¡ASK A MEXICAN!
By Gustavo Arellano
Perturbed in Pacific Palisades
Dear Gabacha: Let’s ask Chris Berman. In a 1990 Sports Illustrated profile (one of the first big ones on the legendary sportscaster, since the magazine was still lamely comparing him to Fred Flinstone), Boomer admitted to pulling the very stunt you just described. “One day in 1979, he tracked a silver Firebird down Interstate 84,” the story reads. “When it pulled into the parking lot of an elementary school, so did he. Berman got out of his station wagon and nonchalantly kicked its tires. When the driver of the Firebird walked past him, he asked her to go to breakfast with him the next day. She accepted, and four years later they were married.” Maybe your friend should’ve stopped her vehicle and met the Mexican of her dreams. Instead, she gets a yenta of a gal pal to stereotype only one group of men instead of admitting that all men are perverted pendejos one way or another. Next thing I know, you’re going to ask why Mexican construction workers make kissy-kissy sounds at women without having ever walked past a Manhattan demolition crew.
The U.S. public opposed NAFTA, so why can’t more people connect their own trade policy to the current immigration debate? Why won’t people in this country get involved, even for selfish, populist reasons? Why should Latin Americans (and poor people worldwide) have to do all the work themselves? Before I read Ohio Senator Sherrod Brown’s Myths of Free Trade, do you have any recommendations for opening the eyes of gabachos, gringos, and all the rest? Perhaps getting this published would be a start, so I will stop typing.
¡La Lucha Continua!
Dear The Struggle Continues: Here’s the problem, and you already hinted at this: I could recommend all sorts of books and authors that show the devastation NAFTA wrought on Mexico in the form of destroyed industries, and the subsequent mass migration to the United States that gabachos fret over so pinche much—but it won’t matter. The best writer on Mexican immigration’s effects on Mexico and el Norte, of course, is Los Angeles Times scribe Sam Quinones (whose books I always plug come Christmastime), but most every Chicano writer and artist has railed about NAFTA ever since it started…to the choir. How can you make gabachos care about NAFTA? Make it sing the National Anthem in a mariachi costume.