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White on the Outside, Brown on the Inside

Dear Mexican: I think I might be Mexican—but there are some people who might disagree. Being that you are the source of all knowledge mexicano, I thought I might ask you. Here’s the deal: My ancestors left the US in 1847 knowingly and entered recognized territorio mexicano. The U.S. and Mexico were in the middle of a war. At the end of that war, the US stole the land from Mexico. Pero eso no es mi culpa, pues. Sure my parents never identified themselves as Mexicans and most of my ancestors haven’t either. But just because I am not mestizo doesn’t mean I am any less Mexican right? I mean if you have to be mestizo then there are doubts about how full-bloodied Mexicana Salma Hayek is—and everyone knows she is a mexicanaza. Not to mention all those güeros, gabachos and gringos who emigrated to Mexico in the last century, like Trotsky’s daughter. Aren’t they Mexican? Cotorreo en casa con mijita, and I listen to El Tri, Los Tigres and Agustin Lara. I know the difference between jitomates and tomates. If you have to be born in Mexico, then well, maybe you, The Mexican, aren’t Mexican either, right? Oh, and by the way, I do think we all can be americanos and estadounidenses (Estados Unindos Mexicanos no?). Oh, and by the way we eat guajolote for thanksgiving, not pavo so I’m not a Spaniard. Maybe I need to be twice as good of a Mexican to be Mexican though. Gotta go plan that Doce de Diciembre fiesta.

Semilla de Cacao (White Outside, Brown Inside)

Dear Cacao Seed Gabacha Mexicana: As I’ve written before, some of the más chingones Mexicans I know are pure-blooded gabachos; some of the biggest Mexican frauds I’ve encountered are fresas from Jalisco. I’ve discovered that we’re far more accepting of gabachos who try to pass themselves off as Mexican than pochos who might proclaim their love for the patria yet don’t speak perfect Spanish—that’s why Morrissey, Charles Bronson, Benny Hill and even that pendejo Rick Bayless, for instance, are honorary Mexicans, while a Chicano four generations removed is derided as a phony. And now you know why Mexico can’t get its pinche act together…

 

When I set decorative-type items with rectangular bases—say, square vases or square Limoges boxes—on tables or cabinets, I set them so the straight lines of the box or vase are parallel with the straight lines of the table or cabinet. Sort of like when I put a stamp on a postcard, I try to make the corner of the stamp match the corner of the postcard. Now, I have had multiple Mexican maids over the years, and one curious thing to me is how most of them will take those vases and boxes and tissue dispensers, and turn them askew, so the box or vase edge is at an angle to the table edge. It’s like they take horizontal Washington Monuments and tilt them into Leaning Towers of Pisa. It’s happened enough I know this is an aesthetic Mexican preference, and not an accident. Is there a cultural reason for this Mexican “askew preference”? Or is it just an unexplainable quirk?

I Ask You About Askew

Dear Gabacho: Same reason why we paint our houses garish colors, hang portraits of a bleeding Jesus in our living rooms, and put bull stickers on our truck: askew is for those who know how to live. Straight lines is the domain of gabachos—and the only people pendejo enough to want to live like them are people who think Ted Cruz is this country’s brown Messiah.

 

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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