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Last updateTue, 18 Sep 2018 1pm

Dear Mexican: Is pinche considered a “bad” word among Mexican Americans? Or is it like güey, where it’s generally all right?

Mandilón in Manhattan

Dear Pussy-Whipped Pocho: Don’t forget that among Mexican Americans, #fucktrump is considered appropriate for children 5 and over. But among Mexican Mexicans, pinche (which technically means a short-order cook) is still mostly a synonym for “fucking” in its adverbial sense; I, for instance, would never use it in front of my mami, lest I get the chancla. But, like here in el Norte, Mexican culture keeps coarsening, making pinche more acceptable than ever before.

One of the first news stories the Mexican ever wrote was a 2001 piece about how a Mexican yaktivist took out a radio ad calling former California Gov. Gray Davis a pinche güerito—a “fucking little white man.” Tellingly, the AM station bleeped out pinche so it sounded like pin-bleep. Fast-forward to today, and that radio station—now on the FM dial—regularly plays the track “Pinche Borracho” (“Fucking Drunk”) by female duo Dueto Las Azucenas (a swap-meet version of Las Jilguerillas) without bleeping out pinche. What a pinche vergüenza.

Dear Mexican: Why is it that every time I pull up next to a Mexican in traffic, they're bumping one of two things: either some polka-sounding stuff, or Tupac? I like Tupac, but it seems like Mexicans are single-handedly keeping his music alive. Why do Mexicans love Pac so much?

Confused by Colored Folk

Dear Gabacho: Tupac Shakur forever endeared himself to Mexicans thanks to his 1996 jam “To Live and Die in LA.” In this ode to the City of Angels, he sang, “Cause would it be L.A. without Mexicans? / Black love, brown pride and the sets again / Pete Wilson trying to see us all broke.” Wait, that wasn’t Pac; that was Makaveli, since Tupac is ALIVE.

Besides, game recognize juego, and Mexicans see Tupac as the moreno version of Chalino Sanchez, the legendary narcocorrido singer who was also assassinated before his time, and whose ballads made gangsta rap seem as imposing as the Mills Brothers.

Dear Mexican: History has shown that given time, all immigrants to a new country eventually assume the new language. That being said, it is also important for Americans to help the immigrants cross the language barrier.

Because of this, I do not understand why there are not more Spanish-language programs on television, not just for the Spanish-speaker, but for everyone. Spanish Sesame Street would be great. I have studied Spanish and Japanese in school, and it has helped me understand my surroundings better. What are Americans afraid of? We flock to Mexican restaurants. It would also be nice to see other foreign-language programs on the television from time to time.

Bring Back Esteban Colberto

Dear Gabacho: That’s a problem exacerbated by Hollywood, which would rather green-light shows about gangs and narcos than anything that remotely deals with the modern-day Mexican-American experience.

And by the way, there is a Mexican version of Sesame Street (well, besides the actual Spanish-language version of the show, called Plaza Sésamo); it’s called Dora the Explorer. Donald Trump has already announced she’s the first Mexican to get deported, since Dora taught millennials that Mexicans are actual humans and not baby-making cockroaches—a first on network television.

Ask the Mexican at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.; be his fan on Facebook; follow him on Twitter @gustavoarellano; or follow him on Instagram @gustavo_arellano!

Published in Ask a Mexican

Dear Mexican: Why do SO many chamacos of this generation. who are Mexican, refuse to learn Spanish and/or speak it? What’s the big deal? Are they THAT embarrassed of their native tongue because they’ve been so Americanized, or what? It’s been bugging me for years!

I’m Mexican-born and raised in San Diego, and grew up quite differently from most Mexican kids, I guess, but I never backed down to speak, read, write and learn Spanish. Osea, que conejos con está generación?!

Cachanillo, ¿Y Que?

Dear Pocho: Sure, the Pew Hispanic Center and other survey-happy think tanks publish study after study showing how quickly children of Mexican immigrants learn English, and how fast they begin to favor that idioma instead of habla. But the fact remains that it’s more acceptable than ever for people to speak Spanish, especially given that we’re in the end stage of Reconquista. And still, Mexico kids end up becoming English-dominant, as they always have in post-World War I America.

Why? Because despite what Univisión wants you to believe, English is how you win in los Estados Unidos—and win, we must. Besides, what’s wrong if Mexican kids lose the ability to speak Spanish? Sure, being bilingual is great, but a lack of Spanish doesn’t somehow make you less Mexican—just ask Cuauhtémoc.

Dear Mexican: When I was a small child of a poor farm family in Oklahoma, we started to have visits from an extended family of about a dozen persons who were following the harvest work from the border northward. They would stop again on their way south when harvest was over. Our farm was on a river, and our cabin had lots of shade and space for them to set up their tent and make the campfire. My mother always welcomed them, and we nine children were delighted to find these friendly brown children to play with. Mama would give them corn, tomatoes and sweet potatoes from our garden. They, in turn, would show my mother how to make flat bread on the cooking fire, and how to use very hot peppers in cooking.

I regret that the way to cook that flat bread was not passed on to me. I wish someone could tell me how to cook that bread. It would remind me of the great joy and delight we all felt when we saw them coming down our road from the high Dust Bowl plains. “The Mexicans are coming! The Mexicans are coming!” we shouted, and it was a great moment in our lives twice a year for three or four years in the 1930s.

Most of the Mexicans I encounter now are doing yard work or picking fruit here in Florida. Each time I see a brown face, I greet them with a smile and think of those wonderful people who I have always considered amigos. If anyone can give me a recipe for making the flat bread like those amigos made it, I would be most grateful.

Okie From Kissimmee

Dear Gabacho: Flat bread? You mean a tortilla, right?

Your letter is sweet, so I’ll spare you any further ridicule other than to note, as I always do when talking about Oklahoma, that the state should unconditionally support undocumented immigrants since it was founded by those dirty illegals called Sooners.

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: Cabrón, the Mexican flag: Tell your pals that every time they wave it, that’s 5,000 more votes for Trump.

#fucktrump

Dear Gabacho: Waving the Mexican flag isn’t just a shout-out to our ethnic heritage; it’s a blatant reminder of the failings of this country toward comprehensive immigration reform. Because if there’s anyone to blame for the Mexican-flag flap, it’s conservatives.

As I’ve been saying for more than a decade in this pinche columna, Mexicans assimilate into America, yet many Americans don’t want to believe it—and want to do anything possible to stop it. Talk to those kids waving the bandera, and their culture is wholly American, from their language to steez to music to upbringing—their everything. But when you have morons calling their parents and elder relatives rapists and murderers, and call young Mexican Americans unworthy of the U.S. and want 11 million undocumented folks deported, people wrapping themselves in the Mexican flag is a righteous chinga tu madre to the white supremacy that wants them gone (and, yes, Virginia: Trump-supporting minorities can subscribe to white supremacy, too).

Waving the Mexican flag during rallies isn’t sedition; it’s a bold affirmation that aquí estamos, y no nos vamos—this generation’s “We Shall Not Be Moved,” except it rhymes. And it’s a reminder that Mexicans simultaneously fully conform to and buck American immigration trends. Notice how the red-white-and-green only pops up during times of protests or celebration, when we’re expected to “act” Mexican; during the rest of the year, the Mexican flag is mostly out of sight and out of mind as Mexicans seamlessly return to the trappings of American life until the next protest.

Besides, what else are these young people supposed to wave at this point? They could wear the Stars and Stripes, or even the Gadsden (“Don’t Tread on Me”) flag, and it wouldn’t change the hearts and minds of the true haters—so the might as well unfurl the Aztec eagle to antagonize the haters more, you know?

Waving the Mexican flag doesn’t ruin la causa or push more people into the Trump camp—far from it. For decades, there has been a push-and-pull between the accommodationist segment of the Latino community and the radicals. The former’s mantra—slow and steady and Democrat—rarely gets anything accomplished beyond getting centrists elected and former Mechistas in cabinet positions. The best example of this happened during last decade’s DREAMer years, when undocumented college students were asked to basically serve as photo props for so-called Latino leaders. Those DREAMers eventually started launching direct actions against vendidas like SanTana Congresswoman Loretta Sanchez, who infamously didn’t put her name on a congressional bill supporting the DREAM Act until two undocumented activists lost their lives. It’s radical pushes like that, and brandishing the flag of a foreign nation, that’s the needed fuel for an activist fire in the face of conservative lunatics and liberal wusses. Scaring away the middle? Anyone so easily swayed by the choice of a piece of cloth that they’ll wish a Trump on this country ain’t an ally you want.

But that’s the best part about waving the Mexican flag at rallies: We can, because—to paraphrase Mexico’s favorite philosopher, Morrissey—we’ve got Mexican blood and an American heart. We ain’t no fifth column, folks: We’re the pinche foundation that represents the last, best hope against the Trump monster. And we’re ready to wave our freak—and Mexican, and American, and Bob Marley—flags at the ballot box and beyond.

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: Our grandparents came from Mexico. Nearly all of our parents’ generation spoke Spanish. However, in my generation, pretty much none of us do. One cousin’s daughter does because the cousin married a fluently bilingual spouse.

Most white people I know long ago lost both awareness of what their actual ethnic roots are, and the original language with which their people came to America, if it wasn’t English. Heck, British English can be pretty confusing. What my cousins, most of our kids and I know of Spanish is what we learn in Spanish classes.

It’s clear we lost our language treasure. Fortunately, we love being Chicanos. What do you know of this loss on a local or national scale?

Spangless Chicano

Dear Pocho: The 2011 National Survey of Latinos by the Pew Research Center reported that while 91 percent of first-generation Latinos said they spoke Spanish “very well/pretty well,” and 82 percent of the segunda generation did, only 47 percent of third-generation Latinos claimed the same—far higher than virtually all other immigrant groups, but still nearly half the numbers of the first generation.

Far more telling is the language of preference for each generation while consuming culture: When it came to listening to music, the percentage rates of Latinos who listen to music exclusively in Spanish, English and Spanish, or exclusively in English, changed dramatically toward preferring English between the first (49, 31, 18), second (18, 26, 54) and third (10, 16, 74) generations, respectively; the same happened with language preferences in watching television for the first (40, 34, 25), second (12, 17, 69) and third (5, 11, 83) generations.

Moral of the story? As I’ve been saying for a decade, all Mexicans irrecoverably become Americans in el gabacho—only the stats change, always toward inglés. So much for a real Reconquista.

I am constantly in disbelief that so many undocumented immigrants—primarily Mexicans—risk life and limb to enter the United States to, as they’ll say, “provide a better life for their children.” Aren’t they aware U.S. kids now are fatter, sicker and dumber compared to most of the rest of the world?

Since U.S. kids are presently “mandated” to get risky, experimental vaccines by age 18, we now have epidemics of autism, asthma, learning disorders, diabetes, childhood cancers, ADHD, etc. We have the most vaccinated children in the world, with many more vaccines on the way—fodder for Big Pharma.

Conversely, most racists think illegals are “dirty” and bring diseases into this country, even though it has been proven immigrant children are very healthy until they’ve assimilated into the U.S. Your thoughts?

Mother Warrior

Dear Gabacho: While you’re right about niños in the United States being a fat, lazy lot, and también about Mexican kiddies becoming the same as they assimilate, your tirade against vaccinations is puras mamadas.

There was recently a measles outbreak in Orange County, one of the largest to have happened in the U.S. in years. While patient-privacy laws prohibit us from knowing the identity of the victims, stats came out showing vaccination rates in la naranja. The least-vaccinated pendejos? Areas where rich, stupid gabachos were in the majority. Areas with the most-vaccinated people? Mexican-heavy cities.

Mexicans, unlike gabachos, don’t have the luxury of believing far-fetched conspiracy theories put out by celebrity chichis who put our children at risk—we’ve got curanderos for that.

Ask the Mexican at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.; be his fan on Facebook; follow him on Twitter @gustavoarellano; or follow him on Instagram @gustavo_arellano!

Published in Ask a Mexican

Dear Mexican: Why do Mexicans applaud first-generation Mexicans who assimilate completely, but criticize (and apply the term vendidos) to first-generation Mexican Americans for doing it? (And why is it that there is no real name for U.S. citizens in English, forcing us to use the name of the continent? Someone should translate estadounidenses.)

Take my case, for example. Both of my parents are Basques—don’t get them wrong, they are grateful; they really love Mexico and will proudly tell you they are 100 percent Mexican, because Mexico adopted them, but they also love their original culture and speak Euskera fluently. (Well, one speaks Euskara, the other Euskera; one is from Donostia, the other from Bilbao, so they spell a few words differently.) They play Mus almost every day, prepare typical Basque dishes (txipirones, txangurros, pil-pin and the infamous kalimotxo, which is a drink that is obtained by mixing red wine and cola, almost always in a 1:1 ratio), and partake in all sorts of Basque cultural activities.

I feel proud of that heritage and speak some Euskera (badly, but I can communicate), but I don’t feel Basque, and don’t feel the need to participate in any kind of Basque cultural activity. (I love to play Mus, not because it’s Basque, but because it’s a great game.) I feel Mexican—hence, the only cultural activities I participate in are Mexican activities. (Whatever that means; Mexico has but a few real national cultural activities. The different regions have different cultural activities, making the country very interesting and diverse.) Most Mexicans applaud my behavior, and obviously applaud any similar behavior of other sons and daughters of immigrants. The funny part is that they despise the same behavior when sons and daughters of Mexican immigrants do it in the U.S., calling then by any number of names. (I would say most of them can’t be published, but I can see that you don’t have any trouble publishing “risky” words in Spanish.) In fact, many Mexicans feel betrayed by them. Why is it that the same exact behavior is applauded and vilified?

By the way: My wife says that the irony of all is that I will probably have a son or a daughter who, when talking about his father and mother, will explain how he or she is very proud of his/her heritage of his/her Mexican parents, but he/she doesn’t feel Mexican and can’t understand why his/her father feels it is so important to speak fluent Spanish. I know my father will look me directly in my eyes and exclaim poetic justice.

The “Mus”-Loving Mexican With Basque Parents Who, According to His Wife, Will Probably Have an American Kid With Bad Spanish Abilities

Dear Pocho: The only reason I let you run on and on here is because of your Basque heritage, which I’ve always respected. And your question is so pinche confusing, it might as well be in Euskara, one of the few languages in the world with no relatives.

But this is what you’re saying: Mexicans in Mexico love it when the Mexican-born children of immigrants identify with their culture (like Mexican-Kenyan actress Lupita Nyong’o), applauding it as natural, but get mad when the same happens to the children of Mexican immigrants in the U.S.

Easy answer: Mexicans want everyone to be Mexican—except Cuban-American presidential candidates, of course.

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 curious about the meaning of the term “Viva la Raza” that I have often heard expressed by my friends and family. I know what it translates to, but I don’t know why we say it.

I happen to be what some call a “half-breed,” and therein lies my dilemma. “Viva La Raza” implies that the person who says this is of a certain “race.” My mother’s family is from the state of Georgia and of French, Scottish and English descent, whereas my father’s family hails from New Mexico and has been in the northern part of that great state since 1627; if you count my indio ancestors (who are undoubtedly in my lineage; after all, my grandmother is short and brown), my family was in the Santa Fe area prior to European settlement in the Americas. This makes me and my father's people mestizos.

In addition, my family may also be Jewish. It has come to light that many of the old Hispanic families of Northern New Mexico are descendants of the “hidden” Sephardim Jews that pretended to be Catholic and moved to the New World in order to escape the Spanish Inquisition. In addition, aren’t most Hispanos (who hail from north of the border) and Mexicans (from south of the border) mestizos, and didn’t most of the Indians get killed by the Spaniards and Anglos? If so, “raza” or “race” seems to be artificial and really doesn’t mean anything.

Furthermore, this is true the world over with all of the so-called “races.” It seems to me that we are all half-breeds, mestizo, metis, mulattos or what ever you want to call us. It is my understanding that the human race is the only race, and that we all came “out of Africa.”

With this in mind, perhaps we should do away with “Viva la Raza” and come up with something new … like “Viva la Herencia!” or “Viva la Gente!”

NuMexiHillbilly

Dear Wab: So many questions, so little time! I’ll concentrate on the viva part, since the rest of your pregunta rumbles along like a Big Jim chile in a gabacho’s panza.

No one is going to rally under slogans that translate as “Long live the heritage!” or “Up with people!”—they’re too fresa. And while I’m with you on the whole chinga tu madre toward racial classifications, “Viva la Raza” will never be dropped, nor should it. It ties anyone who says it back to the Chicano Movement, from which the term originated. (The earliest citation I can find was in a 1966 Los Angeles Times article that quoted legendary activist Bert Corona as exclaiming during a fundraising dinner in L.A: “Viva la causa; viva la raza; y viva la unidad—“Long live the cause; long live la raza; and long live unity.”)

The raza part connects the slogan to the idea of la raza cósmica—the Cosmic Race, the idea put forth by José Vasconcelos of a day when humanity trumps the antiquated razas of the Enlightenment. The viva part is a direct descendent of the Grito de Dolores, the proclamation issued by Miguel Hidalgo ushering in Mexico’s War of Independence.

It might seem strange to have non-Mexis shout “Viva la Raza!” in this egalitarian society, but Mexicans don’t find it racist or exclusionary, because it isn’t—after all, we all have enough female cousins who have married gabachos and bedded enough gabachitas to make us like y’all enough.

A QUICK NOTE ON MEXICANS BEING THE FATTEST PEOPLE IN THE WORLD

Some of ustedes have sent me reports stating that Americans are no longer the fattest people in the world; Mexicans are.

My reaction: Who says Mexicans don’t assimilate?

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 ask him a video question at youtube.com/askamexicano!

Published in Ask a Mexican