Last updateMon, 24 Aug 2020 12pm

Dear Mexican: I see lots of Mexican Americans struggling in grade school and high school. Many Mexican-American activists claim it’s because the students don’t speak English at home, or the schools don’t teach them well. But I see lots of Asian Americans in the same schools who do really well. Many of them also don’t speak English at home. The last time I went to a hospital, it seemed like Asians were 30 percent of the doctors. I didn’t see a single Latino one.

Why is it that one group consistently does better than the other? I don’t understand.


Dear Gabacho: Because Mexican students are stupid, while Asian students are geniuses—that’s what you and your ilk want to hear, right?

This pregunta always busts me up, because no matter how many studies activists can offer examining the myths of model minorities and Mexican apathy toward academics—variables, educational background of parents, socioeconomic conditions of neighborhoods, the quality of schools, blah blah blah—Know Nothings dismiss the facts. That’s not what they want to hear, and they don’t even care about solutions to the education gap. So I’ll just say it again to please ustedes: Mexican students are stupid; Asian students are geniuses. Happy? Of course you are! However, just because you wish something to be verdad doesn’t make it so—and if you don’t believe me, go see what happened to Mitt Romney’s dream of Mexicans self-deporting.

Far too many Mexicans REFUSE to go through the trouble of learning English. They often speak Spanish annoyingly loud in public. Sometimes, the KIDS speak better English than their PARENTS! If they don’t understand you, they just smile and say, “No, si, no.” What is that crap, anyway?! How about learning enough of our language to say, “I’m as proudly Mexican as you are American. Screw you, muchacho!” While this would be totally obnoxious, at least it’d be more HONEST than “No, si, no.”

Willy the White Writer

Dear Gabacho: Of course the kids speak better English than their parents—the kids are Americans, while the parents are Mexicans. And those Mexicans are muy honest with you—or do you not hear them mutter “chinga tu madre, pinche gabacho feo apestoso” under their breath?

My boyfriend is Mexican, and I am a gabacha. Whenever my boyfriend sees a Mexican girl with someone of a different race, he gets disgusted and mad (especially when he sees them with black guys). I’ve pointed out to him that he seems a bit hypocritical, since he’s with a white girl—but he says that he makes an exception for me.

Do all Mexicans feel this way, or is my boyfriend pinche loco?

Lover of Verga

Dear Cock-Loving Gabacha: Of course your guy is pinche loco—but so are all men of color. Hombres complaining that their raza’s women are dickmatized by gabachos while boasting about nailing gabachas is a trope as old as gabachos fearful that oversexed bucks and banditos were taking too many of their women.

That said, I’m not going to dismiss the anti-negrito sentiment that still dominates the Mexican mind, especially when said negrito is dating a mexicana. Raza: We gotta drop anti-black thoughts from our community the same way we ditched Carlos Mencia.

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Published in Ask a Mexican

Dear Readers: The Mexican just got married to a chica caliente, so he’s taken her on a honeymoon to the motherland so she can learn the proper art of tortilla-making. In the meanwhile, I offer this “best of” edition, because I plan to do all of my work this week en la cama—ZING!

Dear Mexican: The last two movies I attended were rated R. Sitting around me were Mexican families with very young children. Why do Mexicans bring their 8-year-old kids to see a movie like Hostel? Do Mexican parents just not give a shit, or can they not afford a baby sitter? Plus, the Mexicans let their kids kick my seat.

Confused Moviegoer

Dear Gabacho: The only sin I see here is anyone forking over cash to watch Hostel, the 2005 horror turkey whose main claim to fame was casting handsome wab Jay Hernandez as a character with the retre-gabacho name Paxton.

As for your question, the Mexican refers you to the late New Yorker film critic Pauline Kael, who famously quipped, “The words ‘Kiss Kiss Bang Bang,’ which I saw on an Italian movie poster, are perhaps the briefest statement imaginable of the basic appeal of movies.” Nowhere is that nugget more applicable than with Mexicans. Mix gore, boobs, popcorn and the occasional midget or gay guy, and you can occupy a Mexican for two hours. See, violence and Mexican cinema go together like refried and beans—it’s been one prolonged shootout that started with the 1919 silent classic El Automovil Gris (The Grey Automobile, which dramatized the real-life exploits of Mexico City’s murderous Grey Automobile Gang and included actual footage of their execution), continued through the urban dramas of the 1950s and various 1960s sci-fi/Aztec mummy/lucha libre superhero follies, and reached its zenith with narco películas (drug dramas) that Spanish-language television channels have broadcast without pause for the past three decades.

The Mexican love for filmic blood isn’t a pathological cultural trait, though: As any Hollywood executive will tell you, violence is a universal tongue that needs no subtitles. That’s why Mexican parents take their kiddies to see such films—as the children become Americans, and the parents remain stuck in remedial English classes, sometimes the only way to communicate is to speak the language of Charles Bronson. And the kid behind you? He’s practicing his Death Wish moves so he can kick your ass. 

Why do you people stink?

Zestfully White

Dear Gabacho: The same reason you don’t: hard work.

What’s up with all the elaborate wrought-iron fences in the Mexican parts of town? It almost seems like everyone is trying to outdo each other with these amazing displays of metallurgy. Is it just another way to try to protect the cars parked on the lawn and keep the livestock from wandering off, or is it a pathway to instant respect and envy among the neighbors?

WHrought Iron To Envy (WHITE) Guy

Dear Gabacho: This is a question that fascinates even sociologists. At “The Latinization of American Culture,” a weeklong seminar held in 2005 by the USC Annenberg School for Communication, UCLA professor David Hayes-Bautista showed pictures of wrought-iron fences to describe what gabachos can expect when Mexicans move into their neighborhoods. But you can find the answer on the United States-Mexico border, WHITE: fences. Miles and miles of American-made fences. Triple-layered. Jagged. Deadly.

That’s our introduction to American society when we enter los Estados Unidos. All Mexicans want to assimilate, so fences are usually the first thing we erect once we buy a casa: pointy, menacing bars wrapped with organic barbed wire like bougainvilleas or roses to keep the damn Mexicans at bay. And still—as evidenced by the lemons stolen from my front lawn every night—Mexicans jump them.

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Published in Ask a Mexican

Dear Mexican: I’m not Mexican, but my son-in-law is. He is intelligent, bright, enthusiastic and pleasant to spend time with. He came here, illegally, at the age of 18 with his aunts. He and my daughter are married, have a 3 1/2-year-old son, and have gone through the entire process of filing papers and paying fees so he could enter the country legally.

Last week, at the instruction of la migra, he went to Juarez, Mexico, to apply for his visa. He had his physical after waiting in line for nine hours. Then, on Wednesday, he stood in line for his 9:45 a.m. appointment from 7 a.m. until the consulate closed at 4 p.m. He was told to come back tomorrow. He showed up at 6 a.m. the next day and was finally granted his interview.

One question that is asked in the interview is: “Have you ever used drugs?” Well, being the honest person he is, and not ever wanting to be accused of lying, he answered truthfully: “Yes, I tried some with a friend about 6 months ago.”

It is from this experience that I have learned our own U.S. government doesn’t care about honest people; it just wants to appear “drug-free.” He was told he was banned from the U.S. and to reapply in 2 1/2 years! My daughter is beside herself with grief. She cannot afford to pay for child care without the help of her husband, so she will be forced to quit her job. My grandson believes his daddy doesn’t love him any more, or he would come home. And my son-in-law has learned this lesson: If you want to enter the U.S. legally, don’t admit to having done anything wrong—period.

My daughter and grandson now are in mental-health counseling, but their plan is to move to Tijuana, where a family member owns a home in which they can live. My daughter will commute to San Diego if she can find work. And for the next five years, while they go through the entire process over again, I will miss watching my sweet little boy grow up. I will miss having my only daughter and best friend with me, and I will miss having my loving son-in-law here where he belongs with his family.

I’ve written to my senators asking for intervention, and I’m going to get an appointment to see an immigration lawyer, but I’m not terribly confident. Do you hold out any hope for them at all?

Upset Mom

Dear Gabacha: Ever hear that canard by Know Nothings that Mexicans don’t want to enter el Norte the “right” way? Your yerno is Exhibit Número 1 on why we don’t.

Throw in the stupidity of our drug war, and coming into this country legally is unjustly harder than trying to get your tía to write her tamale secrets down in recipe form.

Honestly, the best thing for your son-in-law is to cross over illegally, as undocumented folks nowadays seem to have more protection than those who try to do it the right way—and while I have no problem with that whatsoever, how fucked up is it that we’ve come to this?

Wait, that came off VERY conservative, so let me save my Aztlanista reputation … ¡A LA CHINGADA CON MURRIETA!

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Dear Mexican: I’m a handsome exemplar of the bronce race living in the motherland. I’m dating a beautiful and wonderful gringuita who is soon taking a trip over the border from the U.S. to Mexico for the first time to visit me and my pinche big family. There are a couple of things that worry me, though.

First of all, she seems to have a fairly pessimistic view of Mexico (probably due to anti-Mexican propaganda and inherited biased family ideas). She says that she’s very excited to visit, but I can sense that there’s fear in her. What would you suggest that I do to erase all her wrong gabacho misconceptions of la madre patria?

Secondly, I fear for her health once she gets to eat real Mexican food. What can I do to ameliorate the devastating effects our unique cuisine has on unsuspecting foreigners, and spare her from Moctezuma’s revenge while still allowing her to delight in some great enchiladas or chiles rellenos?

El Guapo de México

Dear Handsome One From Mexico: To ameliorate your beloved’s fears, just give her a nightly dose of your chorizo.

As for Montezuma’s revenge, I cite my answer from my libro, which you should buy a fourth copy of just for the hell of it: “One of the worst cultural insults you can throw at people is to say that their food gives you diarrhea, and that’s why the English language has so many euphemisms for the thing—Gandhi’s revenge, Gyppy tummy, Delhi belly, the Rangoon runs, Tokyo trots. But none has stuck better in the gabacho mind than Montezuma’s revenge, named after the Aztec emperor who lorded over Tenochtitlán when the Spaniards came. Spanish accounts maintain that Ol’ Monty loved to drink his chocolate laced with muchos chiles, and his digestive tract cleared out almost daily. Whether it’s true or not is a matter of historical intrigue, but the stereotype was quickly gobbled up by gabachos eager to fulfill their critique of Mexicans as a dirty, ugly race whose food can cause that disgusting stuff.

“That’s the gabacho way—blame their weak digestive tract on the natives.”

A news story some time ago mentioned that a Centers for Disease Control study shows that 96 percent of all U.S. adults have had sex. However, breaking this down by ethnic group, the same study showed only 88 percent of Mexican-American adults in the U.S. have ever had sex, the least of any ethnic group polled, leaving 12 percent without knowing the pleasures of relaciones sexuales. This appears to buck the stereotype that Mexicans are somehow spicier in matters of the sack than the rest of us, and the uglier stereotype that they breed like rabbits.

I’m curious: Besides the possibility of the effects of growing up with pervasive, strict Catholic guilt, are there cultural, biological or genetic reasons why so many of your fellow mexicanos are not experiencing the joys of gettin’ it on with un amante of choice?

Gabacho Mariposa de Tejas

Dear Gay Gabacho From Texas: Not only that, but another CDC report showed that Latinos were the ethnic group with the lowest rate of people who’d at least had oral sex before losing their virginity—39 percent compared to 56.6 percent of gabachos. Fact is, many Mexicans retain small-town puritanical values, which also explains why so many of our girls get pregnant. I wish there was a joke in all this, but the only chiste here is the lack of sex education in the Mexican community—that, and a Pepito line showing the absurdity of it all, of course.

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Dear Mexican: Why is it that so many gringos/gabachos constantly slaughter Spanish words? Spanish is easy to pronounce (and spell) compared to English. The vowels are always pronounced the same way. In English, vowels vary a lot—which is difficult for new learners. All of the other letters of the alphabet are pronounced the same way, except for a few, such as “J” (guttural-sounding) and “X” (like the aspired “J”). But “H” is always silent; “Y” is like “I”; and double “ll” is pronounced “yah.” And don’t get me started about how common expressions like “vamonos” became “mosey.” Or how “calabozo” became “calaboose,” and “vaquero” became “buckaroo,” etc.

Llamame Frustrado

Dear Call Me Frustrated: Don’t be too hard on gabachos. You simplify Spanish a bit too much—don’t forget that “X” sounds like “ch” when placed at the beginning of words; that we love to elide (you try getting a gaba to translate “No, pos ’ta pa’lla”), and that trilling your “Rs” in rr ain’t exactly easy. In fairness, Americans do know Mexican Spanish, from borracho to chichis to chica caliente to guac, torts, chimis. And the recently concluded World Cup taught American sports fans the wonder that is “Eh … PU-TO!” (“Hey … FAG-GOT!” chanted at the opposing portero after every goal kick).

All other non-Mexicans in los Estados Unidos will slowly learn Spanish as their numbers decline and Mexicans increase—after all, they don’t want to be economically retarded like non-English-speaking Mexicans, do they? Besides, the only gabachos who should already know Spanish are those who live in the American Southwest—they’ve only had about 165 years to learn it, so give them a break.

As far as I can tell, Mexican food is all the same thing, based on one simple concept. Take a tortilla; lay it out; pile it up with meat, lettuce, tomato and maybe some cilantro; and it’s called a tostada. Fold it in half, and now it’s a taco. Roll it up, and it’s a burrito. Throw the burrito in the deep fryer, and now you have a chimichanga. The only REAL choice anybody has with Mexican food, besides the amount of hot sauce, is the tortilla (corn or flour) and the kind of meat.

Is that all that Mexico could come up with for the country’s cooking heritage?

Culinary Boredom in Salinas

Dear Gabacha: Wow, what did tortillas ever do to you? Not only are you pendeja, but you’re retrependeja. For chrissakes, you don’t even know the Mexican-food writings of your hometown hero, John Steinbeck. When he was going around the country while writing Travels With Charley, the Homer from Salinas wrote to his wife that he had prepared a bowl of pozole (he called it “pissoli”), which doesn’t involve tortillas (though it can) or meat (though it can). He also loved Bohemia beer, writing, “Ah, Bohemia beer and the Pyramid of the Sun; entire civilizations have created less.”

Finally, tamales make many appearances in his works, from Tortilla Flat to The Pastures of Heaven and more. Besides, what’s gabacho food if not bread, a choice of meat, and gallons of corn syrup?

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Dear Mexican: I am from an Arabic-speaking country. After my education is completed here, I’ll be returning to my country or Kuala Lumpur.

Since I’ve been in this country, I’ve noticed there’s a rising tide of hatred toward Mexicans. I’ve talked to Mexicans, and they all say they’re proud to be Mexican. I am curious, sir: Why is it that Mexicans don’t stand up to that corrupt and racist government in Mexico?

In my opinion, it’s going to get worse for Mexicans in the United States. I’ve read where there’s a new constitution that has been secretly written; they’re just waiting for the right time to implement it. It’s going to be geared toward a police state. English will be the official language. I’ve asked some people in government about this. Some said there’s a push to revoke the amendment about children of illegals born on American soil. I strongly suspect your people are in mortal danger. I also found, in my research, that the U.S. is preparing for civil unrest. U.S. Special Forces, NATO troops and more than a million mercenaries are already deployed in this country. Just remember: America is notorious for using germ warfare on people of color. They used it on African Americans in the early part of the 20th century, not to mention HIV in Africa. The pentagon has vials of viruses in laboratories that can wipe out tens of millions of people!

Don’t think they won’t use it on your people. In my opinion, the worst is yet to come in this country. You see what they’re trying to do to us Muslims. But Muslims are fighters—we believe God helps those who help themselves.

Good luck to you. Your people will need it.

Roti Ranter

Dear Mohammedan: On one mano, you come off as someone who probably believes that the missing Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 was an Illuminati plot at the behest of the Reptilians to crash the Bohemian Grove. On the other hand, didja hear how there were smallpox samples in the back of a freezer of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention that someone had absentmindedly left there for decades? Freaky stuff, this country.

But this is ¡Ask a Mexican!, not Coast to Coast AM, so let’s concentrate on the Mexican parts of your pregunta. You ask why Mexicans don’t stand up to the Mexican government. It’s the same question Know Nothings continually pose to Mexicans (and now to those Central American undocu-kids that have bigots’ chonis in a bunch—vete a la chingada, mugroso Murrieta), yet never ask of their ancestors. Simple answer: The whole reason why Mexico is even in the First World is because migrants stood up to the PRI via remittances and votes, just like previous groups of other immigrants.

Then you imply Muslims are fighters, while Mexicans aren’t. While I give my respect to the ummah, Mexicans in los Estados Unidos are the greatest warriors on Earth: We have the sangre of the Moors who ruled over the Spaniards for más than 700 years, the blood of the Spaniards who ultimately won, the wisdom of our indigenous ancestors, the valor of our American home, and the knowledge that the ultimate battlefield is in the bedroom—and there, we’re like pinche Saladin.

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Dear Mexican: During George W. Bush’s administration, there was a lot of talk for and against comprehensive immigration reform. One remark, stated by a Mexican, went something like, “Go back to Europe!”

Aren’t Mexicans of European descent also? Hello, colonized by Spain! I thought to myself, “Why don’t you go back to Europe? Unless you are puro indio, your roots from Europe also.”

Immigration reform aside, what are your thoughts on going back to Europe?

Murrieta Maven

Dear Gabacha: Eh, we say that just to show how stupid gabachos yelling, “Go back to Mexico!” sounds.

The only Mexicans who truly believe gabachos should head back to Europe are indigenazi types who claim they’re the pureblooded 15th linear descendant of Cuauhtémoc … while sporting facial hair straight from Extremadura.

Do Indians mangle Spanish as badly as they do English when you call a tech-support line?

What I like about Mexicans is they are honest with you if they don’t understand what you just said. They ask you to say it again. And if you don’t understand a Mexican who is nobly attempting to learn the universal second language that is English, the Mexican tries to say it again, more correctly. And Mexicans are grateful when you have helped them understand English a little bit better so they can communicate with you. Even in Mexico, Mexicans don’t mind if you don’t understand Spanish; they always make sure that everybody can communicate with each other, even if it means they speak English.

Then there are Indian tech support people, who seem to want to punish you for not understanding as they attempt to read English sentences, that they have no interest in trying to understand, from a piece of paper. If they don’t get it right on the first try, I have found that you should immediately hang up and call back, hoping for somebody who can understand English. I have paid cancellation fees and returned electronics items because of tech support that seems to be waging a sort of passive-aggressive jihad.

So back to my question: How does a Mexican deal with Indian tech support? Do you have some wisdom on how to navigate nonnative speakers without having a stroke? Oh He Who Always Knows To Press Eight For Spanish?

An American Consumer

Dear Gabacho: We press “2.”

What do you think about just opening the U.S.-Mexico border (and, for that matter, all the borders in the world)? I think that a lot of people who go the U.S. illegally would much rather work in the U.S. for a few months and then go back to their home in Mexico and live off of the earnings for a while.

You are a smart guy. I’m just curious what you think!

Bordering on a Bonus

Dear Gabacho: The Mexican has always been for open borders, if only because that’s been the American mantra since the days of Daniel Boone.

I’d say more, but my column’s word count gets slashed every five years or so due to the death of print—yay, Internet! In other news, (cut cut cut).

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Published in Ask a Mexican

Dear Mexican: I noticed that Mexican people don’t generally smoke. Don’t get me wrong—I’m not condoning smoking, but it’s interesting to see how some groups do or do not smoke, and I have yet to see a Mexican person smoke cigarettes. Does the tobacco industry not target Latinos?

Fulminating Fumador

Dear Gabacho Smoker: American Lung Association stats show that Latinos have the second-lowest rate of smoking among ethnic groups, with only 15.8 percent of Latinos smoking in 2008, compared with 21.3 percent of negritos, and 22 percent of gabachos.

In the Latino category, Mexican immigrants had an astoundingly low rate of 11.6 percent. (Chicanos, on the other hand, smoke at a 20.1 percent rate—go, assimilation!) And it’s not a new trend—studies going back to the 1980s cite the low smoking rate of Mexis.

The reasons? Catholicism, mostly: The Church forbade smoking back when it ruled Mexico, and the stigma resonates to the present day. Besides, Mexicans need their lungs for the Reconquista. Our livers, on the otra hand? Meh …

Mexicans, birds and ferrets all seem to be naturally attracted to shiny, sparkly things, no matter how gaudy or tacky. If evolution is true, does this mean that Mexicans evolved from birds and ferrets?

Fond of Frottage

Dear Gabacho: No, we’re descended from jaguars—and evolution says we’ll eat gabachos to extinction … or is that demographics?

Hola! I’m a longtime reader, first-time writer. I was thinking a long time about what to ask, because I don’t want to ask a dumb question and embarrass myself. I finally decided to ask about something that tends to bother me a lot: Why do you think that the second and/or third generations of Mexicans born in this country don’t know about their history? What makes parents not teach their kids?

My father is Mexican, and my mom is of Latino descent. When I was a small boy, I was always taught about my heritage, and I embrace it. I know that it has to do with where I was brought up; I was raised in a predominately Mexican area of Houston. When we moved away from there, I came to reside in an area with more gringos than anything. Now my brother, who is 13 years younger than I am, knows just a small amount, if anything, about his heritage.

Dammit! I’m proud to be brown, and I think that the younger generations should be, too. Just so you know, I am not some cholito with tattoos and a lowrider; I’m just a regular guy in his 20s who happens to know where he comes from.

El Niño Confundido

Dear Confused Boy: It’s not just the second- and third-generation Mexicans who forget their history; as you noted in your own family story, even younger siblings within familias forsake their traditions, even if they live in the brownest sections of town.

But everyone in this country forgets, from the Know Nothings who are currently demonizing Central American and Mexican kids coming across the border with the same language used against their ancestors, to Mexican Americans who rail against new arrivals from southern Mexico despite being más darker than pressure-treated redwood to the neocons who want us to invade Iraq anew.

I wish I could end this answer on a funny note, but our collective historical amnesia is the biggest threat to the U.S.’s future since … a yak in heat!

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Dear Mexican: The tragedy currently playing out on the U.S. southern border has reminded me to once again ask: If the U.S. had sponsored and funded infrastructural, educational, social and economic development in Mexico and Central America from the 1950s through the 1980s in the way the more-prosperous countries of Europe helped the less-prosperous nations of their region to prepare them for membership in the future European Union, would not Mexico and Central America today be considerably more prosperous, healthy, sustainable, and better and safer places to live than they are, with less immigration to the U.S.? Could this be a topic deserving of book-length treatment?

Esperando sin Esperanza

Dear Waiting Without Hope: Book length? Try light-year length.

A massive Marshall Plan-style aid program has been the dream of neoliberals in el gabacho and Latin America since the days of James Monroe, and while it makes sense—better for the U.S. to invest in nation-building in, say, Quintana Roo than Iraq or Afghanistan, you know?—it’ll never happen. Primeramente, there would be an uproar across Latin America, as inhabitants will always reject overt acts of gabacho government charity in the (understandable) fear that Americans are trying to create a puppet state (see: Nicaragua under Somoza, Cuba under Batista, Mexico under everyone except Lázaro Cárdenas).

But even if Mexicans wanted that help, another group of people would be even more opposed: gabachos, who see any act of kindness toward Latinos as weak and sowing the seed for Reconquista.

Witness the current tragedy at the U.S.-Mexico border, where thousands of Central American and Mexican kids are trying to cross to flee ultra-violence at home. America’s reaction? Outrage that those chiquitos are looking for refuge, and outright assholery from residents in Escondido, Calif., where residents protested long and loud over a proposal to turn a vacant viejitos home into a temporary housing facility for refugee kids. Compare that with the 1960s, when the U.S. government and public openly welcomed tens of thousands of Cuban kids with Operation Peter Pan. The difference between then and now? In the American psyche, those kids were cute, light-skinned Cubans and useful Cold War pawns; on the other hand, the current niños are dirty Salvadorans, Guatemalans and Mexicans who deserve misery and death back home.

I continue to find that Mexican immigrants know they are not white, but refuse to identify or accept the fact that they come from indigenous people (even partly). Nowhere is this more apparent than in the way people fill out applications asking about race. Although we are free to identify as Hispanic/Latino (an ethnicity), we are also free to mark any/ALL races that apply.

Why is it that some Mexicans (like me) born on this side are more accepting of Amerindian ancestry, while Mexicans born over there wouldn’t dare? My best guess is education.

Xicana Xingona

Dear Badass Chicana: What Mexican in their right mind would want to be anything other than gabacho in this country? There’s been much made recently of stats that supposedly show more than a million Latinos checked off the gaba box in the 2010 Census, with academic yaktivists claiming the U.S. government duped dumb Mexicans into going white—but please. Being considered white gives you a muy grande advantage in this country—a secret known by everyone from negritos to Irish to chinitos to, increasingly, Mexicans.

Indian? In the average mexicano mind, they’re good for pyramids, funny movies and casinos where they can see Pepe Aguilar; otherwise, a vergüenza.

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Dear Mexican: I think I might be Mexican—but there are some people who might disagree. Being that you are the source of all knowledge mexicano, I thought I might ask you.

Here’s the deal: My ancestors left the U.S. in 1847 knowingly, and entered recognized territorio mexicano. The U.S. and Mexico were in the middle of a war. At the end of that war, the U.S. stole the land from Mexico. Pero eso no es mi culpa, pues. Sure, my parents never identified themselves as Mexicans, and most of my ancestors haven’t, either. But just because I am not mestizo doesn’t mean I am any less Mexican right? I mean, if you have to be mestizo, then there are doubts about how full-blooded Salma Hayek is—and everyone knows she is a mexicanaza. Not to mention all those güeros, gabachos and gringos who moved to Mexico in the last century, like Trotsky’s daughter. Aren’t they Mexican?

Cotorreo en casa con mijita, and I listen to El Tri, Los Tigres and Agustín Lara. I know the difference between jitomates and tomates. If you have to be born in Mexico, then, well, maybe you, The Mexican, aren’t Mexican either, right? Oh, and by the way, I do think we all can be americanos and estadounidenses (Estados Unindos Mexicanos no?). Oh, and we eat guajolote for Thanksgiving, not pavo, so I’m not a Spaniard. Maybe I need to be twice as good of a Mexican to be Mexican, though. Gotta go plan that Doce de Diciembre fiesta.

Semilla de Cacao (White Outside, Brown Inside)

Dear Cacao Seed Gabacha Mexicana: As I’ve written before, some of the más chingones Mexicans I know are pure-blooded gabachos; some of the biggest Mexican frauds I’ve encountered are fresas from Jalisco. I’ve discovered that we’re far more accepting of gabachos who try to pass themselves off as Mexican than pochos who might proclaim their love for the patria, yet don’t speak perfect Spanish—that’s why Morrissey, Charles Bronson, Benny Hill and even that pendejo Rick Bayless, for instance, are honorary Mexicans, while a Chicano four generations removed is derided as a phony.

And now you know why Mexico can’t get its pinche act together …

When I set decorative-type items with rectangular bases—say, square vases or square Limoges boxes—on tables or cabinets, I set them so the straight lines of the box or vase are parallel with the straight lines of the table or cabinet. Sort of like when I put a stamp on a postcard, I try to make the corner of the stamp match the corner of the postcard.

Now, I have had multiple Mexican maids over the years, and one curious thing to me is how most of them will take those vases and boxes and tissue dispensers, and turn them askew, so the box or vase edge is at an angle to the table edge. It’s like they take horizontal Washington Monuments and tilt them into Leaning Towers of Pisa. It’s happened enough that I know this is an aesthetic Mexican preference, and not an accident.

Is there a cultural reason for this Mexican “askew preference”? Or is it just an unexplainable quirk?

I Ask You About Askew

Dear Gabacho: It’s the same reason why we paint our houses garish colors, hang portraits of a bleeding Jesus in our living rooms, and put bull stickers on our truck: Askew is for those who know how to live. Straight lines are the domain of gabachos—and the only people pendejo enough to want to live like them are people who think Ted Cruz is this country’s brown Messiah.

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Published in Ask a Mexican