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Dear Mexican: I have a Chicana friend who comes from an upper-middle class family, goes to a prestigious PhD program and has never had to take out student loans or work a real job, but she is constantly complaining about how “oppressed” she is. Examples she gives are seemingly trivial things, such as not being called on in class, a professor being mean to her one time, and not feeling “emotionally safe.” She even said I my questioning her micro-aggression stories was itself a micro-aggression! I don’t know what to make of it—hanging out with her is hard because I have to walk on eggshells constantly. I know Chicanos and Chicanas who come from objectively worse circumstances and have had way harder lives than she has, yet don’t act like the world is against them. Does she have a victim mentality?

Gringo Blanco

Dear Gabacho: We’ve got a name for people like that in Mexican Spanish—fresas. Strawberries, because they bruise easily. Okay, so the Mexican doesn’t know the actual etymology of the snobbish meaning of fresa, but makes sense, ¿qué no? Racism against Mexicans does exist in doctoral programs nationwide, and we shouldn’t assume that raza in rarified worlds don’t feel discrimination’s sting (just ask George P. Bush). But it seems like your pal, to use the old baseball phrase, was born on third base and go through life thinking she hit un triple. Tell her to work a day as a strawberry picker to know what the hard life really is. That said, Mexicans who suffer real shit and don’t complain aren’t somehow better than llorones—we’re Mexicans in a racist society, after all, not Jesus pinche Christ. And even He cried on the cross.


I am currently incarcerated, and have a one-year subscription to a newspaper that carries your column. I am Chicano, and I’m a fan of your column. I just want to ask you a couple serious questions and I hope you can personally respond back. I’ve been reading up on Mexican history and I’m a little confused. So my first question is why did the Texas Revolution start in 1836 between Mexicans and Anglos? Secondly, how did the Battle of Texas lead to the Mexican-American War?

Pinto en La Pinta

Dear Homie in Prison: I usually don’t answer two preguntas in one shot, but I’ll make an exception for the homies in Chino. Besides, the answer is muy easy. The Texas Revolution started because Americans hate Mexicans. And the Mexican-American War happened because Americans hate Mexicans. And now you know why Donald Trump rescinded DACA. Oh, and #fucktrump.


BUY THESE BOWTIES!: Enough negativity—let’s do an experiment! Now, more than ever, good Mexicans deserve our support. An ¡Ask a Mexican! fan runs La Moustache, a Los Angeles company that does chingón bowties, but is agüitado that more raza aren’t buying his handcrafted, classy creations. So show him what’s up! Visit and place an order or 30. And this ain’t no payola—whenever the Mexican needs to wrap something around his neck for fresa parties, it’s always a cinto piteado tied in a Windsor knot.


Ask the Mexican at, be his fan on Facebook, follow him on Twitter @gustavoarellano or follow him on Instagram @gustavo_arellano!


Dear Mexican: How can I get my new Mexican girlfriend to calm down about Trump and being deported? We safely live in a sanctuary city. I have no intention of just marrying her unless something horrible happened, but I want to help her out. She is a kind, rational human being that simply has bought into the fear-mongering that Trump is instilling in her. And, while a triple orgasm might make her feel temporary relief, how can I get her to realize that we are not in a place where she is going to get deported unless she blatantly breaks a serious law?

Good Gabacho Who Gives it Good

Dear Gabacho: Wow, you’re a special kind of pendejo. A sanctuary city status doesn’t mean shit to Trump or U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions, who is threatening to cut federal funding to such cities. Sanctuary cities can’t stop la migra from picking up people for no other reason other than they’re undocumented. And the Mexican knows of cases where people were deported for riding their bike on the sidewalk. You aren’t Mexican or undocumented, and you’re obviously some deluded wimp whose gabachos privilege blinds him to his supposed love’s serious concerns. Are you sure you didn’t vote for Trump? I seriously hope your novia breaks up with you and finds a real hombre that doesn’t have his head up his culo. Finally, triple orgasm? The only girl you get off happens whenever download a clip from Pornhub.


Over the years, I have worked with, and gone to college with Mexicans who were usually Roman Catholic, Presbyterian, Latter Day Saints, and other Christian religions. However, about ten years ago, I was blessed to work with two Jewish Mexicans. What is the history of Jewish Mexican culture?

Goyim but Great

Dear Gabacho: A very long story short: Jews accompanied Hernán Cortés in his conquest of Mexico—indeed, the man who built his ships was the judio Hernando Alonso. He was also burned at the stake in 1528 for practicing Judaism, because Spanish Catholics were the ISIS of this day. Due to such terroristic ways, many Jews either hid their religion or moved to New Mexico, as far away from the Inquisition as possible. Flash-forward 500 years, and Mexico City now has a significant Jewish community, and Mexican Jews have long been accepted in the country’s upper circles, with the coolest one being celebrity chef Pati Jinich. But not all is kosher: as I wrote in one of my first columnas back in 2004, “For instance, when a Mexican thinks someone is a slob, we call the person a cochino marrano—a dirty Jew. And don’t believe your Spanish teacher when she pulls out the Webster’s and reads that marrano means “pig”—Webster’s doesn’t know mierda about Spanish etymology. “Marrano” does mean pig but was also the term used to ridicule Jews who hid their beliefs in order to survive the Spanish Inquisition.” ¡Puro pinche parr!


Ask the Mexican at, be his fan on Facebook, follow him on Twitter @gustavoarellano or follow him on Instagram @gustavo_arellano!


Dear Mexican: Why do so many Mexican women feel so jealous when other Mexican women achieve success? I have to deal with this all the time. Please explain.

A Successful Mexican Woman

Dear Pocha: Because cishet patriarchy—DUH.


How do I get over my consciousness about being seen as a “sell-out” for dating a white guy? I think if I was a receptionist, I’d feel less troubled, but I’m a professional and hate fitting into the stereotype of the successful Latina with the hyphenated last name. Is there anyway that a chola from East LA and a surfer from Malibu would not be seen as an odd couple?

Loca Pero No Naca

Dear Crazy but Not Trashy: You’re not a sell-out for dating gabachos; you’re a vendida for thinking you’re better than others because you’re a “professional.” And a secretary isn’t? Maybe the Malibu crowd think you’re a maid, and may the Eastlos crowd think your surfer is some hipster douchebag.


Why have you all kept Astrid Hadad such a secret? I just saw a show about her, and for God’s sakes! A woman who has a huge set of tits made into a skirt? THIS woman really, really needs a bigger audience for her act. Does she ever come to El Norte? Could you ask? Please? She has a wit like a razor for EVERYONE. Pretty cool—if nothing else, get her name out as she is very cool.

Galloping Gorda the Pavement Crusher

Dear Gabacha: Haddad is a chingona, but there’s a bunch of similarly subversive mujeres in Mexican music and performance art, from the days of Lola Beltrán and Gloria Trevi through the late, great Jenni Rivera and Rita Guerrero of Santa Sabina. There’s more to Mexican female art that Frida Kahlo, gentle cabrones.


My “Mexican” workmates get very excited to see go see Latin bands. (I say “Mexican” because some have been here so long they don’t speak Spanish well). These people put salsa on the jukebox whenever they get a chance. They clamor for Mexi-music at holiday parties. They seem to wrap themselves in the Mexican flag. I’ve seen their record collections, and there’s a bunch of classic rock and reggae—but, if it has Latin flavor, then they’re all over it. They even start speaking with accents. We’re talking post-grad degrees, third- or fourth-generation. Question: why can’t they motivate to see rock or reggae at free shows around town, but then get so easily excited about Latin bands?

Bruja in HB

Dear Huntington Beach Witch: Because free rock or reggae shows tend to vale madre. But I really don’t get your question. So you’re mad that assimilated Mexican-Americans like Mexican music? Why aren’t you mad at Italian-Americans for worshipping at the altar of Dean Martin and Frank Sinatra? Or Southerners for wishing to see bluegrass remain as pure as a mountain spring in the Bluegrass? That’s right: because they’re not Mexican. To paraphrase the old Annie Get Your Gun song “Anything You Can Do, I Can Do Better”: Anything Americans can do, Mexicans can’t because we’re just illegal alien savages to them. And they wonder why we planned the Reconquista…


Ask the Mexican at, be his fan on Facebook, follow him on Twitter @gustavoarellano or follow him on Instagram @gustavo_arellano!


Dear Mexican: I recently relocated from Los Angeles to Las Vegas and am longing for my Mexicans. As you know, in Los Angeles it is easy to find amazing Chicanas — whenever I wanted to meet beautiful, intelligent Mexican ladies, I would head to Main Street in Alhambra on any Thursday night and be in utter heaven. But I have not been able to get my bearings in Vegas. Do you have any insight into the Mexican social scene here, or can you offer some advice on where I should look? I would also be interested in learning some history about Mexicans in Las Vegas generally, and their current status out here.

Buscando a Mis Chicanas Desiertos

Dear Pocho: My cousin Raymond moved out to Vegas from La Puente about 20 years ago to find the good life, so you’re not looking hard enough. And once the Raiders relocate there, you’ll have your share of Silver and heinas forever more. But the Mexican only goes to Vegas to speak every summer at the Latino Youth Leadership Conference, (which takes young raza and forges them into future leaders), so I’m not the right hombre to answer your pregunta. So I forwarded it to the homie that first invited me, Edgar Flores, has been state assemblymember for Nevada’s 28th District since 2014—BOOM. Take it away, Assembly -chingón!

“More than 30 percent of the Vegas population is Latino/a—I’m guessing you’re spending too much time in Summerlin or Anthem and not enough in North and East Vegas if you don’t see beauties wrapped in bronze skin,” Flores writes. “The Clark County School District is nearly 50 percent Latino…seriously, vato, where you been looking? Whole Foods? Also, LV residents are so tired of the LA takeover so they keep all their spots hidden, but I got the info on their “hideouts.” If you’re looking for a quickie hit up, Blue Martin on Thursdays, Firefly on Fridays, or Señor Frogs on Saturdays—at all three spots, locals get down to spiced-up music. If you’re trying to keep it straight paisa, then weekends at the Broadacres Marketplace is your spot: listen to live banda and norteño music, buy some tools, eat mariscos, or open a small business—it’s all there. Seriously, it’s all there! Intellectual Chicanas are either kicking ass in their professions or at UNLV. UNLV in 2012 was designated a Hispanic Serving Institution—so you’ll see so many mujeres with a book, you’ll think you are at your abuelita’s house on a Sunday morning during her comadre bible readings. Good luck, perdido!”

Gracias, Assembly chingón Flores! And raza: He’s one of the good ones. Let’s help get him to higher office, ¿qué no?


Soon-to-Be Immigrant

Why is it that Mexicans pile into the front seat of a truck even when there is a back seat? I have seen this many times and I don’t understand why they can’t open the back door and sit back there. Do they enjoy sitting so close together? Is that why they also stand so close to you in lines at the grocery store?

Backseat I Take Cuz He Echoed “Shotgun”

Dear BITCHES: The familia that smushes into the front seat of a 1979 Ford F150 Supercab together, Reconquistas the United States together.


Ask the Mexican at, be his fan on Facebook, follow him on Twitter @gustavoarellano or follow him on Instagram @gustavo_arellano!


Dear Mexican: I’m a 23-year-old Latina attending a Texas university and 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 if what I am feeling is okay. Did you ever go through something like this type of identity crisis? And 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 okay 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 okay 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: can’t wait for your beautiful brown grandchildren to take Chicano Studies 101!


Ask the Mexican at, 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 just 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 so 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 American,” citing the seminal 2002 paper “Caries-Risk Factors for Hispanic Children Affected by Early Childhood Caries.” All studies cite poverty and 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!


Why do so many cholos like the song “I’m Your Puppet” by James & 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 Sonny 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 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. Pacific Time, on and on the Tune In radio app via KDUC. Check for the many radio stations in the Southwest.

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, be his fan on Facebook, follow him on Twitter @gustavoarellano or follow him on Instagram @gustavo_arellano!


Dear Mexican: I’m half-Mexican and half-white on my conservative Christian, Republican father’s side. Growing up, I was discouraged from learning Spanish by my father and his family (while mi abuela tried to teach me anyway) and so never learned, so 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 eight about his racist attitude toward those of 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) and going by Morgan-Perez 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 eight-year-old prima is stuck into 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 Mexican’s 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—best thing you can do to shape her young mind.


I’ve read many of the letters people have sent you here at this column, and I must say that it seems 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 the Mexican/ community. I received better service at Gonzalez Northgate Markets than I did in Wal-Mart. 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 you sent this letter in. 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 a 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, 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 on “Gravy.” The segment is Bluegrass tacos. You were interviewed and a few statements bothered me. “The US 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, 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 that have came here? Would like to know your views. My initial opinion of you is that you are holding onto the “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 is called Gravy, and it’s an extension of the James Beard-winning food journal, for which I write a column called “Good Ol’ Chico” where 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 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, or the Jews who fled pogroms, or the Okies who got out of the Dust Bowl for a better chance at life. My, how quickly Oklahomans forget their own history—sad that a Mexican has to teach you about your own people, but that happens only in America.


I always noticed that some second-generation, 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 more generations, still have an accent, and 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 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 borne by generations of assimilation in the Southwest. Us children of modern-day Mexicans sometimes get that accent, 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, 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 this event next year, I wanted your opinion on who 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 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 things fans can look forward on either side to is to see which player has enough huevos to kick Putin where Trump’s lips left a giant chupón.


I’m not searching for relationship advice, Mexican; 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?


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 other citizenship, and that Mexico will not recognize U.S. embassy legal process 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 reestablish Aztlán.


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, go to Border Patrol Employees?

El Pollo Loco

Dear Gabacho: $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, 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 and displayed prominently in museums around the world. Having grown up in Española, New Mexico, it brought 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 even smaller in the 1950′s, do you have any interest in writing a little history piece? I think it would be an interesting piece given it’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—okay, 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 over a century, was first applied to hoodlums of any race, 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 September 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 Chicanos that the culture of fixing up boats and bombs, and driving them low and slow, is now dominated by them—if anything, we appropriated gabacho culture, for once!

When I take my wife out to a Mexican restaurant, I try and order and communicate in Spanish. My wife laughs because she says I even change my accent. Am I just a pendejo gringo that the waiters are laughing at behind my back and 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 if you try to talk in Spanish, or use correct Spanish terms (“aguacates” instead of “guac,” for instance). Mexicans do not appreciate if you mimic a “Mexican” accent, mostly because there is no such thing as a universal one. Try that again next time, and don’t be surprised if your sour cream’s tang is due to the line cook’s crema.


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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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