By On the occasion of our 20th anniversary
By Gustavo Arellano
By R. Scott Moxley
By Alfonso Delgado
By Courtney Hamilton
By Joel Beers
By Peter Maguire
By Charles Lam
Illustration by Mark DancyDear Mexican,
Why is it that Mexicans can be put into two working classes: Those who work their asses off while everyone else takes a siesta, and those who take a siestawhile everyone else works their asses off?
PUTO, you have to realize it's the parents who never take the siesta—it's their children who slag off and become the stereotypical lazy Mexican gabachosso relish. In a 1993 sociological study, famed ethnographers Alejandro Portes and Min Zhou found that the more assimilated a Mexican-American youngster was, the worse his lot in life would be. "Seeing their parents and grandparents confined to humble menial jobs and increasingly aware of discrimination against them by the white mainstream," Portes and Zhou wrote, "U.S.-born children of earlier Mexican immigrants readily join a reactive subculture as a means of protecting their sense of self-worth." Translation: Mexican kids see their parents sweat and toil to move out of that Santa Ana apartment and into a dingy Anaheim condo, and then resign from life. While the parents continue to work 18-hour days to make the rent, the kids leave for college, join an activist group such as MEChA, wear a Che shirt for a couple of years and travel through Central America to "find themselves." They return as shiftless, lazy flojoswho become vegetarians and talk of revolution while bouncing from collection job to collection job. In other words, they become Americans.
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