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 Gustavo Arellano ArchiveBlogview
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. 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... Read More
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... Read More
Dear Mexican: I’m reading the redneck rhetoric in your most recent column, and I feel retarded to continually be surprised by the hate guised as nationalism that so easily flows from mouths of these degenerates. At least we don't have to worry about that “nice” stereotype like the Canadians. Isn't it possible that no one... Read More
Dear Mexican: I find Mexican women to be very prejudiced. Is it their lack of education or the fact that they don’t assimilate well? Is anyone schooling them on appropriate behavior, and are they being told that racial prejudice has reached a point where it’s barely tolerated in the U.S.A? I’m offended by their racist... Read More
Dear Mexican: Not too long ago, you answered a question about the anti-Mexican slur “greaser," then I read the info you provided for "illegal" and the N-word. I was wondering if you can break down for us “beaner," "wetback,” and “spic,” too? What are their definitions historically, who “invented” them, and what are their connections... Read More
Dear Mexican: There are less than 3% Latinos in the St. Louis area, and less than 4% of St. Louisans are immigrants. This is very, very, low, and it actually makes St. Louis look pretty bad. Why does everyone here feel like they have a say in the illegal immigration discussion? Gaga for Gibson Dear... Read More
Dear Mexican: I’m an American woman who has been living in Mexico for over a year and a half. I found an excellent job teaching English at a university and, as luck or karma would have it, I met an amazing Mexican man who treats me with respect and kindness and a support I have... Read More
Dear Mexican: What do you think of the affirmative action in the education system? I know the politicians and educators deny this, but we all know it's happening. All the yellow and white kids have to work their asses off to gain admittance in a competitive school like UCLA or UC Berkeley. With Mexicans, all... Read More
Dear Mexican: In Jared Diamond’s DVD for Guns, Germs, and Steel he mentions the classical Spanish form of horsemanship, jimeta. I have not been able to find this word used anywhere else. Can you help? Bronco Babobos Dear Gabacho: While Diamond’s book of the same name is a classic, he got his word wrong—it’s jineta,... Read More
Dear Mexican: You are a racist, my friend. How can you bring up Japanese and Chinese mistreatment and not Irish or Jewish mistreatment? It’s because it doesn't fit into your narrative of whitey being the vilest creature on earth. Worrying about language, culture, and assimilation doesn’t make you a racist (even though Mexican isn’t a... Read More
Dear Mexican: Okay, sour cream! Growing up in a Mexican family, my mom never ever used sour cream on the food she cooked. Now when she comes to visit me, I take her to Mexican restaurants here in the Dallas area. Almost every time she orders an entrée, she always ask me why they put... Read More
Dear Mexican: I know there's beef between Mexicans and Trump right now because of the whole deportation thing, but can he really do any worse than Obama did when it comes to deportations? Obama deported between two million and three million people—more than any other president. Is there something I'm missing here? Help me out.... Read More
Dear Mexican: I need to know why do salvatruchas think they are superior to every Mexican and Guatemalan in every way? I go to a community college in the San Fernando Valley that is infested with them, and the way they portray Mexicans to other people makes me angry. Sometimes, I would like to tell... Read More
Dear Mexican: The other day, I witnessed a young gordita retrieve a bag of Fritos, open it, then walk over to the chili station and pump in two steaming piles of 7-11 chili into the bag. At that point the Frita Bandita then shook the bag and started comer those nasty, now-hot, chili-soaked Fritos. Needless... Read More
DEAR MEXICAN: In my hometown of Playa Larga (Long Beach, California), natives refer to a major avenida in our villa, Junipero Avenue (named for Father Junipero Serra, accused native genocider, a candidate for sainthood—but I digress), as Juan-a-pear-o. There is no "Juan" in Junipero, but that's how everyone in this town pronounces it. People who... Read More
Dear Mexican: A Mexican man recently broke up with me. We had great sex, but a somewhat distant relationship. Anyways, the reason he left me: his immigration status. He says he can't “be with me mentally” because he's somewhere else mentally—that’s to say, not knowing where he might be living in the next days and... Read More
Dear Mexican: I work at a Mexican restaurant where the majority of the workers are, you guessed it, Mexican. I hear the word cabrón all the time, but each time I ask what exactly it means, no one has a definitive answer. I'd like to think that they're not bullshitting me, and that it doesn’t... Read More
Dear Mexican: I asked my dad why the Mexican illegals don't just apply for citizenship instead of coming here illegally, and he told me that they are not able to apply for citizenship. Is this true? Wondering in Wenatchee Dear Gabacho: They ain’t “illegals,” son: they’re “immigrants.” But even before Donald Trump became president, the... Read More
Dear Mexican: My parents were born in Mexico. I was born in Dallas, Texas. This makes me a first-generation American, right? So, if my best friend's dad was born in Mexico, and her mother is a Chicana, does this make her a first-generation American or a second-generation American? Just Curious Dear Pocha: In the eyes... Read More
Dear Mexican: When Americans retake California from you low-IQ Mexicans, should we call it the Reconquista? Why don't Mexicans (and blacks, for that matter) understand that when they move into a white neighborhood because it is such a nice place to live, they will turn it into a bad place by their presence? Why don't... Read More
Dear Mexican:I’m a wetback myself; actually, in the eyes of a gringo, we are all wetbacks. I’m sick and tired of the political caca about illegal immigration. The gringo government knows and very well understands the plus and minus of our vatos’ economic effect to the U.S. economy. The ones that don't get are the... Read More
Dear Mexican: Recently at the local Northgate market, I saw a man wearing a T-shirt that said “MEXICAN” followed by a clarification: “NOT Latino: Latinos are Anglo Europeans from Italy. NOT Hispanic: Hispanics are Anglo Europeans from Spain." I may be crazy, I'm pretty sure the words for those two descriptions are “Italian” and “Spanish.”... Read More
Dear Mexican: I was wondering if you could shed some light on the debate on whether 29 percent of Mexicans/Hispanic voters really voted for Trump, or whether it was much less like other polls show? The Poll y Voces Dear Pocho: Exit polls are like the PRI: full of shit, full of money, and incredibly... Read More
Dear Mexican: Why is Mexican Spanish so maligned by the rest of the Hispanic world (even Dominicans!)? It doesn't make any sense to me, but nonetheless I find myself worrying about my intended trip a Mexico para cursos de Español. Am I making a mistake in learning Mexican-accented Spanish? No Puedo Usar Accentos Dear I... Read More
Dear Mexican: I'm wondering what your thoughts are on the use of Lotería cards as decorative elements, specifically when used by people without Mexican heritage. Lotería cards are beautiful and interesting, but is using an image from the cards without a connection to any specific history, culture, or meaning (like on a tote bag or... Read More
Dear Mexican: How come you call yourself a Mexican? By definition, you're a Chicano, not a Mexican. A Mexican is a person that was born and raised in Mexico, not beautiful Orange County. A Mexican is a person that is proud of his country and appreciates and respects the Mexican flag even though he left... Read More
Dear Mexican: I recently saw a picture of you in a newspaper article. I was quite shocked. You appear to have more of a European skin tone. You look more European. However, I guess since your relatives lived in Mexico in the past 200 years, you think of yourself as a Mexican. I guess however,... Read More
Dear Readers: As usual, I turn over a December edición of my column each year to new Chicano-Mexican books you should stuff into a tamale leaf and give to folks so they have something to unwrap. While 2016 was a horrible year politically, the Santo Niño de Atocha saved it with a lot of amazing... Read More
Dear Mexican: Sooooo...your boy René Redzepi is moving to Mexico. I'm curious to hear your thoughts. From Lagos Dear Loco: Unless the acclaimed Danish chef behind the world-acclaimed Noma is into tamborazo and Antonio Aguilar, he ain’t my compa. But the Scandinavian very well could be nowadays: it was recently announced that he’s opening a... Read More
Dear Mexican: What’s up with pochos and their disrespect for their origins? I’m a Mexican born and raised in Mexico, a proud chilango, and well, I gotta know why do pochos, or Mexican-Americans or whatever, try to make our reputation as bad as possible by acting all like gangster, and drug dealer, and like a... Read More
Dear Mexican: We have Mexican teenagers here in my apartment building who are chronic troublemakers. My question to you is: why do Mexicans break the rules, refuse to be corrected, and harass us senior citizens? Why is it always the Mexicans who are the worst? Is it in their culture? Or, are these just uneducated... Read More
Dear Mexican: Math problem: If there are 20 Mexicans, 20 Indians, 20 Chinese, 20 Puerto Ricans, 20 Blacks, and one white person on a room, then how many people are there in the room who's identity is used as a benchmark to establish the identities of the rest of the people in the room? (Hint:... Read More
Dear Mexican: I found your column about Mexican men and spousal abuse, and my question is: Is there any help for this ever ending? I’ve been with a Mexican man, who is also an abuser of alcohol, although it has slimmed down some. He gets angry out of the blue and starts hitting on me... Read More
Dear Mexican: Why is it that even though we Latinos have similar backgrounds (Indian-Spanish) across America, there is a lack of unity among us here in the USA? We could be a powerhouse during election times, and definitely obtain a more friendlier immigration deal. El Peruano Dear Cholo: I usually only answer preguntas about Mexicans,... Read More
Dear Mexican:¿Por que no hay un pinche líder entre nosotros o de nosotros los mexicanos? Para que tuviera los tanates bien puestos y hablara frente al congreso y les dijera sus verdades a los hipócritas políticos. ¿Será que “nuestros lideres” son unos miedosos o vendidos? No hay uno solo (solo el Chapulín Colorado) que nos... Read More
Dear Mexican: As a kid, I grew up with Mexicans who stole things just to steal. As an adult, I see much of the same behavior from adult Mexicans and their children. And I don't mean just the poor Mexicans. Why is it in their nature for Mexicans to steal? Larcenous Lester Dear Gabacho: The... Read More
Dear Mexican: I’m asking this question for my best friend, who also happens to be my ex-girlfriend. Both she and her guy are educated Mexican-Americans. She moved in with her fiancé, who is also Mexican, at his home. The problem is that his parents also live there. His overbearing mom has seven dogs and numerous... Read More
Dear Mexican: Help a pocha out—what can I do to reclaim my heritage? I grew up in Orange County with my white mother and half-brothers and sisters who used to tease me that I needed a green card to get home after trips to Rosarito Beach. I now live in my Mexican father’s home (he... Read More
Dear Mexican: I seen black homeless people and white people being homeless. How come I never seen a Mexican and a Chinese person being homeless? Get a Pinche Job, Bum Dear Pocho: I can’t answer for chinitos, because the most Celestial thing about me is my love for an orange chicken-chow mein-brown rice lunch combo.... Read More
Dear Mexican: Is pinche considered a “bad” word amongst Mexican-Americans? Or is it like güey? Where it's generally alright? Mandilón in Manhattan Dear Pussy-Whipped Pocho: Don’t forget that among Mexican-Americans, #fucktrump is considered appropriate for children five and over. But among Mexican Mexicans, pinche (which technically means a short-order cook) is still mostly a synonym... Read More
Dear Mexican: I heard you on NPR describing the various ways that Mexican food images are used to scare white people about the brown hordes from the South coming up here to steal their stuff and take away their ketchup. You used the phrase "greaser" as an example of a culinary-related insult. But I thought... Read More
Dear Mexican: I employ two lovely ladies who clean my home and take care of my toddler two days a week when I go out to run errands. They are loving and kind and take superb care of her. My daughter adores them and they adore her. From the minute I brought my baby home,... Read More
Dear Mexican: A young California high school boy of Latino heritage asked me why did us whities stole California from Mexico? I asked him who told him that, and he said his father. I told him we purchased California from Mexico, via the treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo. Unfortunately, I didn’t have the opportunity to discuss... Read More
Dear Mexican: I'm not bilingual but I have a fascination with the differences and similarities between Spanish and English words and idioms. They often point to interesting differences between the cultures. Some words, like “vejigazo” (to get smacked in the ass with an inflated cow bladder) are self explanatory, but there is one that I'd... Read More
Dear Readers: The Mexican is currently in the hills of Kentucky, drinking white dog with the good ol’ chicos while doing tamborazo covers of “Molly and Tenbrooks” and bluegrass versions of “Las Isabeles”—because hillbillys and paisas are brothers from another madre, you know? Anyhoo, onto some oldies-pero-goodies. Salud, and yee-haw!   Dear Mexican: It seems... Read More
I’m a gabacho living in a barrio. It took a year after we moved in (we’ve been here for five now), but I grew accustomed to the bicycle-horn=honking guys selling churros out of grocery carts, the tamale lady selling out of a stroller, the couple selling new clothes out of a panel van, the fruit/vegetable... Read More
Dear Mexican: So how long can you keep up this racist shtick in a Los Angeles where Latinos are the majority? You're clever enough to use irony as a device to blunt your own just-kidding racism, but most of the Mexicans and pochos I know don't care enough to bother with such clever tricks. I've... Read More
Dear Mexican: The word “cholo” means “mixed race” or “mestizo.” So isn't using “cholo” to refer to gangbangers or other delinquents racist? I'm Cuban, but please don't group me with idiots like Ted Cruz or Marco Rubio. Cubiche Chula Dear Pocha: There are multiple meanings of “cholo” we’re dealing with here. The word derives from... Read More
Dear Mexican: Over the years, I've had several different American doctors digitally violate me to examine my old prostate. Always, before they examine me, they play Cat Stevens’ music. It explains why old American men uniformly hate Cat Stevens. I'm moving to Mexico soon, and assume that my next annual physical will be performed by... Read More
Dear Mexican: I have a few questions for all your Mexican columnists. Why is it so wrong for Americans to expect people from other countries to follow our laws when entering this country? What reason do you have that should make Mexicans entering this country illegally okay? Secondly, why aren't you as concerned about the... Read More
Gustavo Arellano
About Gustavo Arellano

Gustavo Arellano is the editor of OC Weekly, an alternative newspaper in Orange County, California, author of Orange County: A Personal History and Taco USA: How Mexican Food Conquered America, and lecturer with the Chicana and Chicano Studies department at California State University, Fullerton. He writes “¡Ask a Mexican!,” a nationally syndicated column in which he answers any and all questions about America’s spiciest and largest minority. The column has a weekly circulation of over 2 million in 39 newspapers across the United States, won the 2006 and 2008 Association of Alternative Weeklies award for Best Column, and was published in book form by Scribner Press in May 2007. Arellano has been the subject of press coverage in national and international newspapers, The Today Show, Hannity, Nightline, Good Morning America, and The Colbert Report, and his commentaries regularly appear on Marketplace and the Los Angeles Times. Gustavo is the recipient of the Los Angeles Press Club’s 2007 President’s Award and an Impacto Award from the National Hispanic Media Coalition, and was recognized by the California Latino Legislative Caucus with a 2008 Spirit Award for his “exceptional vision, creativity, and work ethic.” Gustavo is a lifelong resident of Orange County and is the proud son of two Mexican immigrants, one whom was illegal.

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