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Wed09182019

Last updateTue, 18 Sep 2018 1pm

Gustavo Arellano

Dear Mexican: I read your column of a couple of years ago about Chicanos loving the Aztecs, and it left me both cracking up and intellectually fortified. In the last portion of the column, you added: “But, hey: If you want to change your name from José González to Nezahualcoyotl Moctezuma and go to sweat lodges on weekends, even though you’re lighter-skinned than a Southern belle, be my guest! I’m sure your ancestors who fought the Aztecs—both indigenous and Hispanic—would’ve approved!”

I really would like to know your opinion about Chican@s appropriating indigenous names. (Well, for me, it’s appropriating.) Every time I go to Facebook and see my friends change their names to things in the Nahuatl language, I cringe. Maybe it’s my own internal struggle, but I see changing your name as a very insignificant. I mean, que ganas con cambiando tu nombre, if you don’t know the language? Or if you do, you probably know some phrases.

I don’t, because to me, yo soy indígena—and I mean by immediate bloodline. I know Zapoteco and I speak it with my family. Pero, you don’t see me or my family changing their names or whatnot. In fact, nosotros nos guardamos nuestra cultura; we don’t parade it to the world. I don’t know; maybe it’s bad to get frustrated by these people changing their names. What are your thoughts?

Tehuana Chingona

Dear Badass Tehuana: Big correction to your boast about zapotecos not showing off their culture: From Día de los Muertos to your Guelaguetza (for gabas, it’s basically a Mexican country fair meets Eurovision) to your spectacular cuisine, Oaxacans are among Mexico’s proudest ambassadors of their native cultura, and aren’t afraid to show it off—and that’s OK. Similarly, it’s fine for Chicanos to change their names from the Hispanic nombres given to them at birth to Nahuatl ones if it makes them feel more in touch with their roots.

Everyone has a different path to coming to terms with their Mexican identity, and they’re all OK. The problem I have is with people who then start ridiculing others who don’t adopt Aztec dancing and calendars as vendidos and Tío Tacos; these indigenazis, of course, make their insults in English and use the Internet (created by gabachos) to boast that they’re more Aztec than Quetzalcoatl himself. Que se vayan a la chingada.

I’m a Canadian woman who has been travelling to Mexico (Guanajuato y Oaxaca, the cute places) lately. I travel alone and want to understand the “social” rules a little better.

I was told by an expat American living in Mexico that Mexican men think all American women are sluts. (I assume that generalization extends to canadienses.) His theory is that Mexicans see television shows like Sex and the City and think it’s reality. I’m acutely aware of this when interacting with Mexican men, and as a result, am somewhat guarded, which I really don’t want to be. I’d like to be able to meet Mexican men on the same terms as Canadians—sure there’s a possibility of a little steam, but maybe we’re just platicando, amigo-like.

What are your thoughts? Do mexicanos think we’re all sluts? If so, why? Do Mexican women/girls save sex for marriage? Does this mean I can never have casual sex with a Mexican man again, for fear of perpetuating a stereotype?

Una Canadiense Confusa

Dear Confused Canadian Woman: Noticias flash—Mexican men think ALL women are sluts. It’s the Madonna-whore complex, comprende?

That said, don’t let pendejo heretonormative norms get in the way of you enjoying chorizo—modern-day Mexican women don’t, so why should you?

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: Where is my America? I’m half-Hispanic and half-Italian. I was born on Coney Island to a drug-addicted father and was raised by my mom, who had to work. We were very poor. I’ve always had to struggle for basic possessions. Spanish was not spoken in my house, so my Spanish is muy malo. I’ve worked since I was 15, barking on the games in Coney Island.

I went to culinary school and became a chef. I’ve worked in the industry for 10 years. It is inundated with illegal Mexican workers. Most of these guys are OK, and they are willing to work longer hours, for less pay. Gone is the eight-hour work day. Nobody gets health coverage. It’s rare to get a paid vacation. It’s rare not to work six days a week. I feel the influx of illegal workers has lowered labor standards for all workers in the industry. I believe it also creates a population of second-class people ripe for abuses. Plus, these guys got skill: They are fast and focused. They never complain and think that complaining a problem in itself. I feel like I can be easily replaced with an illegal worker with whom I can’t compete.

I don’t mind helping out people who need work. But where can I go? Most restaurants are small businesses, and hiring illegal workers is part of the business plan. Where can I go to have my American Dream? I’ve also been called gringo, whitey and pelón by illegals who, it seems, have never heard of civil rights.

Coney Island Angry

Dear Gabacho: I was mostly with you in your letter—yes, American worker rights have suffered during the Great Recession; no, it ain’t the fault of Mexicans. Robber barons are the culprit choking labor now, just like when the Molly Maguires were raising hell in Pennsylvania coal mines.

Then you started whining that the Mexican cocineros you worked alongside with in kitchens called you names. So you’re upset that they called you two types of gabacho, and a baldy, to boot? That just means they thought you were enough of a friend that they felt they could bust your balls. But obviously, they didn’t trust you too much—otherwise, they’d give you worse names. And I’m not talking about the parade of pendejo, puto and güey that any male in an all-Mexican environment must endure. You haven’t earned a Mexican squad’s trust until you have an insulting nickname—the more inappropriate, the better.

In my time, I’ve known of Mexicans in workplaces whose nicknames were El Taliban (for the man’s beard), El Perico (The Parrot, for the guy’s taste in cocaine), El Maricón (The Faggot, because the hombre was gay—he laughed it off, especially when learning more than a few of his macho co-workers were on the down-low), El Panzón (The Fatass) and—my all-time favorite—La Panocha (The Pussy), because homeboy was a player.

But I’m a nice guy, so I’ll give you a new nickname: El Chavala. You can look it up!

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 sure if this is solely an Orange County thing, but: As a high school student in SanTana, I can’t help but realize that the great majority of rockabilly kids are Mexican. Why is this? Weren’t the ’40s and ’50s kind of a bad time for Mexicans?

Chicana con Ganas

Dear Motivated Chicana: Yes y no. While Mexican-American activists were fighting for civil rights through lawsuits and voter-registration drives, the young people were getting into cars, rock ’n’ roll and R&B, and changing their given names from Consuelo and Jorge to Connie and George—the better to assimilate. The ’40s generations were pachucos, but more than a few Mexis became so-called rebels during the ’50s and continuing into the present day.

For years, one of my favorite cinematic nuggets was discovering that there was a Mexican in the Pharaohs car club that kidnapped Richard Dreyfuss’ character in American Graffiti—we were part of George Lucas’ gabacho nostalgia-fest as a different type of greaser, raza!

Of course, all of that history means little to the current generation of Mexican rockabillies (call them chilibillies, por favor), who like the scene for the same reason Mexicans like Morrissey, lowriders and oldies-but-goodies: Those subgroups pay strict attention to dress, hair, music and gender roles, and romanticize the past and violence. Hey, at least we’re not Civil War Confederate re-enactors, who have no excuse for their fun games other than they liked people who fought to defend slavery.

A mexicana friend of mine told me that assertiveness is not part of the Mexican—or even Latino—culture, and that assertiveness may be considered rude by Mexican standards. An example she gave would be a Mexican consenting to go out of his/her way to do a favor, especially for a gabacho, instead of being assertive and saying “No puedo” or “I’m too busy to help.” Another example would be a Mexican (legal or otherwise) never questioning a boss’ request—although a work situation is definitely a different story.

As far as you know, is there any truth to this claim that Mexicans, or Latino people in general, don’t feel comfortable being assertive?

Mi’jito’s Padre aka Mipadre’s ’Jito

Dear Father of a Son, aka My Dad’s Son: I’ve been hearing this horseshit my entire life, from Catholic priests saying we should never look people in the eyes, to yaktivists making excuses for underperforming students, to sociologists going back to the days of The Children of Sanchez. And I gotta ask: Where are the meek Mexicans?

Are they the millions who have come to this country undocumented over the past couple of decades, risking everything for the great unknown? Or are they the field workers, jornaleros, carwasheros, mineros and canners who have held some of the fiercest union strikes your labor history books never bothered to cover? Is it the DREAMer (or whatever those secular saints call themselves as nowadays) storming the halls of their local politicians, demanding amnesty? Maybe the parents working nonstop to give their kids a better future? Or is it those who remain in Mexico, raising DESMADRE against the corrupt PRI and PAN duopoly?

An unassertive Mexican is like a non-vendido Mexican Republican—people say they exist, but they don’t.

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 are lowrider artists obsessed with surly clowns? I went to an exhibition of the art of Mister Cartoon in Venice Beach years ago, and the clowns in his art were downright disturbing. I've seen these nasty clowns on T-shirts and a bunch of other places, too.

What's up with that? Did the whole culture have a nasty experience at the circus?

Cirque Du So Low

Dear Gabacho: I’m answering this pregunta not just because it’s a good one, but to teach the value of patience. Gentle readers: This question was sent on the first week of ¡Ask a Mexican!’s existence, which is now more than 10 years ago. I’m finalmente getting to it because it’s about pinche time, you know? So you, too, will get your question you sent hace seven years answered … eventually.

For this one, Cirque Du So Low, it’s muy simple: Mexicans like payasos, period. From Cepillín to Javier Solís’ legendary song “Payaso” to “The Tears of a Clown” by Smokey Robinson and the Miracles to the classic cholo tattoo and mantra, “Smile Now, Cry Later” (itself a callback to the legendary oldies-but-goodie song of the same tame by Sunny and the Sunliners) to that assassin dressed as a clown who strolled into a narco’s party last year in Baja California, shot him dead and escaped, Mexicans are clown-crazy.

Gabachos might find them creepy, but we love these eternal tricksters, because they’re representations of our id, and a reflection of the importance we place on humor, no matter how dour our reality. I can also cite Nobel Prize laureate Octavio Paz’s essay on masks, and how clowns are a metaphor for Mexicans, but Paz hated pochos, so fuck him.

I read just the other day that demographers are predicting there will be more Mexicans than anybody else in California in 20 years, just from birth rate alone. Un tipo como tu tiene que tener some brujo in him, so use your skills, ese, and tell us what you see in the future. Will California be like Whittier? Or will it resemble Rosarito, with all the gabachos crowded into condos near the beach?

El Mero Panzón del IE

Dear Badass Big-Bellied Man of the Inland Empire: 20 años? Try last year, when Latinos surpassed gabachos to become the most-populous group in the Golden State. Given a 2011 demographic profile by the Pew Research Center determined that Mexicans make up 83 percent of California's Latino community, paisas and pochos should outnumber everyone within the end of this decade.

So what does the future hold? You’re reading it: a child of Mexican immigrants who works a white-collar job and whose nieces and sobrinos will no doubt have names like Brittney and Brad. Sorry to break it to Know Nothings, but the Reconquista will be the most anticlimactic event since the release of Chinese Democracy.

In the newspaper today, there was a picture of a Mexican in Mexico grinning next to a sign that said, “Turista GO HOME!” Are Mexicans getting so rich off money siphoning through their illegal invaders that they no longer need the LEGAL stream of wealth from tourists? And if so, why can’t they spell-check their signs first? Would a sign campaign also help the illegals here get the message that THEY are unwelcome? Or should we just count ourselves lucky that the arrogant foreigners are using signs instead of rape or guns to make their point, in a nation with such a low literacy rate?

Walking Down the Beach the Other Day, I Started Wondering …

Dear Gabacho: The sign was spelled correctly; the tourist just happened to use Spanglish, a language created to piss off pendejos into flights of pendejismo. Gracias for dejando Spanglish do its trabajo!

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: Do your countrymen still worship Santana? Or is Santana looked at like The Who in England, and Crosby, Stills and Nash in America—old relics from the good ol’ Woodstock days?

Abraxas to the Maxas!

Dear Gabacho: Mexicans actually never worshipped Carlos Santana, who was born in Jalisco and grew up in Tijuana before moving to San Francisco and becoming the Quetzalcoatl of rock. Oh, we’ve always respected him—after all, Santana is a mexicano who hit it big by fusing Latin rhythms with acid rock—but he long ago left the earthly realm of nationalism to hang out with his guardian angel, Metatron, making him the true manifestation of la raza cósmica.

Mexicans respect all of that, but they like their male Mexican musicians the way hombres like their sex: loud, sweaty and done in under four minutes—OK, three.

My husband, who is very proud of his Mexican heritage, was born and raised in Santa Ana; his parents were also born and raised in Santa Ana. He grew up with a more traditional Mexican upbringing then I did. Long story short, he bought this T-shirt with Pancho Villa on it that has the phrase, “Gringo I Want You,” in big, bold letters on the back of it, with Pancho Villa pointing. Now, when he bought this T-shirt, I told him, “Honey, are you sure you should be wearing that t-shirt? Someone might take offense to it.” He told me, “No! No one would even notice what it says.”

Well, last night, we were at our local drug store picking up some prescriptions. Some big biker dude who had just rode up and parked his big hog on the sidewalk came up to us and started yelling loudly at my husband in a Midwestern accent, “Hey, you M’fer, I’m a gringo. I don’t like that shirt you’re wearing; you better take that shirt off.” My husband at first thought the guy was just joking, but the biker continued, and everyone was looking at him. I figured the guy was drunk; I was so mad I wanted to kick his bike over when we walked back our car, but I said nothing until we got in the car—when I did the “I told you so” to my husband.

So my question to you, Mexican, is: What should we have done? Cause a scene? Stand for our rights to wear what ever the hell we want to wear? Or just ignore the biker dude and walk out of the store, which is what we chose to do? This was a big M’fer, and my husband is a small-framed 50-year-old diabetic viejito. Back in the day, he would’ve knocked the SOB to the floor. My view: Even though I did the “I told you so” thing to my husband, I believe my viejito should have the right to wear the T-shirt. But I feel the biker dude was entitled to be offended, too. The question in my mind was: Does this idiot even know the history of Pancho Villa? Probably not, and it was just an act of ignorance, or the M’fer really was drunk.

Last night, my viejito slept in that T-shirt and refuses to take it off now; I’m proud of him.

Angie la OC Pocha

Dear Pocha: Short story long! Long answer short: Reward his bravery by wearing Pancho Villa chonis.

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: From what I’ve seen and heard, Mexicans are very family-oriented. They take the names of both their mothers and fathers, live with extended family, take carpooling to the nth degree and tattoo the names of their children across their bodies. We recently had a party and invited one of our Hispanic friends. She showed up with her grandmother, mother, sister and her two kids! What the hell was that all about?

What I don’t understand is this: Whenever I see Mexican men and women walking along busy streets, or through stores, or standing at the bus stops, their little kids are usually more than an arm’s length away, sometimes trailing as much as several feet behind them. It’s also not uncommon to see little kids crawling around in front seats, back seats and beds of trucks, totally unrestrained! I’m quite sure these are the same people who put the “In memory of …” on the back windows of their vehicles when their kids die from wandering into traffic or an auto accident. Maybe there is some sort of perverse logic that I don’t understand. Perhaps those decals on the back windows are more highly respected by the Mexican community than raising good, healthy, honest kids.

What are your thoughts?

Dingo Gringo

Dear Gabacho: The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s 2013 study “Motor Vehicle Traffic-Related Pedestrian Deaths—United States, 2001–2010” broke down pedestrian death rates for children 1-14 by ethnicity. Findings showed that while more niños were involved in fatalities than gabachos, the rate isn’t too far off—1.66 deaths per 100,000 population for gabacho boys compared to 2.61 for Latino boys. On the other hand, rates in the same age group for girls favored Latinas—.62, compared to .68 for gabachitas. Do gabacho parents not care for their little girls, assuming their sons are going to marry Mexican chicas calientes anyway?

Unlike your pendejo ass, the study determined factors other than race skewed death rates a certain way. (The most-killed pedestrians statistically? Chinitos 75 and older.) Your assumptions just make an ass out of you and tu, but perhaps you respect babadas more than good, healthy, honest facts?

Why do Mexicans love to watch American movies with Mexican voices dubbed over the actors? I find this very irritating. What is this fascination? When Americans watch foreign films, the language is left intact, with only subtitles added at the bottom. There is nothing more amusing than watching Arnold Schwarzenegger speaking Spanish.

Gabacho Confundido

Dear Confused Gabacho: In the early days of sound, Hollywood productions would film multiple takes in multiple languages to appeal to their fans worldwide. Moviemakers knew even then that foreign audiences like hearing dialogue in their native language, even if said in a phonetically hilarious tone, à la Laurel and Hardy, or dubbed completely to ludicrous results. (You think Ah-nuld is funny? You gotta here “Homero” on the Latin American broadcast of The Simpsons.)

Nowadays, only the biggest foreign films or television shows get dubbed in Mexico, taking into account that children and the poor might not yet have the reading comprehension to understand subtitles. Besides, you’ve never seen The Lion King until you hear it dubbed in Spanish—the way my family did with a piratería copy again and again and again.

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 white people love Marco Rubio and cry at his speeches? Rubio was in my town selling his vision for America mierda to his gabacho constituency, and they drank it up like Tía’s fresh jamaica. They laughed; they cried; they wondered why we Mexicans can’t get behind the Great Brown Hope. Do we know if Rubio even talks to the kitchen help and wait staff when he’s finished talking at banquets?

“Oh, my God! He’s so inspiring!” FUCK THAT.

Mark Blondie

Dear Pocho: The great thing about your pregunta was that you attached a tweet from some PR hack essentially ejaculating while commenting that Rubio was “speaking to Spanish-speaking employees post-fundraiser.” Hell, Democratic politicians in the Southwest have given shout-outs to the help during their speeches for years now, but you don’t see Dems freaking out about it, mostly because they realized Mexicans were humans long ago.

I won’t elaborate too much on why Mexicans don’t like Rubio here—go find my columna in the Guardian from last month for a more thorough explanation; the Mexican promises that essay WON’T give you a pain in the gulliver—but explaining why gabachos like Rubio is easy: They think he’s their brown bullet to make more Mexicans into conservatives.

The more interesting trend I find is what you pointed out: Gabachos try to shame Mexicans into liking Rubio, just like they’ve used Clarence Thomas and Ben Carson to claim liberal African-American voters who don’t appreciate them are traitors to the race. Only in America do gabachos have the audacity to tell minorities they’re not minority enough because they don’t embrace a token—and if you don’t believe me, witness the campaign to make Carlos Mencia a likable person.

Hello, Mexican! My wife and I are gabachos living in a 99 percent Hispanic neighborhood. We are very tolerant folks and actually chose where we live because of its diversity (lots of people of every type—long story). Unfortunately, our immediate neighbors are putting us in an awkward situation.

One neighbor has four pit bulls tethered in his backyard, and they bark loudly ALL THE TIME (whether he is home or not). They never go inside his home; they just stay outside and bark.

The other neighbor has a boomin' system in his car and loves to sit in his driveway at the end of his day and clean the car while BLASTING gangsta rap. (I’m not kidding; this rattles the dishes in our cabinets!) Normally this wouldn’t be a problem, but we work out of our house, and the incessant noise greatly affects our ability to converse with clients over the phone.

I’m totally understanding of the need to be loud every now and again, but not so much when it comes to a blatant disregard for neighbors. Do you have any suggestions for addressing the problem without my being shot by gangsta-man or alienating my pit-bull-loving neighbor? I want to avoid having them see this as a white-on-brown thing; it’s more of a, “I live right next to you, and you are ruining my life by your inconsideration” thing. Or is it just con estos bueyes hay que arar? ANY suggestion would be greatly appreciated.

¡Yo Estoy Como Perro en Barrio Ajeno!

Dear I’m Like a Dog in a Strange Neighborhood: Don’t give me this “Plough with the oxen you have” bullshit. If you bought into your neighborhood not knowing that Mexican dogs bark a lot, that cholos like to blast music (and don’t forget the comadres cranking up Marco Antonio Solís to 11 every Saturday morning), and that Mexicans also work out of their houses (where do you think bathtub cheese comes from?), I’m marking you as a gentrifier who deserves no pity. Your only solace is that other gentrifying pendejos will no doubt also move into the neighborhood, and all those loud Mexicans you complain about will be gone in five years.

Congrats on being the Cortés of the barrio!

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 beloved niece married a boy of Mexican extraction. I am very fond of him, but he and his family kind of hold us all at arm’s length. It’s very difficult to get close. My niece has told me that his mother “doesn’t like white people.” Wouldn’t it be better to get to know me before deciding you don’t like me? Isn’t her attitude racist?

I’ll never forget walking into their wedding with big smiles, because my niece was getting married, and she is a major sweetheart. We were greeted with stony faces and no responses to our greetings; I felt like a character from West Side Story. Looking back, maybe I should have clicked my fingers and sang “When You’re a Jet.”

Is there something I can do, or should I just continue to be courteous when we meet, and try to find something to talk to them about? It is hell to hold a conversation with his family, and they always make me feel like I’m in the way. (Actually, his father is nice, and he makes great burritos.)

Wondering Whitey

Dear Gabacha: Stop being so gabacha. Believe it or not, not all Mexicans like white people. Your nephew-in-law obviously does, and it seems his papi goes gaga for the gaba as well. But your niece’s suegra? Not so much.

I can offer advice—take the woman out to a spa day, treat her to a nice lunch, smuggle over the last of her sisters from Puebla—but the sad reality is that Mexican moms keep pointless vendettas FOR LIFE. Whatever! You’re upset about one pendeja making family reunions uncomfortable; I should detail which of my cousins don’t talk to the other cousin over something said by uncles 45 years ago … but I still need to show my face at family quinceañeras, you know? Man, are our family funerals fun!

Can you enlighten me regarding something I am curious about regarding tortillas: Why are flour tortillas available in 6-, 8-, 10- and 12-inch sizes, but corn tortillas are available in only 6-inch sizes?

Worth the Girth

Dear Gabacho: Easy—flour tortillas can get bigger due to their gluten; corn tortillas have next to no gluten. Because of that, corn tortillas have a maximum size before disintegrating like the U.S. border.

The largest corn tortillas I’ve ever seen weren’t bigger than 8 inches, but as I told the Charleston City Paper last year, tortilla sizes are like penis sizes: It’s not the size of the ship, but the motion of the masa that matters. Or to paraphrase another penis aphorism: Once you go maize, you’ll always sing its praise. Or better yet: Once you learn to like corn, it’ll always be your porn. No?

While conversing with Mexican-American ’manitas, I came to a halt when trying to conjugate the verb pistear or pistiar. From whence does this term originate?

Slushed Out Sista

Dear Negrita: This is a great way to show the world anew the baroque, vulgar wonders of Mexican Spanish. The Real Academia Española (RAE), the official guardian of Spanish in the world, doesn’t acknowledge the Mexican Spanish definition for pistear—“to get smashed with pals”—but what do they know? The paisa slang ultimately derives from pisto, which is both an adjective (drunk) and noun (the drink that got the pisto person pedo). And pisto comes from the Latin pistus—“smashed.” Now it makes sense why Mexicans use pisto as a synonym for being borracho, ¿qué no?

Meanwhile, all the RAE can offer as a definition for pistear is some Central American mamadas about making money … pinche mamones. The RAE sure as hell doesn’t offer the Mexican Spanish definition of what a mamón is, either.

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, 29 April 2015 08:00

Ask a Mexican: Why Do Mexicans Lie So Much?

Dear Mexican: Why do Mexicans make up such glaringly obvious lies? Like this galán who had his sister call me and say it was really him—with a cold. Or my friend who pretends to be traveling around the world, but is really sending emails from his mother’s home computer. Or the random person on the street who tells you he knows how to give you directions, and then makes them up.

Do these Mexicans have something against reality, or do they really believe themselves on some level?

Clara la Dudosa

Dear Clara the Doubter: “There is nothing new about Mexico’s tradition of lying, of course,” wrote Andres Oppenheimer in his 1998 Bordering on Chaos. “Since as far as historians could remember, double-talk and deceit had been part of Mexico’s culture.”

This line has been used by Know Nothings ever since as proof that Mexicans are never to be trusted—never mind that Oppenheimer is an elitist Argentine carajo. Mexicans lie for the same reason anyone makes mentiras: to protect oneself, to try to gain an advantage over someone else, and to ultimately come out on top. If you think that’s somehow a uniquely Mexican characteristic, then you must also believe President Obama when he says the guv’mint ain’t spying on you, and that he has the best interests of Mexicans in mind while deporting us in record numbers.

Hola! I am trying to move to Japan and have been studying the language for two years. To my shame, when one of my Japanese associates posed the question, “What do you think of when you hear the word ‘immigrant’?” I first thought of a Mexican national in America illegally. I replied honestly, and we entered a discussion about why that was. (It’s in the news all the time—it’s still no excuse but, hey, I’m human and subject to flaws on occasion.)

After doing some research into the Mexican economy, I learned they seem to be doing very well among Latin American countries as far as unemployment rates and economic growth. I wonder: Are the benefits are only going to large corporations and a few at the top? Are wages pathetically low with no labor unions to negotiate for better pay? What is the main factor or factors that encourage people to risk so much to get here?

Please forgive my ignorance on these matters, and help me understand the larger picture.

Hoping to Become an Immigrant

Dear Gabacho: Konichiwa! Although it seems self-evident why Mexicans continue to migrate to the United States—better opportunities, just like every immigrant group that has ever come here—what makes them sour on their patria is a little more telling.

A 2014 Pew Research Center poll found that a third of Mexicans would migrate to the U.S. if they could—but whereas 60 percent said the economy is a big problem, 79 percent said crime is the country’s biggest issue. Also beating the economy on list of concerns were corrupt political leaders (72 percent), cartel violence (also 72) and water and air pollution (70 and 69, respectively—and gabachos say Mexicans don’t care about the environment!). Even corrupt police officers beat the economy as a topic of concern for Mexis.

At this point in Mexico’s history, it’s time to push the reset button and start a revolution—or do what we’ve been doing, and migrate to the U.S. Because why revolt in one country when you can do it in two?

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 Mexican men have thicker hair than Caucasian men? Is it because it runs in the genes? (I am only asking about hair on the head, not body hair.)

Frankie

Dear Gabacho: It’s ALWAYS about the genes for Mexicans, whether it’s our love of tortillas and tamales (indigenous ancestors), beer (Germans) or frizzy hair (the negritos in our family tree that no one ever acknowledges, even though your brother was born with a Jheri curl that made Lionel Richie’s mane seem as florid as a high-and-tight). The same influence applies to male-pattern baldness: Native Americans are the least-affected ethnic group on Earth when it comes to being pelones, a scientific consensus that is so prevalent that you can find it repeated without citing any study in multiple medical dictionaries. The Mexican couldn’t find any study specifically focusing on Mexicans, but don’t forget that a bunch of us have sangre india in our veins.

As for those of us who are getting calvos? As it says on a sweatshirt that my mami once bought at the swap meet and used to wear before realizing what it meant: I don’t have a bald spot; it’s a solar panel for a sex machine!

I have a Hispanic heritage, with long bloodline of Hispanics who came to this continent in the 1600s. Having researched my roots, I discovered that the Spaniards have Germanic roots, and the migration to the Americas and interbreeding soon created the mestizo, with other bloodlines and heritages. The generalization of terms used to describe a Hispanic were, for centuries, labeled as “white”; to make my point clearer, there was no such race as brown. In all of the documents that our forefathers filled out, there were lists of the races, which included white, red, black, yellow or red. There was never an option for brown.

Then the question of nationality came: Today, we’re listed as Anglo, Hispanic, Middle Eastern, Mexican American, African American, Oriental, Pacific Islander or other. This is where my soapbox becomes a podium: Mexicans are white. You hear in all the polls on TV that the whites voted this way, and the Hispanics voted that way! I cannot stand to hear that all the people in attendance at a particular school were 20 percent white, and 60 percent Hispanic! They are all the same people! Hispanics are white!

Anglos and Hispanics are in the same race. It’s the nationality that makes them two separate entities. Thank you for listening, and hopefully some clarity will come of the misnomer that Hispanics are a separate race than the Anglo, when we were both white all along!

Manito Manuel

Dear Wab: Repeat after me: Brown is beautiful. Brown is beautiful. Brown is beautiful. Brown is beautiful. Brown is beautiful. Brown is beautiful. Brown is beautiful. Brown is beautiful. Brown is beautiful. Brown is beautiful. Brown is beautiful. Brown is beautiful.

Now, go repeat that to all your Hispano friends in New Mexico who insist their ancestors never got it on with a mestizo, and tell them que se vayan a la chingada with their claims of pure bloodlines—or, better yet, go hang with Hitler.

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