¡Ask A Mexican!
By Gustavo Arellano
—Dream a Little Dream
Dear Gabacho: The American government doesn’t even need the pretense of repealing a law in order to deport Mexican-Americans. During the 1930s, both the Hoover and FDR administrations deported tens of thousands of brown American citizens (and forced out hundreds of thousands more) to Mexico, with the excuse being the Great Depression. During the 1950s, “Operation Wetback” deported about half-a-million Mexicans, with thousands of them being American citizens of Mexican descent. To this day, you still get migra pulling Mexican-Americans to the side—did you hear about what happened to former Arizona Governor Raul Castro? The common thread in all these cases? The captured looked like “illegal immigrants,” whatever the hell that means—wait, I know! They looked Mexican, so therefore they must be illegals because all Mexicans are illegals! As I wrote before, the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program that Obama administered isn’t perfect by any means—it’s Tabasco for the taco that is illegal immigration, when what we need is a good salsa de chile de árbol—but it’s a start, and better a start than pinche limbo.
I’m a first-generation mexicana, a daughter of immigrants who speak decent English, an hija who goes to quinceañeras and gets together to make pozole on weekends—buenos tiempos. In my case, I married “the man”—a white guy from an affluent family who is climbing the corporate ladder on his way to running a multi-million dollar company. Mi problema is this: why do people who have known me for a long time, especially mi gente, feel uncomfortable around my husband and I because we’re wealthy? I’m still the same chica who loves going to Tijuana for tacos, bailando at bodas and enjoys nothing more than “chismando-ing with my amigas,” as my esposo likes to call it.
—A Veronica Castro Novela Come to Life
Dear Gabacho: I’m inclined to chalk it up to celos y envidia—jealousy and envy. That happens in every culture, though, so there must be something else for your family to hate. It ain’t the whole gabacho thing—I have many fine gabacho cousins-in-laws, and us guys only tease him if he can’t eat twelve tacos as an appetizer. So the only reason I can think of is ustedes. So you go to the quinceañeras and like to gossip with your friends—but is it symbolic ethnicity, or are you fully committed to the pocha life? Do you buy your tortillas from your local tortillería, or buy GRUMA-based bullshit? Is your husband a corporate tool, or does he make sure that the janitors who clean up at his mult-million-dollar company get a living wage and benefits? I don’t know the particulars of ustedes’ life, but it very well can be that your family considers you vendidos because you are. Not that there’s anything wrong with that, but at least know that just might be the case. Is there a bull sticker on your Mercedes? Por favor advise!