¡Ask A Mexican!
By Gustavo Arellano
Dear Mexican: How come Mexicans don’t perform in the Winter Olympics? What—no talent? Or are Mexicans afraid of snow? I’m thinking both. Also, Mexicans don’t do too well in the Summer Olympics, either—they even suck in soccer. There is plenty of snow in Mexico, so don’t use that excuse.
—Dumber, Stupider, Pendejo-er
Dear Gabacho: Lies, all lies. Mexico did participate in the 2010 Winter Olympics, in the form of some fresa Alpine skier named Hubertus von Hohenlohe, who got worldwide attention because—chingao!—he was a Mexican in the Winter Olympics. Sure, Mexico is no Norway and does have snow, but take a look at the map of the world, find the countries sharing Mexico’s latitude, and you’ll see few, if any of them participate in the Winter Olympics, let alone medal. As for the summer Olympics, Mexico had as many medalists—three—as India, and as many gold medals (two) as Argentina and Cuba, two Latin American countries that spend muchos pesos on their Olympic programs. Why the relative subpar showings? The answer is in this joke: Why doesn’t Mexico have an Olympic team? Because all the people who could run, jump and swim are already in the United States.
I’m a white American woman. My ex-boyfriend (who I have a son by) refuses to acknowledge any of his Mexican heritage. He was born in Los Angeles, his mother in Texas, his father in Ohio and his grandparents in Mexico. His parents both speak Spanish but mostly choose to use English; meanwhile I know more Spanish (which isn’t very much) than my ex! He acts as if Mexicans are stupid and not worthy of being any part of him. My son is blessed with a tan all year round, dark brown eyes and dark coarse hair, yet I’m the one who sees the beauty in this, not his father. He has said proudly that he wishes he would have a child with light hair and blue eyes. How could he be so self-hating, when he made such a beautiful child? I’m concerned that my son will grow up denying this very important part of him, all because his father has a distorted self-image. What can I do to make sure my son accepts himself and embraces what he partially came from?
—REAL Mexican-Loving Gabacha
Dear Gabacha: Self-hate has always played a role in the Mexican psyche (read the works of Nobel laureate Octavio Paz for classical insight)—but that doesn’t mean your hijo needs to fall into that vicious cycle. Not sure of your arrangement with your pendejo of an ex (dual custody? Visitation rights? Itinerant?), but the important thing for you to do is inculcate your son with Mexican culture. Sing him the songs of Cri-Cri, the Mexican version of Doctor Seuss. Have him watch Dora the Explorer, and that other show with her Diego sidekick, whoever the hell he is. Indulge hi, with Sesame Street, which has been loving Mexican culture ever since Linda Ronstadt sang ranchera classics with a Muppet mariachi, as iconic a cultural validation moment for my generation of Mexicans as the Supremes singing at the Copacabana. Graduate him into age-appropriate material (modern-day Mexican music, sexycomedias, Sabado Gigante) when applicable. And tell your ex to man up—just because he’s a self-hating Mexican, just because he got shit from his generation of playground racists, doesn’t mean he has to ruin it for his morenito. It’s the 21st Reconquista century, for chrissakes, not the era of the castas.
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