CVIndependent

Thu06272019

Last updateTue, 18 Sep 2018 1pm

Gustavo Arellano

Dear Mexican: I’m a 23-year-old Latina attending a Texas university, and I’m taking a class that is centered on Latino culture and history. I’m a first-generation Tex-Mex kid, and lately, all of the documentaries and other coursework have been making me feel some type of way—angry, sad and overall confused, for lack of better phrasing. I don’t know how to handle these feelings, and it is making me more introspective about the Latino/Mexican part of my identity—as if I didn’t already have enough issues there. I don’t want to overthink it, and I don’t want to always wonder how people perceive me because of my background. But I don’t know how to feel about what I am learning, and whether what I am feeling is OK.

Did you ever go through something like this type of identity crisis? Any advice on how to feel/handle it?

Down in Denton

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

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

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

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

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

Dear Mexican: Does your cesspool homeland of Mexico allow illegals to break the law and sneak in? Hell, no—but I guess it’s OK for the USA to allow it for you and your deadbeat wetback cousins.

Go fuck yourself—and I am sure this is not the first time you’ve heard that from a fed-up USA taxpayer who is sick of you parasite moochers from down south. Clean up your land if you want a good life. Don’t ride our coattails, you damn losers.

Klein in Van Nuys

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

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

Dear Mexican: Why do a lot of Mexicans let their toddlers stay on the baby bottle longer than most kiddos?

I work at a surgery center that specializes in children’s dental surgery, and most of the patients are Mexican kids getting their teeth fixed from such scenarios. I’ve also personally known Mexican mothers whose children’s mouths were completely blinged out with dental work.

Any insight on why the Mexican bambinos stay on the bottle so long?

Wean ’Em Off

Dear Gabacho: You’re right about the problem—multiple studies have documented the Mexican propensity for their chicos to suffer from what’s scientifically known as early childhood caries (ECC), and colloquially known as baby-bottle tooth decay. The disease rots baby teeth, leading to many kids making rapper Riff Raff’s dientes seem as pearly white as a Pepsodent model.

UCLA student Sally Chu’s 2006 paper “Early Childhood Caries: Risk and Prevention in Underserved Populations,” published in the Journal of Young Investigators, found that “Hispanics have the highest rate of ECC in both developed and developing countries with an average prevalence of 13 percent to 29 percent, second only to Native Americans,” citing the seminal 2002 paper “Caries-Risk Factors for Hispanic Children Affected by Early Childhood Caries.” All studies cite poverty and a lack of education more than culture, so I guess you want me to make a psychosexual joke about how Mexicans overall are still attached to their mami’s chichis, leaving us perpetual infants. Well, you ain’t going to get it, so I’ll make it up with an insight equally as lame: Why do Mexicans like to drive lowriders? So they can cruise and pick strawberries at the same time … HA!

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

Aspiring Puppetteer

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

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

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

“It’s actually in the lyrics of the song,” Laboe continued. “‘I’ll do anything / I’m just a puppet, and you hold my string / I’m your puppet.’ Guys often have trouble revealing their feelings, and this song lets them do that. Through the years, ‘I’m Your Puppet’ has been one of our most requested songs on The Art Laboe Connection,” which airs Monday through Friday, from 7 p.m. to midnight, as well as Sunday at 6 p.m. Check ArtLaboe.com for his stations.

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

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!

Dear Mexican: I’m half-Mexican and—on my conservative Christian, Republican father’s side—half-white. Growing up, I was discouraged from learning Spanish by my father and his family (while mi abuela tried to teach me anyway), so never learned; I’m currently having to learn as an adult.

My father’s family always tried to impress upon me their specific beliefs on all topics—my grandfather and I have gotten into arguments since I was 8 about his racist attitude toward those with a brown background, and I’m constantly having to remind him that myself and mi prima are both half-Mexican (her on her father’s side), even going to the extent of adding Perez to my last name (it’s my mom’s maiden name) for the last few years.

I know what I had to deal with growing up, and now with the whole immigration fiasco, my grandfather continues on and on. My little 8-year-old prima is stuck in the middle and is really starting to feel bad about herself because of this—she is torn between loving her grandpa and loving her personal background.

How can I help her?

Confused Half Breed

Dear Pocho: If having you and your little cousin as grandkids hasn’t convinced your abuelito that Mexicans are good people, then que se vaya a la chingada. Blood is thicker than water, they say—but it’s not thicker than horchata, so Mexicans ain’t obliged to genuflect before their elders.

There are entire swaths of cousins who didn’t talk to their grandmas for decades because of some perceived slight the abuelas paid on their mom or dad back in the rancho. And, sometimes, the grandma or grandpa in the family was an unrepentant asshole. Respect and honor is very important for Mexicans, but so is common sense, so I’d tell your primita to tell your grandpa to fuck off, and be proud of her Mexican part—that’s the best thing you can do to shape her young mind.

Dear Mexican: I’ve read many of the letters people have sent you, and I must say that they seem a little one-sided. I’m a Welshman, trying to get my green card. I spent nine months in La Habra, and in my experience, the friendliest people were those in the Mexican community. I received better service at Gonzalez Northgate Markets than I did in Walmart. The other customers were friendlier, too.

So, my question is: Why do you get so many letters from people who appear to dislike or even hate Mexicans?

Soon-to-Be Immigrant

Dear Taffy: I’m found your letter behind a nopal in my archives, so I’m not sure what year in which you sent this letter. What you describe was once true, but ain’t the case anymore. Time was when the Mexican would get cartloads of nasty letters from losers—but since I always get the last word, they got a can of chile powder thrown on their pride again and again, and word got around.

Nowadays, straight-out hate letters are as rare in my mailbox as a Mexican FIFA World Cup championship, because the haters know better than to write in, even though we live in a historically bad time for Mexicans in el Norte.

I think all good people can take a lesson from my experience: When the haters go for you, don’t ignore them—fight back with humor, stats and DESMADRE, and they’ll scatter away like the cucarachas they are.

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!

Dear Mexican: I’m listening to a podcast called Gravy. The segment is bluegrass tacos. You were interviewed, and a few statements bothered me: “The U.S. can take half of Mexico. They can make us peons, force us to move up north.”

Is this a common shared view of America(ns) in your community? If so, it is very disappointing that in 2017, you would express this bias/prejudice against this amazing country.

How were you forced to move north? Do you recognize/appreciate all the opportunities that this country has given you and other Mexicans who have came here? I would like to know your views. My initial opinion of you is that you are holding onto the view: “We are an oppressed people and can’t believe what America has done to us.”

There is always a “great” country to the south that offers so much more, without the oppression, that has openings for residency. Let me know what you think.

Ticked Off in Tulsa

Dear Gabacho: You know what I think? You’re a pendejo.

The podcast Gravy is an extension of the James Beard-winning food journal, for which I write a column called “Good Ol’ Chico,” where I write about the Latino South. And what you call “bias/prejudice” are straight-up facts.

The United States did steal half of Mexico, but you don’t have to take my word—just ask Ulysses S. Grant, who said that the Mexican-American War was “one of the most unjust ever waged by a stronger against a weaker nation.” I don’t have to “hold on” to the idea that Mexicans are oppressed—we know it’s true every time whiny gabachos like yourself insist that we love this country just like you. The cool thing, though, is that we don’t let pendejos like you get in the way of creating a better America.

Finally, have you ever heard of a little chingadera called NAFTA—you know, the one thing Donald Trump gets right? It not only stole jobs from American workers; it upended Mexico’s economy, forcing millions of people to el Norte. And, yes, they were forced—just like the Irish were forced to leave Eire due to the brutal British, and the Jews who fled pogroms, and the Okies who got out of the Dust Bowl for a better chance at life.

My, how quickly Oklahomans forget their own history—it’s sad that a Mexican has to teach you about your own people, but that happens only in America.

Dear Mexican: I’ve always noticed that some second-generation and even third-generation Mexican Americans speak English with an accent. I understand that English might not be their first language, but why do some Americans like Cheech Marin or Danny Trejo, who've been here for generations, still have an accent, while a first-generation wab like me has been told I speak English like a white person, whatever that means?

Pocho Pero Paisa

Dear Pocho: Trejo and Cheech have an accent the same way a mick in Southie has an accent, or the way characters on Fargo speak in their own unique way. It’s regional American English—in their case, Chicano English, coming from generations of assimilation in the Southwest.

We children of modern-day Mexicans sometimes get that accent, and sometimes don’t, because we learn English as a second language, not as our primary one. The most prominent practitioner of Chicano English is George Lopez, who once tried to make this column into a television show, then let the option lapse. Hey, George: Let’s take more meetings, you know?

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!

Dear Mexican: I’m not a huge soccer fan, but I always get excited about the World Cup. In preparation for the event next year, I wanted your opinion on the team my wife and I should root for if the U.S. were to play Mexico.

I’m a fourth-generation Mexican American. Spanish was never spoken at home, but thanks to our amazing public school system, I rarely need a translator when I speak to Spanish-speaking parents. (I’m an administrator at an amazing public school.) My wife grew up speaking Spanish and was raised in a home that was culturally Mexican. We both feel comfortable participating in events that are very Mexican, and events that are very American. Last night, I asked my wife who she should root for if the U.S. played Mexico. She wasn’t sure. I told her I wasn’t sure, either, and that we should ask for your advice.

What do you think? Who should we root for? Who would you root for? Who do you think your grandkids will root for?

Sueño Humido del Hombre Hispánico-Americano

Dear Wet Dream of the Pocho Man: I always root for the United States when it plays in Mexico, and Mexico when it faces off against the U.S. in el Norte, but only because I want to see the home fans in agony, because I’m a cabrón like that.

You can root for either side, though, because they’re both going to flame out in the quarterfinals of el Mundial next year, anyway. About the only thing fans can look forward to on either side is seeing which player has enough huevos to kick Putin where Trump’s lips left a giant chupón.

Dear Mexican: I’m not searching for relationship advice, Mexican; I’m just wondering why there is no love between Honduras and Mexico.

La Gordita

Dear Chubby Catracha: Mexicans might despise Salvadorans and have no use for Guatemalans, but Hondurans? We play “Sopa de Caracol” at all our parties, don’t we?

Dear Mexican: My understanding, lo these many years, is that Mexicans cannot give up their Mexican citizenship. I understand that under Mexican law, a natural-born Mexican is never legally allowed to claim exclusive citizenship elsewhere, and that Mexico will not recognize U.S. embassy legal processes in Mexico on behalf of a Mexican naturalized as a U.S. citizen who is present in Mexico. Is that correct?

August in Austin

Dear Gabacho: You’re listening to too much Alex Jones. The Mexican Constitution says native-born Mexicans can never lose their nationality, which is just a fancy way for Mexico to claim more people subject to its authority—an important point we’ll use before the New World Order tribunal in a couple of years to re-establish Aztlán.

Dear Mexican: In 1990, some of my Mexican friends told me it cost $500 to come from Mexico with a coyote. Recently, a friend from Tamazunchale told me it now costs $2,500. How much of this money, paid to the coyotes, goes to Border Patrol employees?

El Pollo Loco

Dear Gabacho: It costs $2,500? Try $5,000 to start, all thanks to Trump’s immigration policies. And Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly had the gall to take credit for the jacked-up prices. That’s like a big-game hunter saying that the antelope over his fireplace worked extra-hard to get there.

SPECIAL THANKS TO

Maricela and Daniel, two helpful Mexicans at Holy Sepulcher Cemetery in Orange who helped this Mexican find another Mexican’s grave. May the Santo Niño de Atocha bless ustedes for your good work, and may you bury this Mexican with a bottle of mezcal when it’s time for me to go to the great DESMADRE in the sky …

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!

Dear Mexican: I was reading an article about lowriders being modern pieces of art, displayed prominently in museums around the world. Having grown up in Española, N.M., I felt a sense of pride coming from the “Lowrider Capital of the World.”

My question is: Where did the lowrider phenomenon begin? Española may be the lowrider capital, but I have my doubts it began there. It’s a small town, and was even smaller in the 1950s. Do you have any interest in writing a little history piece? I think it would be an interesting piece, given the lowrider’s place in pop-culture and Mexican origins.

Low and Slow in Nuevo México

Dear Pocho: Española is a great little town that I visit every year on the way to the Santuario de Chimayó—but lowriders didn’t begin there. It’s only known as the Lowrider Capital of el mundo because NPR’s All Things Considered supposedly called it that, according to a 1994 article in the Santa Fe New Mexican. (I say “supposedly,” because an extensive archive search—OK, a quick Nexis® query—turned up no such citation.) And I hate to break it to Chicano academics, but lowriders didn’t even begin with Chicanos.

The term “lowrider,” besides being a sartorial adjective in use for more than a century, was first applied to hoodlums of any race, and then became lingo in Southern California kustom kulture—indeed, the earliest references the Mexican could find to cars as “lowriders” is in the classified section of newspapers in the late 1960s, under the heading “Hot Rods.” Telling is a Sept. 13, 1970, column in the Long Beach Independent Press-Telegram that mourned the disappearance of greasers (in the rebel sense, NOT the Mexican sense) in the face of the counterculture movement. “He was and is, of course, a low-rider, a cruiser, a hot-rodder, a Levi guy and a hair boy,” the column stated, hinting that the original lowriders were more likely to look like James Dean than a homie from Eastlos.

That’s not to deny that the culture of fixing up boats and bombs, and driving them low and slow, is now dominated by Chicanos—if anything, we appropriated gabacho culture for once!

Dear Mexican: When I take my wife out to a Mexican restaurant, I try to order and communicate in Spanish. My wife laughs, because she says I even change my accent. Am I just a pendejo gringo who the waiters are laughing at behind my back while defacing my beans and rice, or are they on my side and appreciate a cracker trying to sound like he came from the barrio?

Muchos Grassy Ass

Dear Gabachos: Mexicans appreciate it if you try to talk in Spanish, or use correct Spanish terms (“aguacates” instead of “guac,” for instance). Mexicans do not appreciate it if you mimic a “Mexican” accent, mostly because there is no such thing as a universal one. Try that again, and don’t be surprised if your sour cream’s tang is due to the line cook’s crema.

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!

Wednesday, 05 July 2017 08:00

Ask a Mexican: Special Marijuana Edición!

Dear Mexican: Los Marijuanos played at Seattle Hempfest years ago. Are they the best pro-hemp Mexican band out there? Are there other Mexican hemp-related bands or products out there that I don’t know about?

Inquring Hempsters Want to Know!

Dear Gabacho: Remember Platoon, and how the troops were broken up between the “tweakers”—those who enjoyed the ganga while singing along to “The Tracks of My Tears” by Smokey Robinson and the Miracles—and the angry drunks who were known as “juicers”? The Mexican is definitely the latter: I’m like the old men in the rancho who drink 180-proof sugarcane alcohol and can’t be bothered with herb, so my knowledge of products is limited to whatever my home newspaper plugs on potplus.com.

That said, #respect to those of ustedes who do smoke—Mexican musicians have been on that bit long before “Reefer Man.” “La Cucaracha” has a line about how former President Victoriano Huerta could no longer walk because he lacked marijuana pa’ fumar—to smoke. “El Tírili” (The Reefer Man), by Don Tosti’s Pachuco Boogie Boys, warns people about the dangers of beer, wine and tequila. But el zacatito? The grass? “Ayyyy,” Tosti sighs, before scatting so furiously that he makes Cab Calloway seem as restrained as Paul Robeson.

But the best Mexican musical marijuana masterpiece is “Marihuana Boogie,” by the legendary Lalo Guerrero, who combined the best of Benny Goodman and Cypress Hill to sing about the pleasure of getting lit while dancing your nalgas off. Too bad narcocorridos don’t have as much grace …

Dear Mexican: Do you think legalizing marijuana in Mexico would be a good way to create jobs and better the economy?

Chapo Chupa

Dear Pocho: Mexico just legalized medicinal marijuana nationwide, which will come as news to the abuelitas who have used marijuana-infused alcohol to treat sore joints and muscles for centuries. While the Mexican is in favor of the decriminalization of all drugs everywhere, any economy created by Mexico making marijuana a legal industry will become subservient to the real marijuanos: Americans. And we all know how well NAFTA worked out for Mexico.

Dear Mexican: I’ve heard that marijuana is a made-up name for smokable cannabis. It comes from Maria and Juan. This pejorative term was concocted in the 1930s to stigmatize pot-smoking by linking it with Mexicans in the Southwest. During the 1930s Great Depression, there was a surplus of labor in America, and attempts were made to arrest Mexicans for their smoking habits and then deport them. Any truth to this?

Etymology Edna

Dear Gabacha: Only that there was a Great Depression. No one—not even the Real Academia Española—knows the etymology of “marijuana,” and it’s found in Mexican newspapers going back to the 19th century. Marijuana use in the United States has always been racialized, but gabachos have also stuck the demon weed to Filipinos, blacks and “Hindoos.” As with most illicit, wonderful things, marijuana only became acceptable when white people began using it.

I’d end with a joke, but my marijuana humor begins and ends with a line that once came out in a Cheech and Chong movie: “Hey, that’s a pretty nice car, man. Better get it back to the circus before they find out it’s gone.” Um, yeah …

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!

Dear Mexican: I’ve read that 75 percent of Americans are against giving illegal immigrants citizenship. I’m for full amnesty and citizenship for the current 12 million that are here, but I have two absolute conditions.

First, the border is locked up by both the U.S. and Mexico, and illegal entries are reduced by 90 percent, even if that takes the military of both countries. Second, citizenship would require pledging allegiance to America and denouncing Mexican citizenship.

My question is: Do you think that the Mexican portion of the 12 million would agree to this? And do you think the Mexican government would agree to help close the border if full amnesty was given to those who are now here?

Wally Wall

Dear Gabacho: You heard about how Donald Trump wants to build a wall on the U.S.-Mexico border and equip it with solar panels, right? Well, your idea is stupider.

Primeramente, locking up the border accomplishes nada. There are fewer Mexicans coming into los Estados Unidos right now, not because of Trump’s pendejadas, but because the United States is turning into Mexico—so why not just stay in Mexico? And putting both the American and Mexican military on la frontera is a waste of resources and firepower better used against the Saudis.

Segundamente, any Mexican who would become legal has to pledge allegiance to the U.S.—it’s call the “naturalization oath of allegiance,” pendejo. And who cares if they have dual citizenship? Mexicans only get that so they can own land down there instead of having to give it up to the government—unless you’d rather Mexicans give that up and bring up their 91-year-old Tía Goya to live in el Norte?

Gabachos like you need to get it into your mind that Mexicans (and other immigrants, for that matter) can simultaneously be American and have another country on their minds, and not be disloyal to the Stars and Stripes. Why do conservatives get all pissy about that, yet cheer on losers who still love the Confederacy? Oh, yeah—because gabacho.

Dear Mexican: My husband has a disability that nobody in his Mexican family accepts. (It’s a serious mental health disorder for which he receives government benefits, but they just tell him, “Be strong, primo,” and, “How did you fool the government into giving you crazy money?”) Nobody has ever helped us with things he can’t do, but they expect him to help his mom with every home repair, because she raised him by herself. She’s verbally abuse and says nasty things about both of us when she’s alone with him, but to my face, she acts like she wants us to be friends.

Do we keep putting on the big, happy ethnic family act and explain away their ignorance of psychology and abuse? I understand that a history of oppression and struggle breeds dysfunction, but where do we draw the line? And don’t Mexicans watch Oprah and Dr. Phil?

Una Frustrated Gabacha-in-Law

Dear Gabacha: Confronting mental health issues among Mexicans is a serious topic that too often gets dismissed due to machismo. Without knowing his exact condition, all I can counsel you to do is ask your marido how he feels, and act accordingly. He might hate the familial abuse, but is too afraid to say anything, and is waiting on you to say something. Or he might not feel abused at all.

If it’s the latter case, keep him away from the primos and mom with promises of sexytimes—works on a Mexican man anytime!

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!

Dear Mexican: Waze is launching Waze Carpool throughout California. I think it’s gonna be a hit, especially with tight Latino enclaves throughout the state. But … is there a history of raites within the Mex community?

Uber Wazer

Dear Gabacho: Everything that tech bros and their hipster acolytes think they’re creating, Mexicans did first. Ripping off music and movies? We call it piratería, and we know a guy at the swap meet who has Guardians of the Galaxy 3 on VHS. Airbnb? We’ve been renting out the couch to visitors since the days of the Toltecs. Uber? The aforementioned raiteros—what the gabacho media used to call gypsy cabs. Some app that you can use to find someone to cut your lawn or fix your clogged toilet? Day laborers. Dia de los Muertos everything? BRUH … and all of this caca will continue—because as I’ve written before, when hipsters do something that is slightly outside the law, yet an innovation over the old guard, they get a Series C round of funding, Instagram influencers and fawning media coverage.

When Mexicans do it? We get code enforcement.

Dear Mexican: I need to be set straight. I’ve recently dubbed myself “un loco pocho” because I’m in the same pinche crisis as every other Mexican American three generations in. I’m an artist, so in order to obtain scholarships and grants, I must illustrate that I am a sell-out that I don’t want to really become. My abuelita is güera, not white, and speaks fluent Spanish (nothing else), while I prefer flour tortillas over corn any day. Sadly, I’ve come to the realization that I will never be Nahuatl, Maya or Chichimecan. Yet I’m not white; I’m a dark-skinned, non-español, seemingly mojado wannabe. I don’t want to be white; I want to be American. I don’t want to forget the struggles of my grandparents, yet my baby boomer parents already have. I’m like so many other children of immigrants from different countries, living off the fat of the land (and now in a position to benefit from the Third World countries from which they fled).

Can I just use pocho, the pejorative term for “fake-ass Mexican” (may as well be la malinche in the flesh), as a symbol of hope? Or am I just trying to have my cake and eat it, too?

Un Sonso Poco Loco Defecto Asking Who the Fuck They Are, LOL

Dear a Dummy but Crazy Defect Preguntando Quien Chingado Son, JAJA: Man, you’re so pocho you think Nahuatl is a people, not a language. You’re so pocho that Donald Trump just appointed you to his cabinet. You’re so pocho that Carlos Mencia accuses you of stealing his jokes. You’re so pocho that you probably think embarazada means “embarrassed” and not “pregnant.” You’re so pocho you drive a Prius instead of a 1979 Ford Ranger SuperCab with “CHALINO” stenciled in the camper window.

And you know what? It’s perfectly fine. The beauty of America for Mexicans is that we can sell out as much as we want, and it sometimes works—but at the end of the día, gabachos still think you’re just a dirty Mexican.

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!

Dear Mexican: My fiancé is trying to learn Spanish so he can speak to my grandmother when we get married next month. Lately, he’s been listening to CNN en Español to get an ear for the language.

A couple of days ago, he told me that, after several weeks of seeing the channel, he noticed there are ALWAYS chickens clucking in the background of the commercials. He wants to know: “What’s up with the chickens?” and, “Is worshipping chickens a Mexican thing?”

Madre Hen

Dear Wabette: Does your gabacho not speak English, either? Can’t he ask the Mexican a question on his own?

Not only that, but your gabacho is either a liar, or he mistakenly tuned into the Rural Farm Network for his Spanish lessons. I see CNN en Español and have never once heard chicken clucks during a commercial. In fact, the only time I can recall hearing chickens in the background of any program is when gabacho talk-show hosts rant about Mexicans. That sound clip cliché isn’t used exclusively for Mexicans, though: Entertainers have associated chickens with the poor since the days of vaudeville, and even famed reporter Borat Sagdiyev unleashed a chicken on unsuspecting New Yorkers in his recent documentary to hilarious results.

As for the chicken-worship question, your gabacho is wrong again: The Mexican reverence toward gallus domesticus is reserved for the gallo giro, the fighting cock. Rural Mexicans treat their hens as they treat their women: as purveyors of breasts, eggs and little else.

Dear Mexican: Not long ago, I attended a Los Tigres del Norte concert at a small hall with no dance floor. The people attending were supposed to sit down and enjoy the music. Five minutes into the show, these jumping beans started dancing in the aisle. Within minutes, half of the attendees were going up and down the aisles, dancing to the music. It’s not the first time I’ve seen Mexicans create improvised dance floors.

Why do Mexicans love dancing so much?

Lambada Louie

Dear Gabacho: Anyone who needs to ask why people dance to Los Tigres del Norte—the norteño supergroup that combines traditional polka beats with socially conscious lyrics to create something that’s part Clash, part Lawrence Welk and puro mexicano—has no soul, or is a gabacho. How can you not sway to their metronomic bass, their lush accordion trills, their canned sound effects, and member Hernán Hernández’s mexcelente Mexi-mullet?

Mexican music is among the most danceable outside Brazil, because its practitioners understand that nalga-shaking stirs humanity into the realm of ecstasy. Almost all the genres that constitute Mexican popular music—the aforementioned norteño, the brass-band strut of banda sinaloense, son jarocho’s twinkling harps and guitars, and even the dark riffs of Mexican heavy metal—put the focus on rhythms rather than lyrics. (The exception is ranchera, the domain of drunkards and macho pussy men.)

But dancing for Mexicans is more than a mere physical act. Every hallmark moment in Mexican society centers on dances—weddings, baptisms, informal gatherings, birthdays and anniversaries. More noteworthy are the dances held by hometown-benefit associations that raise billions of dollars for the rebuilding of villages in Mexico.

Tellingly, Mexican society does not consider girls and boys to be women or men until they begin to dance. Once they’re eligible to dance, Mexicans are eligible to take care of their community, too. Mexicans know that dancing solidifies trust, creates community, and repairs the injured civic and personal soul. Besides, it’s a great way for Mexican adolescents to grope each other in a parent-approved environment.

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!