!Ask a Mexican! Web Especial

The great !Ask a Mexican! naming debate

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Please change it! Your argument that the logo is a "portrait of your father," is weak—unless, of course, your father was a cartoon character. The current logo is the Mexican equivalent of Little Black Sambo. History, eventually, will look back on the current logo like Amos and Andy posters—with disappointment and shame. Although your intention to "lessen the sting" of images such as these is admirable, your efforts fall wildly short of the goal. I assume that the majority of your wab readership will vote to keep it. Those same cabrones don't see what's wrong with the logos for the Cleveland Indians, the Washington Redskins or, for that matter, Little Black Sambo. I say you hold a logo-designing contest. The logo should say what your article really is, carnal. Something like: "I'm a Mexican, and I'm here to answer your questions regarding other Mexicans." Like an informal cultural consulate, or ambassador. A helping hand. Not a clown.

Change is Good

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The logo reminds me of an "Uncle Sam Wants You" poster but for Mexicans. Most Mexicans don't take offense to these types of things or don't see them in any kind of negative way. The only thing I thought was, "Damn, if I keep eating all these tortas, I will look like that fucking cartoon in the Houston Press." What the hell does that Profe want? A Che Guevara-looking logo? Fuck Che and all of the pendejos who are down with communism but support capitalism by buying those dumb-ass shirts at the mall. Profesor de Yuma should watch some sexicomedias, read some "Condorito" comics and chill.

Torta Power!

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I too found your articles through the advent of high technology, and would like to give you my two pesos regarding your Papi's very nice disposition. The portrait of your Papi is very becoming. It has bling, which is not only important, factual and impressive, but it is the most practical way to hide tooth decay. And I feel his name must be Paco. It is very obvious that he has recently overheard some very important news! And he is here to share it with the world. So, I say, let it be, as it is a great representation of the stereotyping that has long since hampered relations between white American males and the handsome Latino community. However, it will continue to have no effect on the relationships and wife swapping activities of the Salt Lake City, Utah, females and their insatiable appetite for the dark meat.

Maui Garcia

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Well, I think you're a genius for coming up with this logo—stereotype or not—and it does make me laugh! You should keep it. Why not use a stereotype name such as Pancho or Pablo?

La Gitana

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Your logo doesn't make me laugh, it doesn't make me cry. It saddens me. You're far from being a "genius" for printing it. I think you're a fool. Your silly column with its absurd logo serves no other purpose but to perpetuate bigotry and hatred.

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Pure Genius! I love the column's logo. Keep it. It's part of our culture to make fun of ourselves. People already have a misinterpretation of Mexicans embedded in their mind; why not embrace it and turn it into something positive. The way I see it, yes, my ancestors picked fruit and had to wear sombreros to keep the sun out of their eyes. Yes, we are overweight because our mamas cook with manteca. Yes, this is a representation of who I am or, at least, a reminder of what I came from. I don't see why that's such a bad thing. When I look at that logo, I see a hard-working, struggling individual who is happy, not for what he has or looks like, but the joy and simplicity of being someone, even if Profe thinks the logo is just some dirty wab. Besides, the logo reminds me of my late, great abuelito Pancho. Let's name the logo Don Francisco Villasenor.

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A few years ago, I was working for a small, Mexican-owned architecture firm in Downtown Los Angeles. The firm partners included one Honduran, one Mexican-American and one gay gringo from Minnesota. (I know, it sounds like the beginning of a bad joke, but it's true). This firm is the only architecture office in the entire U.S. that honors Cesar Chavez Day as a holiday. So, I figured these guys would be pretty hip to appreciate the ¡Ask a Mexican! humor. I put up an enlarged copy of your ¡Ask a Mexican! logo on the office refrigerator door. I then got comments similar to the ones you get about how insulting the image is. One of the architects on staff is a 65-year-old veteran of the Chicano experience during the 1960s in East LA. He took dead serious umbrage at the image. A few other younger staffers—Berkeley, UCLA Mechista types—also took insult by the image. I had to defend the logo, saying that, in fact, the caricature is a spitting image of one of my uncles from Mexico who always believed that he was born 30 years too late, since he would have been a dead ringer for one of Pancho Villa's soldados. Worse still, the image actually looked like one of the firm partners, the Honduran guy, who grew up in the Pico-Union area of LA and loves Mexican burritos. He's a big guy. I still believe this image is pure genius. The image distills the worst stereotypes of a lazy Mexican bandito as viewed by the gringo, which is why it is offensive to some Chicanos. To those with ties to the homeland south of the border—and who cringe with horror while we listen to Villaraigosa or Huizar butcher Castilian Spanish—we can appreciate the humor. The ¡Ask a Mexican! image reminds us of our fathers, uncles, cousins or benignly corrupt happy politicians from the small towns we all come from (me, from a small town in Los Altos de Jalisco). I would say that if a crime was committed in that small town and you walked in with the ¡Ask a Mexican! logo, at least 30 men could easily fit the profile. I would bet a carreta-load of tequila that all these men would not be offended either and would probably be honored that their likeness is viewed by thousands of Internet readers worldwide. So, depending on what kind of Mexican one is—a born-and-bred U.S. one or one who was sneaked across the border inside a large canasta of pan dulce when he was 4 years old in 1968 (Border Patrol agent: "That's a lot of pan dulce." My dad: "Sí, señor, I have a big family to feed.")—you would certainly get different reactions to the logo.

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