¡Ask A Mexican!
By Gustavo Arellano
—No Soy Llorón
Dear I’m Not a Crybaby: Are you kidding me? Gabachos were born complaining. From telling the Indians to give up their land to telling Mexico to give up their land to crying about illegal immigration and cars on the lawn, complaining is as crucial to the gabacho experience as fiesta is to the Mexican one. I wouldn’t pay too much attention to all the whining, though: while the squeaky rueda gets the grease, eventually the wheel falls off—and the greaser remains.
I saw this quote the other day and thought it might be right up your alley: “The only Anglos that take an interest in us are the Sociologists and the Police.” Do you know who uttered these words? Maybe it was just an inside joke among the teens in East LA during the 1970s? Do you know the phrase in Spanish, too? I’m thinking it could be more poetic in Spanish.
Dear Wab: The closest quote I could find that matches the one you offer comes from Columbia University professor Rodolfo O. de la Garza, in his 1976 paper “Mexican Americans in the United States: The Evolution of a Relationship”: “Like sociologists and educators, police have traditionally viewed Mexican Americans as inferior and crime prone. (The profe also includes this classic from J. Edgar Hoover: “You never have to bother about a president being shot by Puerto Ricans or Mexicans. They don’t shoot very straight. But if they come at you with a knife, beware.” HA! He obviously didn’t remember Rafael Cancel Miranda while wiretapping MLK). I would expand the quote you mention to include reporters. Recently, gentle readers, the Mexican’s hometown of Anaheim has made it into the national media—not because of Disneyland or the Anaheim Angels, but because of police shootings that left two Latinos dead and caused four nights of protests, one of which included the ugly spectacle of Anaheim police shooting pepper balls and bean bags into a crowd of terrified children and parents. The media is suddenly obsessed over the “two” Anaheim—white and Latino, as if it just sprung out of nowhere.
This is something that happens ALL THE TIME with Mexicans. Media never gives a shit about us until we go crazy: Amnesty rallies, protests against police, cerveza gone wild and the like. That’s why it’s crucial, Mexis, for us to become our own media. Start your blogs, get on Twitter and Facebook, take photos and videos and document what we’re really about (and always make sure to pick up your local altweekly and click on the online version of the Mexican a trillion times so we stay in business). That’s what this columna has always been about—but the Mexican can’t do it alone.
My apologies for the soapbox session, cabrones: back to your regularly schedule chichis jokes next week! Now make like a Mexican, and raise DESMADRE.