I'm a gringo from Texas (orTejas, as known to you) living in Huntington Beach. Are there any differences between a Mexican in California and a Mexican in Texas?
Nothing But Steers and Queers
The only things I know about Texicans are that it took more than 6,000 of their ancestors to take back the tiny Alamo from 150 or so gabacho intruders and that the fan-club presidents of Texican musicians murder their idols. But in fairness to the undisputed wabs of the Mexican expatriate community, I forwarded your inquiry to the Daily Texican, a Seattle-based Tejano whose "Cholo Word of the Day" column on his eponymous blog is one of the Mexican's favorite websites.
"I don't know as many California Chicanos, so I may be way off," the Texican says. "But in Tejas, many Mexican-Americans would argue they have been accepted by the majority. Chicanos from California are much more militant than the ones from Texas but also seem much more rancho." Daily Texican went on to say Texicans dance to Tejano music—bass, accordion and polka beats—and not la quebradita—brass band, synthesizers and polka beats—like California Mexicans. "Both Texan and Californian Chicanos have kids with silver teeth and a mullet," Daily Texican adds.
Yet the Texican is way off. Primeramente, California Mexicans call themselves Mexicans, not Chicanos. And our kids don't have silver teeth and a mullet—it's gold teeth (see my picture at right; they don't call me "Gold-Tooth Gustavo" for nothing) and a shaved head topped by a pink baseball hat worn at a 45-degree angle. More importantly, California Mexicans are a proud race of handsome, hard-working gente; Texicans smell like chili beans, have protruded foreheads, are lazy, eat their young and don't put the cap back on the gas tank after filling up. Oh, and Alberto González will surely lead us to the gulags.
When I go to a party at a Mexican family's house, I sense they show a fake hospitality towards me with a strong underlining of disgust because I'm the ambassador from Crackerlandia. When I go grocery shopping at my local Gigante, I get dirty looks like I'm a black guy at a prestigious golf course. Mexicans always stare at me with a subtitle under their expressions that reads "pinche gabacho." When did Mexicans assume the long-standing role ofgabachos as making people feel unwanted and alienated if they're not the same color?
The problem isn't that Mexicans are rude; the problem is you're the outsider. All minority groups exhibit an initial skepticism toward outsiders—they sometimes even kill them. I recently attended the birthday party of a gay friend, and the dozen or so of us breeders initially sat together, politely but forcefully segregated by los otros ("the others," what polite Mexicans call homosexuals). We heteros, however, didn't resent los otros—we got that we were in a foreign environment, that we had to work for our acceptance and that it wasn't anything personal. By the end of the night, we became part of their tribe and caterwauled to "It's Raining Men" as loudly as any homo.
I wish gabachos were as accepting of minorities, though. True story: I attended a mariachi show at the Balboa Bay Club a couple of years back. While I was standing in line for a horrid Mexican buffet, a skinny, prissy thing approached. She asked if I could serve her some beans. I laughed. While I waited for the valet later that night, the same woman asked if I could grab her car. "Not unless you want it on cinder blocks," I replied. My Camry arrived. I paid the $5 charge and slipped the Mexican valet an extra $20.
Got a spicy question about Mexicans? Ask the Mexican at email@example.com. And those of you who do submit questions: include a hilarious pseudonym,por favor, or we'll make one up for you!