category.

Are proud, hardworking Mexican Americans actually willing to continually diminish their own children’s American future purely to facilitate the radical Chicano politician’s dream of a fearful, disjointed, Third World California? So far, the racist Chicano politicians are succeeding at making fools of the Mexican-American community. Where is the outrage? The Mexican-Americans I know are exemplary parents. Since when did the community at large cease to feel an obligation to its own children?

My Best Friend Is Brown

Dear Gabacho: Of course the Mexican-American community is the most affected by undocumented folks. They’re our primos y tíos deported by the migra, as well as the parents of young children left without mami or papi. Their hard work shames us pochos into working harder; their resourcefulness while living in this country leads to hilarious Mexican memes that get turned into listicles by the kids over at Buzzfeed and

More importantly, illegal immigrants are a constant reminder to our kids of any number of Biblical verses—do unto others this, strangers in a strange land eso—that keep us in check, keep our culture strong, and ensure that we don’t turn into amoral assholes like ustedes Know Nothings.

Your column is typically about culture, society, love, life and death. But I want to ask about something more important—beer.

Why is Mexican beer bland? Most of the beer in Mexico is a variant of a light European lager. Sure, not all beers are that way. But why doesn’t the beer follow the vibrant foods of Mexico? Is beer just a liquid to wash down interesting food—a palate cleaner, like a flavored water? Is beer a gateway to stronger drinks like mezcal?

Cerveza Sammy

Dear Gabacho: The Mexican has never favored beer, probably because he drank too much of it as a 4-year old y me dió asco. But I know enough to tell usted that nearly all the major Mexican beer brands are lagers because of the German, Czech and Austrian migrants who founded brands such as Tecate, Negra Modelo and Bohemia (what—you thought it was named after the last Aztec emperor?).

I also know enough to turn an aficionado like you on to Mexico’s burgeoning microbrewery scene in Baja California, where I’m sure you can find stouts, IPAs and red ales worthy of Pliny the Younger.

Finally, my cerveza knowledge is such that I know once-regional Mexican brands are now invading el Norte to capture gabacho dollars—Victoria started a mass ad campaign some years back, and Montejo (a golden lager most popular in Yucatán) just made its American debut. But what do I know? I’m just a humble mezcal borracho, after all.

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Dear Mexican: I’m from the southeastern U.S., and people think that all people from there are dumb (and in many cases, they’re correct—see Bush, G.W.). Is there a similar place in Mexico where other Mexicans think people are inbred mouth-breathers?

Swanee Señor

Dear Gabacho: Jalisco.

I am a health-researcher, and at my job, I work with large datasets, including data on births in California. Approximately half of births in California are to mothers who have self-identified their race as “white” and their ethnicity as “Hispanic,” and as we know, the majority of Latinos in California have ancestry from Mexico.

I am wondering: Why do so few Latinos identify their race as either Native American or multiracial? We know from genetic studies that many Mexicans have a significant proportion of Native American ancestry. For example, see Fejerman et al., Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers and Prevention 2010; 19(4): 1074-82, who found that the proportions of Native American ancestry among Mexican women averaged 54 percent among those from Monterrey, and 69 percent among persons from Mexico City.

An Angelena

Dear Gabacha: It’s no real surprise that Mexis would either not mark any other box to denote their raza, or just mark “white.” As you most likely know, no one in Mexico wants to identify as Indian, because they’re at the bottom of the race chain.

That stigma still carries over to the United States: Figures from the 2010 U.S. Census showed that about 175,000 people identified as “Mexican-American Indian,” which would make this group the fourth-largest Native American tribe in the United Unidos (only Cherokee, Choctaw, and Navajo would be bigger). But consider that in “Indigenous Oaxacan Communities in California: An Overview,” a 2007 paper by Lisa Kresge for the California Institute for Rural Studies, the estimated population for this group alone was about 350,000—and that’s just for the Golden State, and doesn’t include the many Purépecha, Yaquis, Otomis, Mayas, Totonacs and other Mexican indigenous groups in Cali.

Until there’s an incentive for Mexicans to identify as Indian (using an Aztec name to get into the chonis of a with a Chicanos Studies chica doesn’t count … yet), you’re not going to find many Mexicans who identify as indio—sad, but verdad.

After having done organizing work with Mexicans, I am greatly puzzled as to why all the white, lower-class Mexicans I have come across have these weird, ratty hairdos that are so God-awful that they rival what my male redneck cousins were doing to themselves in the ’70s. Why do their brown counterparts know how to style their hair so much better?

No Entiendo Todo Esta Locura

Dear I Don’t Understand This Craziness: I don’t get your obsession with skin tone, because the Mexi-mullet doesn’t discriminate. It was first popularized in the 1970s by stars of grupera music, a synth-heavy style of conjunto norteño popular in northern Mexico, where redneck Texas’ influence predominates. The hairstyle spread to other musicians (see: that guy from Los Tigres del Norte, Ramón Ayala) popular with Mexican immigrant men, and trickled down to the fans; it remains de rigueur for any hombre working under the hot sun. And I’ll betcha this style will come back among you gabachos: Like Islamic scholars preserving the classics during the Dark Ages, Mexicans take care of fads—raising your own chickens, trucker hats, food trucks, Pendletons—that ustedes “rediscover,” much to our bemusement. Silly gabachos!

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Published in Ask a Mexican