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Last updateTue, 18 Sep 2018 1pm

Dear Mexican: Why is it that when you invite a Mexican to a party, they feel compelled to bring along 30 of their relatives? I mean, bringing along two or three people would be no problem, but we don’t expect the number of people in our party to double by inviting an extra person!

Not Enough Food for Everyone

Dear Gabacho: Mexicans and parties—was there ever a coupling more spectacularly grotesque? We drink mucho; we eat mucho; we fight mucho; we love mucho; we mucho mucho.

Examining the Mexican propensity to party, Mexican Nobel laureate Octavio Paz wrote, “The explosive, dramatic, sometimes even suicidal manner in which we strip ourselves, surrender ourselves is evidence that something inhibits and suffocates us. Something impedes us from being. And since we cannot or dare not confront our own selves, we resort to the fiesta.”

But one thing we don’t do anymore is swarm parties with our extended family, Not Enough Food. Time was when Mexican immigrants would rent out labor halls to throw massive weddings, quinceañeras and baptisms, and invite the entire rancho to invite everyone—more than 1,000 people attended my baby brother’s christening reception in 1992, including norteño star Juan Zaizar! But the Mexicans of my generation prefer subdued celebrations—invite-only, no kids, with lame, sobbing testimonials by the best men and bridesmaids, and no banda sinaloense to deafen guests with its brass-band roar. For instance, my cousin is holding his wedding reception next November at the Yorba Linda Community Center with an emcee and a guest limit of 250. (Considering that’s about the size of the Miranda clan, there are going to be some angry primos next fall.)

Mexican parties are turning into prim-and-proper, gabacho-fied affairs, Not Enough Food—so we’re taking over American society how?

Dear Mexican: How come all the Mexicans who came here two or three generations ago look like “almost-white” people, while the ones coming now look like those little guys who live naked in the Amazon and kill things with blowguns?

No Indios Need Apply (NINA)

Dear Pocho: Chalk the phenomenon up to the natural unfolding that is the American immigrant experience.

Countries tend to dump their upwardly mobile, lighter-skinned natives on the United States before the shoddier, darker folks show up in the steerage of rusting freighters—remember that northern Italians arrived at Ellis Island before their swarthy Sicilian paisanes. That’s what’s happening with Mexico, NINA.

In his 1983 study East Los Angeles: History of a Barrio, historian Ricardo Romo cites a 1922 demographic survey that showed almost two-thirds of the Mexican community of Los Angeles at the time originated from just four states: Chihuahua, Durango, Jalisco and Zacatecas. These states are in north-central Mexico, where the conquistadors spread their seed farthest and most vigorously.

As the 20th century progressed, however, Mexico’s poorer, more-indigenous states in the south tumbled like dominoes as they sent their populations to el Norte, subsequently ratcheting up the brownie mixture in the Mexican-American pot. Michoacán and Puebla (next to Mexico City) didn’t start sending their residents en masse to the U.S. until around the mid-20th century; Guerrero and Oaxaca followed around the 1970s; our Central American colony, Guatemala, now follows.

The push continues even in Mexico—in a 2004 Orange County Register piece, staffer Valeria Godines described the tensions between the güeros of Arandas, Jalisco and Chiapan immigrants, showing Mexicans can be as race-obsessed as their gabacho oppressors.

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 want to start by saying I’m a Chicano. Now, I don’t understand why you allow Gustavo Arellano’s column in your publication.

He is a racist. First, he has a negative cartoon of a Mexican. Just look at it. Just because his last name is Arellano, that does not give him the right to display such filth and to speak for all people of Mexican or Latino decent.

Second, he calls white people gabachos. In Spanish, this is the white stuff that accumulates at the corner of your mouth. It’s the equivalent to calling a black person a “nigger,” a Mexican a “beaner” or a Jew a “kike.” It’s ugly, isn’t it?

I’ve brought this up to him, and his response to me is that it’s all in jest. How can you call a person a racist name in jest? Please take his racist ass off your magazine, and please look into the word gabacho.

Chicano Charlie

Dear Readers: This guy followed up with me by sending a private email that whined, “I don’t think you have the balls” to publish this letter.

Well, guess what, Chicano Charlie? Not only do I have the huevos; I also have the facts. I’ve never claimed to speak for all Mexicans—just the smart ones. A gabacho is a gabacho, not saliva—you’re thinking of baba, which you should be familiar with, since your words are babadas. If we want to call a gabacho a nasty slur, we call him a Donald Trump supporter. And who says you can’t call someone a racist name in jest?

Anything is possible in this columna—including not granting a pendejo his dream. So guess what, Chicano Charlie? This columna ain’t going nowhere—feliz navidad, gabacho!

Dear Mexican: I own a shop in a small shopping complex. I see lone Mexican guys (with no wife or girlfriend in sight) buying expensive pieces of jewelry. I’m sure they are going to trade the jewelry for quickie sex, possibly with our women. Isn’t this crude, low-class and tantamount to prostitution? At least us white Americans of European descent know how to wine, dine and make a girl feel special before asking for the hot biscuit.

Where’s the romance? Are Mexicans only interested in getting their rocks off?

An Honestly Outraged Local Entrepreneur

Dear Chinito: Bruh, you’re just jealous they ain’t shopping at whatever piece-of-caca storefront you operate. And you’re also mad these hombres are getting action—the last I heard, a woman is more apt to go out with a man who surprises her with a ring than some loser who refers to her privates as a “hot biscuit.”

But, yes: Mexican men are only interested in having sex with white women. Sucks for you!

GRACIAS, READERS!

For another awesome year of random questions, kind words, hilarious haters, and ever-present DESMADRE.

Reward your faithful Mexican with the regalo of watching the premiere of Bordertown, the Fox animated show on which I served as a consulting producer. It starts Sunday, Jan. 3, at 9:30 p.m., and will air each Sunday at the same time afterward. Watch it live; DVR it; stream it on Hulu—I don’t really care as long as you watch it within a week of its air date.

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

Gentle cabrones: Behold, it’s my annual Mexican Christmas guide, in which I recommend the best Mexi-themed libros for you to give to your loved ones this Navidad instead of yet another tamale to unwrap.

Buy them at your local bookstore, or order online—but do buy!

#FuckCancer: The True Story of How Robert the Bold Kicked Cancer’s Ass: By day, Robert Flores is a butcher; in his spare time, Flores wrote a hilarious, gritty memoir about how he survived fourth-stage colon cancer. It’s perfect for the cancer survivor in your family, or anyone who appreciates Chicano DESMADRE. Buy it at roberttheboldstore.etsy.com.

Dreamland: The True Tale of America’s Opiate Epidemic: In one of the most chilling books published in recent years, my mentor-friend Sam Quinones tells a two-part story about how gabacho America got hooked on heroin—on one hand, from pharmaceuticals; on the other mano, via Mexicans from Nayarit. It’s more gripping and infuriating than any episode of The Wire.

The Chili Cookbook: A History of the One-Pot Classic, With Cook-off Worthy Recipes From Three-Bean to Four-Alarm and Con Carne to Vegetarian: A Texas-sized book name worthy of another mentor-friend of mine: Robb Walsh, the greatest chronicler of Tex-Mex cuisine ever. This is a great cookbook that reminds the Baylessistas that chili is the original regional Mexican dish in el Norte.

Californio Lancers: The 1st Battalion of Native Cavalry in the Far West, 1863–1866: The next time some Trump supporter says Mexicans don’t fight for this country, point them to this groundbreaking work. It’s a fascinating tale of Californios—the Mexicans conquered by the Estados Unidos during the Mexican-American War—serving the Union instead of the Confederates, in contrast to their pendejo Tejano cousins.

Corrido! The Living Ballad of Mexico’s Western Coast: The University of New Mexico Press returns with another stunning songbook, this one focusing on the musical traditions of Mexico’s Costa Chica and Costa Grande region. Dump your son jarocho CD already, and refry THIS.

Shameful Victory: The Los Angeles Dodgers, the Red Scare, and the Hidden History of Chavez Ravine: Everyone has a vague idea of how Los Angeles leaders kicked out a bunch of Mexicans to build Dodger Stadium. But this University of Arizona Press book tells the tale in all of its shameful details. A must for sports fans and yaktivists alike.

The Chicano Generation: Testimonios of the Movement: Mario T. Garcia is the most influential Chicano Studies scholar you’ve never heard of, and remains that rare academic who can actually write. For his latest University of California book, he provides in-depth conversations with unsung Los Angeles activists. Essential reading.

Images of the Mexican American in Fiction and Film: Your oldie-but-goodie pick for the year. The late Arthur G. Pettit documented how Americans have ruthlessly stereotyped Mexis since the 1830s with tropes that still exist today (e.g. the spicy señorita, the clown). The fact that depictions of Mexis in Hollywood and the media have only gotten worse since this libro’s printing in 1980 shows what an unsung masterpiece it is.

Los Lobos: Dream in Blue: Leave it to the University of Texas Press—perhaps the best non-UC academic press in the country—to publish the first book on the Chicano rock gods. Now, if only I could get on their regular mailing list … HA!

¡Ask a Mexican!; Orange County: A Personal History; and Taco USA: How Mexican Food Conquered America: Because DUH!

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: Mexicans always reference the Reconquista. However, I think you should be invading Spain instead.

The Spanish did to the Native Americans in Mexico what the whites did to the Native Americans in America. In fact, we treated the Native Americans better: We gave them reservations; they pay no taxes; they have the right to gambling, etc. We also treated the Mexicans a lot better than the Spanish. The Spanish slaughtered the Native Americans in Mexico, and I believe their indigenous cultures have been totally destroyed. Let’s not forget the Spaniards’ great gift of syphilis.

If “Mexicans,” Spanish illegal immigrants, are going to go back 160 years to hold a grudge against Americans, why don’t they hate Spain, too?

Heep Big Jerk

Dear Gabacho: I had to give the respuesta to my former college profe, Paul Apodaca, a professor of sociology and American studies at Chapman University and the scholar who turned me on to one of my all-time favorite books: Richard Drinnon’s Facing West: The Metaphysics of Indian-Hating and Empire-Building, which perfectly explains gabacho foreign policy.

“American Indians pay federal and sales tax like other U.S. citizens but do not pay state income tax while living on their federally recognized reservations,” Dr. Apodaca says. “The United States did not give land to Indians any more than England gave freedom to the U.S.; both governments recognized the God-given rights of men.

“Millions of Indians in Mexico speak their own languages, cultivate their indigenous foods, practice their folk arts, continue their histories, have participated in two revolutions and retain the entire country of Mexico as members of a nation they formed. Indians have traveled across North America for thousands of years searching for resources for their families. Time changes every culture, and Mexico reflects those changes, but the people are continuing, and that is something wonderful to celebrate, not begrudge.”

Pressed for something funnier, Dr. Apodaca concluded, “The fellow has conclusions but no accurate premises—simply opinion. His use of the word ‘grudge’ is Freudian, as I make clear in the last line. Some folks don’t see the forest for the trees or the Indian for the Mexican.” BOOM!

Dear Mexican: Do Mexicans resent meaningless, wannabe Spanglish advertising slogans like Taco Bell’s “Live Más”? This gabacho finds it rather offensive. Sniff. Shouldn’t such odious assaults on language(s) be outlawed?

Shepherd of Shakespeare

Dear Gabacho: This Mexican resents Taco Bell’s meaningless, wannabe Mexican dish called the Doritos Loco taco—leave it to a company founded by a guy who ripped off a Mexican family’s recipe to earn his billions (true story—read my Taco USA: How Mexican Food Conquered America) to fuck up what could’ve been an amazing dish. Hard-shell tacos are Mexican; Doritos were created by Mexicans at Disneyland (again: in my book). Yet the Doritos Locos taco is too salty and has little Doritos flavor—and then there’s the “beef.” Guacatelas!

As for your complaint: Some Mexicans do despise Spanglish, but those Mexicans need to get laid more often. Anecdotally, Mexicans like Spanglish advertising if it’s clever, and “Live Más” was OK enough to not spur a yaktivist revolt.

Scientifically, don’t believe the hype: Most studies done on whether young Mexican Americans prefer advertising in English, Spanish or Spanglish is laughably biased. Take “The Bilingual Brain: Maximizing Impact with English- and Spanish-Speaking Millennials," a 2014 study involving Nielsen and Univision that unsurprisingly found that advertising in Spanish “offers a unique advantage for brands striving to connect with bilingual Hispanic millennials”—the most foregone conclusion since Mexico underachieved in the last FIFA World Cup.

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: Tell us about the origin of the grito—no, not the one done in September to celebrate independence, but the one belted out during passionate rancheras like Chente’s “Volver, Volver.” Where did they start? What’s their purpose? A good grito is a way to get a lot of emotion off your chest, but I’ve always wondered: ¿Esto quién se lo inventó?

El Gallo Gritón

Dear Mexican: I think I’ve identified the Mexican “rallying cry,” if you will, but I need your confirmation: Why is it that groups of Mexican men seem to often yell out this high pitched “Aye aye aye!” business as some sort of battle cry or mating call? My brother was an electrician and worked on a lot of construction sites with Mexican men, and he also has picked up this “Aye aye aye!” Furthermore, a friend of mine hears this early in the morning outside her condo while they are working on her remodel. Could it be a wakeup call, perchance?

Whitey Wishing for My Own Call

Dear Pocho and Gabacho: Every male culture needs a battle cry, and our grito has been a Mexican’s best aural artillery for hundreds of years. But unlike the cowboy “Yee-haw!” or Indian “Hoka Hey!” ours can slow down to express sorrow (The “Ay yai yai yai” chorus of “Cielito Lindo”), speed up to show happiness (every drunk primo), extend for a minute to exude machismo, or go off in staccato bursts of approval.

Its origin? DEEZ NUTZ. Seriously: The only academic study I tracked down on the subject is “El Grito Mexicano in Texas-Mexican Culture,” an unpublished paper written by esteemed Notre Dame professor Jose E. Limón that the good profe currently can’t locate. While I’m sure it’s great, its findings won’t matter: Whether you want to trace it back to the Mexica or the Moors, the grito is an expression of DEEZ NUTZ—that is to say, huevos. Can women do it, too? Of course—but only DEEZ NUTZ could think of a shout so, well, ballsy.

Dear Mexican: I’m an Asian—a chino, to be more exact. I love Mexican culture, and I adore Mexican women, be they today’s moms or the Jesusitas of the Revolution.

To make myself closer to the Mexican community, I’ve tried everything. I visited Mexico, learned some Mexican Spanish, bought two straw sombreros, made two to three Mexican amigas who are either married or too young, danced baile folklorico in front of a large audience, and even sang “México Lindo y Querido” at Chinese-restaurant karaoke to my Chinese colleagues. Yet, despite all my efforts, the most I’ve got from Mexican mujeres is a nice smile and nada más.

Mexican mujeres simply puzzle me. I don’t know what they want in a man, and I don’t know how I can get them interested in a chino of cinquentaytres. I guess maybe my grays shut them down. Or they prefer hombres of their own raza?

What do you suggest? The only thing I can think of that I have not done is bring a mariachi to the window of a mujer of my corazón. Should I do that? Will I be arrested by police if I do that? Or will some jealous Mexican men come to chase me off with pistols?

Ching-Chong Charlie

Dear Chinito: You’re doing it all wrong: Mujeres don’t care about how Mexican a non-Mexican guy is when they come a’courtin’; they care about romance. That said, you’re on the right path with a serenata. Any woman who looks down on an hombre doing that has a heart colder than Trump’s—but is still hella smarter.

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

We Americans have been spoiled by low costs for so long that we have started acting as if low costs were our birthright, which explains why our government leaders have never been in any real hurry to do anything significant about our southern borders. Now, many spoiled, control-freak Americans are throwing temper tantrums over this issue, without thinking ahead. Careful; sometimes you WILL get what you ask for, only to end up wishing you’d just kept your greedy, selfish little mouth shut.

Surely someone has done a legitimate impact study of the volume and variety of the lowered costs we Americans enjoy on a daily basis due to our government’s playing the “indulgent uncle” on the issue of illegals from Mexico.

Conservative, but Not Crazy

Dear Gabacho: Oh, there are as many studies about the impact of undocumented folks on the economy as there are Mexicans who say their grandpa rode with Pancho Villa. Of course, almost all of those reports are biased bullshit, whether from the left (anything produced by Latino congressmen) or the right. (I’m looking at you, o hateful Federation for American Immigration Reform—was it someone from your crew or another of your Know Nothing ilk who, after a Vietnamese-American woman was tragically killed by a Mexican-American woman, wanted to know if the perp was an “illegal alien savage”?)

The only group hewing to the middle ground, alas, is the feds: They say that if we don’t legalize undocumented folks, we’ll lose $80 billion in unrealized gains by 2023; deficits will increase by $50 billion; and Social Security won’t get the $50 billion illegals could contribute if only they were legal. Of course, a Communist Kenyan runs the White House, so that report is also invalid.

So the truthful answer? What your humble Mexican says: #fuckthehaters.

Why are Mexicans so afraid of earthquakes? (George Lopez’s television show even based an episode around this topic.) Don’t you people know that here in the USA, we have something called “building standards” (unlike the adobe and Play-Doh used in Mexico for construction)? After the last big Northridge quake, you panochas were so afraid of being indoors that you made the local parks look like a Mexican-Woodstock!

Panocha Lover in Huntington Beach

Dear Gabacho: Pendejo, can we start with you using panocha (“pussy,” for those who don’t habla) as a slur? You had a great question that I won’t answer because of your stupidity. Anyone who uses the word as a synonym for cowardice obviously can’t get any. You want to call a Mexican a coward? Call him “Enrique Peña Nieto” or “Donald Trump”—or, better yet, “Panocho Lover in Huntington Beach.”

BORDERTOWN PREMIERE DATE!

Gentle cabrones: Am excited to announce that Bordertown—the animated FOX show that’s like a Mexican second-cousin marriage of Family Guy and Bob’s Burgers and on which I served as consulting producer—will have its debut Jan. 3 at 9:30 p.m.! Make sure to watch live, DVR it—and please DO NOT pirate the show … until Season 4, at least. Tune in, and join the #televisionreconquista!

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 live in East Harlem, which over the years has started to look much less boricua/plátano and much more mexicano—tamales have replaced pastels; you hear “güey” more than “mi pana”; and you can barely make out those smooth salsa bongos under the booming oompah of the ranchera music.

So, my question: I’ve been to Los Angeles and Texas; the mexicanos and Chicanos around those parts are some bad hombres. Around here, though, I notice that our local mexicanos are as quiet and polite as, say, Indian computer scientists. They say “please” and “thank you”; they never get loud on the train; and they’re always on their way to work or coming home from work.

What gives? Why aren’t New York Chicanos as tough as their West Coast primos? And why are they making the (ahem) native Nuyoricans and Dominican-yols look bad?

Also, a bonus question (because I know you like your queries as packed with questions as Volkswagens packed with gardeners): Who is más badass: a carnal with his khakis pulled up high, or a tíguere dominicano with his Jheri curl and plucked eyebrows?

En la Gran Manzana

Dear In the Big Apple Gabacho: I’ve written often in this columna about New York City’s unique Mexican makeup—read my book, and then read legendary food critic Robert Sietsema’s New York in a Dozen Dishes, which tells in better detail the history I’m about to recap here. The quick summary, of course, is that the vast majority of mexicanos in NYC come from the states of Hidalgo and especially Puebla, estados de Mexico historically associated with nice, industrious raza. Even the second- and third-generation kids tend to be more polite than, say, the spawn of folks from Jalisco and Nuevo León, who dominate the Mexican culture of California and Texas, respectively, and are states renowned for machismo. The poblanos moving to New York put the rest of us Mexicans to shame with their upstanding character, their pioneering ways (let’s see you try to hold on to your Mexican culture far away from the Southwest), and their gargantuan cemitas poblanas (reference Sietsema).

Who’s more badass than a Chicano or a Dominican wannabe? A poblano—or, better yet, a poblana.

Dear Mexican: In Southern California, a lot of the Mexican folks who gabachos like me bump into are from the working class. They are not intellectuals or top-notch professionals. Some of my friends think no such Mexicans exist! They don’t realize that if our only encounters with Mexican immigrants are with the ubiquitous busboys, gardeners, roofers, housekeepers, janitors and day-laborers, we are only seeing a certain slice of the whole pie. I tell them there are tons of highly educated and really smart Mexicans—yet I don’t know where to tell them to find such Mexicans.

Not that there’s anything wrong with the fine working people who help us out with so many aspects of our lives, but I’d like my friends to see the rest of the pie so they can get a more balanced view of the range of Mexicans who exist. Any suggestions for how gabachos can get exposed to Mexicans from higher socio-economic strata?

Gazpacho-Loving Gabacho

Dear Gabacho: Start with my alma mater and the UCLA Latino Alumni Association, then branch out to our dumber primos y primas over at the University of Southern California. Follow that by reading USC professor (and NOT dumb) Jody Agius Vallejo’s excellent From Barrio to Burbs: The Making of the Mexican-American Middle Class. End with the Latino suburbs of Whittie and Downey. Blast the Morrissey; enjoy a bottle of Baja California craft beer (try Mamut); and enjoy!

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 an old fart with lily-white genes. I lived in the OC, L.A. and the Bay Area for 20 years, yet I had scarcely any interaction with the Latino population. It wasn’t because I was anti-Mexican; I was just apprehensive. I felt like I was the stranger, the one who wouldn’t fit. It didn’t help that I’d hear crap like, “Don’t go to the barrio, man! You might end up dead!”

Strangely, it took some business trips to Monterrey and Oaxaca to change my perspective. These are people doing their best to get by, just like everyone else—same concerns and desires. The differences between us were mostly language, world view and style. Once I got over that, I discovered I was rather comfortable there. In some ways, I fit better there than in my native culture.

Now I’m in the South, and I’m missing that large Mexican culture. I was glad when the housing boom lured Latinos here. If nothing else, I’ve been able to get much-better Mexican food (though it’s still a bit Americanized). It’s a joy to be handed Spanish-only menus.

As I approach retirement, I’ve developed a yearning to relocate to Mexico, but not to the resort areas or expat enclaves: I want to go as native as my limited Spanish will let me. At least I think I do. I’ll give it a few months of a test run, trying a few areas, before making the big jump. Do you have any advice on the matter?

Looking for a Peso Parachute

Dear Gabacho: So you’re telling me you didn’t care for Mexicans until you actually hung out with them? And now you’d rather hang out with us than your own kind? Can you tell that to the GOP presidential field?

Since you’re in the South, I’d stay there; the region has experienced the largest Mexican increase, percentage-wise, of any region in the U.S. Specifically, go to Louisville, and tell the U of L’s pendejo president that the only gabacho who ever wore a sombrero well was Homer Simpson—and that’s because his hat was made of NACHOS.

Dear Mexican: I am a fairly attractive middle-age black woman. Like many women who share my demographics, it is challenging for me to find interesting, attractive men—there is a shortage! Instead, I find myself approached by some of the least-appealing males on Earth: sombrero-wearing, pot-bellied, hygienically challenged, straggly mustached, snaggle-toothed, intoxicated, red-eyed, middle-age Mexicans.

In the past few weeks, I’ve been approached by not one, not two, but three stanky-drunk cholos while I was waiting at the bus stop or taking a walk. They approach me, speaking rapid, drunken Spanish. I can’t catch everything they’re saying, but I get the general idea! I answer in English, which they pretend not to understand. My friends laugh at me, and say I must be putting out some vibe of which I am unaware: some vibe that attracts drunk Mexicans with missing—or even worse—gold teeth. (They look a lot like the caricature for this column, only older and MUCH dirtier.)

Why are these guys coming on to me? Why are they drunk in the middle of the day? There are frequently young and attractive chicas in the same vicinity—why do they come staggering up to ME, and how can I make them stop?

Times Are Hard, but Not That Hard

Dear Negrita: What’s that saying—pendeja is as pendeja does? That’s all you, chula. Besides, you forget that a Mexican male will go after any woman, no matter how disgusting—so congrats!

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: Isn’t the acceptance of illegal immigration by Latino politicians insulting to generations of Mexican Americans who paid taxes, built communities and worked hard for their families and their country (military service, public service, etc.)?

Legal Smiegel

Dear Gabacho: Nope, mainly because people sin papeles also pay taxes, build communities and serve. (Google “Jose Angel Garibay OC Weekly.”) But nice try in attempting to pull a Donald Trump by trying to divide and conquer between undocumented Mexicans and “legal” Mexican-Americans. Sure, you’ll always have the stray vendidos insisting what you just babbled—but the stats don’t back up your premise.

A 2014 Pew Research Center survey showed that while the immigration views of native-born, English-dominant Latinos aren’t as Aztlanista as, say, a Mechista, they’re pretty close. On the question of whether they prefer a pathway to citizenship, better border security and enforcement, or a combination of both, 48 percent of U.S.-born Latinos favored the former, while 34 percent liked the latter. That’s probably because 23 percent of them personally knew someone who had been deported in the past year.

Unlike gabachos, whose ancestors got onto Ellis Island then promptly pulled the plank so that the Greeks couldn’t come over, Mexicans don’t forget our roots—and we ain’t hypocrites, save for Eva Longoria.

I want to review a hole-in-the-wall spot that apparently makes the best tacos. Yelp reviewers keep commenting on how run-down the space is, but somehow equate “doesn’t look like much” with the authentic Mexican food experience.

Is this all just pendejadas (my gut says “Hell yes!”), or is there something to it?

Detroit Dama

Dear Pocha: First off, why are you bothering with Yelp when it comes to Mexican food? Yelp is many things, but a guide to great comida mexicana, it ain’t. This is the site, for instance, where a gabacha once left a one-star review to a Tierra Caliente-style spot in SanTana that offered amazing huchepos (sweet corn tamales), aporreado (awesome Michoacán breakfast dish) and spectacular pozole verde. The restaurant’s sin, according to the pendeja? It didn’t offer burritos—never mind that burritos are as much a part of michoacano cuisine as a Rick Bayless airport torta.

It’s the same prejudice that you describe, although yours is of a different sentido—that “true” Mexican food can’t possibly be high-class, and can only be properly prepared by women named María who slave over a comal grinding out the nixtamal themselves with their pigtails. That’s an extension of the classic American expectation that Mexicans are perpetually in poverty, and it’s bullshit. From Enrique Olvera in Mexico City to Javier Plascencia in Tijuana to Carlos Salgado of Taco Maria in Costa Mesa (named as one of Food and Wine’s 10 Best New Chefs for 2015), Mexican cooks are showing the world that alta cocina is as legit as two-tacos-for-a-buck-with-free-pineapple-juice specials.

What’s the true litmus test of a great Mexican restaurant? Great food—oh, and a calendar from the local tortillería or grocery store with an illustration of an Aztec maiden, of course.

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Dear Mexican: What’s up with the bull stickers on truck doors? Is this a secret business, something earned at some unmentionable contest south of the border, or is it a brotherhood of sorts? I thought about taking Spanish lessons so I could politely ask one of these guys.

Native Californian Whitey

Dear Gabacho: The bull sticker is no cloak-and-dagger marker. Toros on trucks are just cultural archetypes, a manifestation of Jung’s theory that recurring characters, festivals and monuments in society represent a shared memory from its collective unconscious. Americans decorate their lives with such motifs: lawns (reminder of—take your pick—the savannas of our African roots, English manors or the open prairie from the frontier days), Thanksgiving (ceremony honoring our Puritan forefathers) and the continued popularity of Mickey Mouse (signifies our fascination with the trickster). Likewise, Mexicans consider the bull a reminder of the rancho they left behind, of the life that will never return.

Besides, as cultural archetypes go, a bull sticker is one of the best. Consider the attributes of the animal on display: Ferocity. Virility. Protection. Horns. It’s everything a culture wishes its members could be—and so much better than a fruity shamrock decal on your Scion, no?

I’ve often wondered how Mexicans would react if 25 million piss-poor Chinamen snuck into Mexico and took up residence. Would they be greeted with open arms? Or would they be greeted by armed men? I’d bet a sack of pesos they wouldn’t be given free health care, free schooling and Mexican driver’s licenses, either.

Bicoastal Curious

Dear Gabacha: Damn straight we’d kick those chinos down to Guatemala. In fact, Mexican-on-Chinese violence is one of Mexico’s darkest legacies, on par with the Conquest and the donkey show.

Mexican government officials used the pandemonium of the Mexican Revolution to discriminate against, evict and sometimes even massacre entire Chinese communities in a strategy known as el movimiento anti-chino. “Leaders of the anti-Chinese movement promulgated a wide array of invidious legislation, including discriminatory labor laws and public health circulars, anti-miscegenation laws and residential segregation laws,” writes UCLA’s Robert Chao Romero, a Yorba Linda-based attorney and the country’s leading authority on the Chinese in Mexico.

The Mexican Anti-Chinese movement was understandable—Chinese immigrants worked hard, built successful businesses, established themselves in civic life and made the natives in their adopted country look like the lazy pendejos they were.

So what I’m trying to say, Bi-Coastal Curious, is that I get why you and so many gabachos hate Mexicans.

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Published in Ask a Mexican