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
DEAR MEXICAN: I am a retired gringa living in Mazatlán, Sinaloa. Most of us foreigners here are liberal and sympathetic to the immigration problem, which the U.S. Congress refuses to address in a meaningful way. Unfortunately, I get lots of e-mails from acquaintances “apprising” me of the horrible situation in el Norte and how all their tax dollars are being spent to educate and provide medical and Social Security benefits (yes! They say that!) to these “criminals.” I used to laboriously write letters and cite statistics and all that. IT DOESN’T DO ANY GOOD. Now, I ignore the messages but feel guilty about not trying to correct the bullshit. Can you give me a good short response to those e-mails? Something in Spanish telling them they are stupid would be nice, but some of them are actually friends! I will be forever grateful.
Gringa Near the Agua
DEAR GABACHA CERCA DE LA WATER: No, you should always respond with facts and stats, preferably disseminated by your humble Mexican scribe. Here’s a new one: Did you know that fully 100 percent of supporters of Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio and Arizona Governor Jan Brewer are fools? It’s the truest stat since someone determined that the sun rises and sets every day in the world’s non-polar regions. In reality, por favor, never stop spreading the truth. The truth is like a Mexican: It can be ignored, spat upon, ridiculed, even deported, but it wins out. It perseveres. And the truth (and a Mexican) eventually multiplies to the point where it overwhelms anything before it. Name-calling and insults are muy fun but pointless unless you come armed with those facts and stats—that has been this column’s mantra since día one. Please do continue to provide stats to your so-called amigos. As for the good, short response to end each letter: ¡A LA CHINGADA CON ARPAYASO Y BREWJA!
DEAR MEXICAN: I’m an old-school veterano wondering why twenty- and thirty-something Hispanic professionals are so afraid of the Chicano Movement. Is it because of those mean-looking Brown Berets? The female Brown Berets wore miniskirts and go-go boots, but, I admit, even they looked angry. Or is it because of those Chicano and Chicana high-school students who busted out of school to protest racism when they should have been going to their private SAT prep classes (oh, wait, we couldn’t afford those)? Or is it because some Movement leaders such as Reies Tijerina spoke Spanish really fast? I know there are no more problems for young raza with the educational system and foreign wars, but maybe ya’ll should cut the poor old movimiento some slack.
En Pie de Lucha (With My Cane)
DEAR IN STRUGGLE (CON MI BASTÓN): Same reason those same professionals criticize undocumented college students for staging protests outside the offices of Democratic Party bigwigs who don’t push enough for the DREAM Act, or why trade unions join forces with captains of industry today, alliances that would’ve wobbled the senses of their predecessors. It’s the same reason why the descendants of wops (like Arpayaso), micks, Polacks and Krauts agitate for Know Nothing policies today. It’s the American way, profe: When people get their slice of the pastel, they forget the radicalism and activism that created the path that allows them to exist and be successful pendejos. But I do have to admit that in the case of hard-line Chicanos, many of our more-assimilated, less-radical hermanos y hermanas also don’t like y’all because of your nasty puritanical streak. Can’t tell you how many letters I get from otherwise-down people whom yaktivists ridicule because their skin is too light, their Spanish too pocho, or because they can’t recite the poetry of Nezahuacoyotl upon request. Onward with la causa, but let’s leave ideological tests solely to politics and not to how mexicano one is, ¿sale?