!Ask a Mexican! Web Especial

The great !Ask a Mexican! naming debate

Don Quixote

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I don't know why, but I have always called him Don Pancho. Maybe it is because he reminds me of a bastardized version of Don Francisco, who with his nicely coiffed hair and three-piece suits offers a more contemporary representation of the Mexican hombre. I have always found the logo offensive, inappropriate and hilarious. It is, for all intents and purposes, ironic use of a stereotype. The dreaded *S* word applies to general characteristics, and this one is completely outdated. Your wettest of the wetbacks would never try to look so wabby, with the exception of the mustache and gold tooth, that's just estilo! It is important to point out the image does not work alone. Coupled with the column, it challenges our perceptions and we begin to realize that the logo is there for irony, but not without some truth; after all, the column is about explaining Mexican behaviors. The text completely challenges what the image represents and subverts its power as a stereotype. If the Profe thinks that the image diminishes the work, then he has clearly missed the point of the column. But what do I know, I'm just a Mexican.

Pocha Educada

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Shame on El Profe de Yuma for not recognizing an artistic gem. I fell in love with this column a few weeks ago, and the illustration of your Papi is a very flavorful way to introduce it. As for a name, why not simply "Papi"? If that is what the portrait is, no more and no less, then let's name it such. May he be forever embedded in the minds and hearts of your readers, and yourself with him.

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In the same way that I have found Mexico and Mexicans to be deserving of my respect, so have I found the image of the broad-brimmed-hat figure sleeping under a cactus offensive. I think as well that by portraying a person from Mexico as a fat-faced grinning figure does dishonor to Mexico and Mexicans. How about using an image of a family in your column? Or a group of children? Or of grandparents? After all, family is the most important aspect of Mexico that challenges all the self-important promoters of "family values" among hateful conservatives in the U.S. Mexico represents family and community in ways that many folks in the U.S. cannot comprehend. Te felicito por tu intento de socavar los estereotipos y suminsitrar información verídica acerca de lo que es el verdadero México. Eapero que mi comentario sirva para mejorar tu labor.

A Tucsonian

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I think the picture is perfect. The name should be El Guapo. Why? Because I am El Guapo in my office. (Three Amigos character). And he looks like me, muy chulo.

El Guapo

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I, too, enjoy reading your column, but to echo El Profe from Yuma's comment, your present logo does present our culture in a somewhat less than attractive form. I'm putting it mildly, because, as a paisano (de Michoacan), I grew up reading some of the typical Mexican comics: Memin Pinguin, Borolas and such, and I understand what you are trying to convey. But some of your local readers might not relate to it in the same manner, or they may not even see any humor in it, or, worse, it may be viewed by someone with an already discriminatory attitude toward Mexicans. Rather than using your Papa's caricature, why don't you just post a photo of yourself like most columnists do? You most probably look ethnic enough to achieve the desired effect! (smile)

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I read your column in the Salt Lake City Weekly and enjoy your humor. My suggestion for name the logo is " Tortilla Fats." Muy gracias.

Baca Bob

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Your column's mascot has my vote. As you stated yourself, being Latino and using it drains its racist power. African-Americans strive to do the same thing with the "N" word, and though it is still not wholly benign (and probably never will be), the epithet's many years of circulation in the community has markedly weakened its impact as a racial slur. Of course, no matter how successfully these insults are co-opted by their erstwhile targets, their ugly history must never be forgotten. Okay, that's enough sociological analysis! Call me a fake or tell me I am in denial, but my first impression of the cartoon honestly was not "fat, dirty Mexican." I perceived a friendly guy beaming over his love of life—and perhaps a shot or two of mezcal. He embodies the clichéd infectious smile, with the disarming touch of a single gold tooth. To me, he looks like a grandfather or uncle who has just caught a glimpse of children unawares at play. That leads me to my suggestion for your logo's name. I think Tío César (as in Chávez) would be a perfect name. I know this is a caricature of your father, but Padre sounds intimidating, and Papá only works in North America when followed by "Bear" (or, in this case, Oso). Tío is a nice term of endearment for any male elder—blood relative or not—and, as you know, César Chávez was a contemporary revolutionary. Good luck!

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