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How Can I Reclaim My Mexican Heritage?
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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 grew up in Rock Town, Duarte) since inheriting it after he passed in 2010. My father never taught me to speak español, which haunts me…help! For instance, I try to practice my Spanish when I order at the local taco truck. Sometimes, I feel like it’s not well received because I get answered back in English. I don’t want to come off as condescending. It’s not that I assume that they don’t know how to speak English—I’m just trying to see if someone other than my boyfriend can understand me (he’s half-Dominican, and shares some of my same cultural dilemmas). I try to participate in my neighborhood’s various events, and I’m learning my aunt’s tamale recipes and such. Any other things this half-xican should try?

Mexican in SGV

Dear Pocha: Primeramente, you need to get it out of your cabeza that you need to speak Spanish to be a proper Mexican. Cuauhtémoc didn’t, and they still built a statue of him in Tijuana. And take a chill pastilla: If your local taquero responds to you en inglés when you try out your Spanish, it’s probably because he has pity on you and is trying to make you feel comfortable, so don’t take it as an insult. I’m glad you’re learning your tía’s tamale recipes, and I’d actually focus on that to reclaim your heritage—food is the great transmitter and keeper of culture, and symbolic ethnicity is how, fifth-gen Irish-Americans can still claim they’re from County Cork despite having as much in common with a shantytown Irish as a Trump piñata does with the Santo Niño de Atocha. The most important thing is that you’re proud of your mexicanidad, and you’re most likely better off than your asshole half-hermanos—stay classy, Orange County!

 

I’ve heard a style of Mexican music that intrigues me, yet I cannot find the name of it. It’s similar to mariachi, as it usually has a small group, upright bass, guitar, etc. The vocal harmonies are very, very good. Almost sounds like the Beatles with jazzy overtones. I have heard songs like “Triana Moreno” and “La Bamba.” I did an Internet search, and the closest thing I could find is son jarocho; however, pictures show bands from Veracruz using harps and other different instruments. The style I am trying to find has conventional instruments. There was a band that played this style a few years back at Acapulco, the restaurant in Orange on Katella Avenue near a big theatre. I also recall that my mom had a record back in the early 60’s called Los Pinguinos at El Shrimp Bucket. This is the recording I loved as a child. The vocal harmonies were extremely good. The music is obviously not mariachi, as there are no horns or violins. I would appreciate you pointing me in the right direction!

Living in Seizure World

Dear Viejito Gabacho: Since when has a harp not been “conventional”? I found your album on eBay, but no way am I spending $35 on it. I did look at the tracks, however, and the mix of Mexican classics and the songs you mentioned peg Los Pinguinos’ style as trio. Oh, and there’s the whole thing of YouTube having tracks of Los Pinguinos—you do know about YouTube, right? Next time you have a question for the Mexican, make it a true head-scratcher, like what happened to los 43 de Ayotzinapa or why Mexicans root for Chivas when a fourth-division German team would send them to la chingada.

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

 
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  1. Reclaim your Mexican heritage by moving your ass to Mexico. And take thirty million of your closest friends with you.

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    • Agree: syonredux
    • Replies: @Kyle a
    Yup. That was too easy.
    , @J1234

    Q: what can I do to reclaim my heritage?
    A: by moving your ass to Mexico. And take thirty million of your closest friends with you.
     
    Amen, brother. Oh, and he can stop calling himself "white" on the census form, too.
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  2. @RadicalCenter
    Reclaim your Mexican heritage by moving your ass to Mexico. And take thirty million of your closest friends with you.

    Yup. That was too easy.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Bill Jones
    Yup, Pretty much the sort of no-brainer even a Mexican can understand.
  3. “Reclaim your Mexican heritage”

    that seems odd to me……even though my ancestors were from some where else MY “heritage” is American. And if I didn’t feel connected to America i wouldn’t be here.

    it’s pretty simple isn’t?

    As i read in a quote once “America has become a country of quarreling minorities” who all want to hyphenate what it means to be American.

    BTW yesterday the comments were closed for this post? And i was getting all kinds of error messages so i was thinking the site was being DOS attacked.

    Read More
  4. Why would you want to reclaim your Mexican heritage? Dry off your back, change your name, learn English and become an American already.

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    • Replies: @iffen
    Why would you want to reclaim your Mexican heritage?

    It is going to be very valuable come the Reconquista.
  5. @Ironfist666
    Why would you want to reclaim your Mexican heritage? Dry off your back, change your name, learn English and become an American already.

    Why would you want to reclaim your Mexican heritage?

    It is going to be very valuable come the Reconquista.

    Read More
  6. I was looking for an article at Unz that might correspond to my modest intellect and stimulate me to comment. I was running out of options in my perusals and reluctantly said to myself, “What the heck?– lets see what Gus is up to.”

    Alas, this one is just too far over my head. Back to my basket.

    Read More
    • Replies: @iffen
    Don't sell yourself short, James Robert, you have potential.
  7. @Jim Bob Lassiter
    I was looking for an article at Unz that might correspond to my modest intellect and stimulate me to comment. I was running out of options in my perusals and reluctantly said to myself, "What the heck?-- lets see what Gus is up to."

    Alas, this one is just too far over my head. Back to my basket.

    Don’t sell yourself short, James Robert, you have potential.

    Read More
  8. @RadicalCenter
    Reclaim your Mexican heritage by moving your ass to Mexico. And take thirty million of your closest friends with you.

    Q: what can I do to reclaim my heritage?
    A: by moving your ass to Mexico. And take thirty million of your closest friends with you.

    Amen, brother. Oh, and he can stop calling himself “white” on the census form, too.

    Read More
  9. More importantly, why would you want to? If I wanted to reclaim my Irish or Dutch or German heritage it would be a simple matter to go where such heritage is appropriate.

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    • Replies: @interesting
    "If I wanted to reclaim my Irish or Dutch or German heritage it would be a simple matter....."


    of racism.
  10. @OutWest
    More importantly, why would you want to? If I wanted to reclaim my Irish or Dutch or German heritage it would be a simple matter to go where such heritage is appropriate.

    “If I wanted to reclaim my Irish or Dutch or German heritage it would be a simple matter…..”

    of racism.

    Read More
    • Replies: @OutWest
    I’d be the same race here or there. I’m describing culture not race. And I’m staying.

    Race is fixed while culture is extrinsic and easily changed. We may differ on this, but I see a country as defined much more by culture than race. To repeat, my forbearers came to America for its dominate English/Scottish culture and work ethic rather than its racial makeup, i.e. mixed with a large black contingent.
  11. @interesting
    "If I wanted to reclaim my Irish or Dutch or German heritage it would be a simple matter....."


    of racism.

    I’d be the same race here or there. I’m describing culture not race. And I’m staying.

    Race is fixed while culture is extrinsic and easily changed. We may differ on this, but I see a country as defined much more by culture than race. To repeat, my forbearers came to America for its dominate English/Scottish culture and work ethic rather than its racial makeup, i.e. mixed with a large black contingent.

    Read More
  12. The best way to reclaim your Aztec=Mayan=Mexican heritage is to move back to Mexico or Guatemala. Just GTFO! and do us both a favor.

    Read More
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