Dear Mexican: I love ethnic foods, and I always ask people of ethnic origins which local restaurants they like to eat at. Whenever I ask a Mexican what Mexican restaurants they like best, the answer is always “I don’t like the way any of them make their food.” I live in Phoenix, which has a Mexican restaurant on every corner that is run by Mexicans. Don’t tell me that they all Americanize their food for us gabachas. What gives?
Fajita-less In Phoenix
Dear Gabacha: Phoenix and the cities around it have a great Mexican food scene, from the alta cocina fare at Barrio Café to the Globe-style buttered burritos at Casa Reynoso in Tempe and un chingo of Sonoran eateries with their fabulous caldo de queso, the greatest soup on Earth. But it’s never good enough for Mexicans. Oh, we’ll go out to eat at Mexican spots, but no one can cook like their mami or primos during a carne asada Sunday, and especially not in el Norte because…well, because, okay? Don’t question Mexicans! Such Mexican arrogance filters down to our soccer squad—and now you know why El Tri won’t ever get to even the semifinals of the FIFA World Cup until Cuauhtémoc himself becomes our forward. And I’m not talking about Blanco…
I moved to the United States 15 years ago from Mexico as a student and now I am a full U.S. citizen with a great job. However, now that I’m married (also a Mexican girl that also came to the US with a student visa) and we have a son born here. I’m aware of the several challenges he will have to face in his life as a Mexican-American. I would like to prepare myself and read all I can so I can help him develop without any traumas and complexes so he can be a happy individual.
Atento en Austin
Dear Attentive in Austin: N’ombre, you realize that EVERY kid born of Mexican parents in the United States comes out immediately fucked up in the caveza? Not only do the Americans consider him a perpetual potential wetback, the Mexican relatives will always ridicule how un-Mexican he is. He also gets marked with the psychological baggage of being from ni de aquí ni de allá (neither from here nor there) and having to live up that legendary quote in Selena by the Tex-Mex martyr’s fictional father: “We have to be more Mexican than the Mexicans and more American than the Americans, both at the same time! It’s exhausting!” I mean, pioneering Mexican anthropologist Manuel Gamio was writing about this pathology back in 1930 when he introduced “pocho” to the world in his Mexican Immigration to the United States. So while you are a good papi to want and help him navigate los Estados Unidos as a Mexican-American, know that it’ll be harder to get him to adulthood without any psychological baggage than it is to get Americans to give a shit about all the dead in Mexico’s drug wars caused by their love of heroin.
The other day, I was listening to the morning show of a popular Los Angeles rock station, and their caller contest was “worst smells,” or something along those lines. A caller referred to his involvement as a military “adviser” to some unnamed South or Central American nation, and spoke of the horrible smells of the charred remains of Sandinistas, jungle, and napalm, post-U.S. air strike. The giddy DJ’s then reveled in the idea of smoldering Sandinistas as though they were a plate of sizzling hot fajitas. Seeing as the most popular slurs for Latinos involve food, is it safe to assume that most gabachos are really just closet Hannibal the Cannibals?
Gabachas Love to Eat Me
Dear Pocho: Nah, they’re It, shape-shifting according to our fears. Learn from the Losers, and ignore them—they ain’t nothing but payasos, anyway!
Ask the Mexican at firstname.lastname@example.org, be his fan on Facebook, follow him on Twitter @gustavoarellano or follow him on Instagram @gustavo_arellano!