By Gustavo Arellano
By R. Scott Moxley
By Alfonso Delgado
By Courtney Hamilton
By Joel Beers
By Peter Maguire
By Charles Lam
By Charles Lam
DEAR READERS: ¡VIVA MÉXICO, CABRONES! Happy 200th cumpleaños to America’s favorite country, to the land of pretty señoritas and eternal economic crises, to the world’s greatest, drunkest bola de hijos de la chingada! Celebrate this 16th, drive safe, and guys: Remember to wear a helmet before going into battle with a gabacha, if you coger my drift. On with the questions!
DEAR MEXICAN: On the Fourth of July, my mother’s neighbors in Pico Rivera decided to rope off the street and have a block party. She was given a flier that said in English, “Come Celebrate Independence Day!” but on the flip side, in Spanish, it said, “Vengán a Celebrar el Día de la Manzana!” I’ve Googled my culo off, and I can’t find any reference to celebrating Apple Day in July. Is this just a made-up holiday by illegal immigrants so they can party down on the Fourth and still thumb their noses at the gringos by NOT celebrating American Independence Day? It doesn’t make sense—my wife’s family snuck over here illegally in the ‘70s, and they always looked forward to the Fourth of July barbecues, etc., and the only Apple Day I can find is in Great Britain in October. My mom said that if they had put “Independence Day” on the flier, people would have all shown up two months late, on Sept. 16. What gives?
Ready to Pop Some Picollo Petes
DEAR WAB: I think what we see here is what Chicano scholars like to call rasquache: the uniquely Mexican art of creating beauty from crap. I’m talking black-velvet Elvis portraits, additions to homes, fitting 19 people to a car, the entirety of Mexico City, and the comedic stylings of George Lopez. In this case, it seems your neighbors apply rasquachismo to semiotics by associating the Fourth of July with apple pie and creating a new nickname for the holiday, so don’t take offense. Hey, at least they translated the invitation, instead of the usual gabacho ruse of calling the police when Mexis start parking on lawns because they invited too many people to the house again.
DEAR MEXICAN: Why are Mexicans in Southern California professing so much hate toward African-Americans? Especially since they are mostly Catholics, and I believe racism is against all Catholic teachings? Who’s teaching these mostly young Mexicans to hate and kill African-Americans? I’m not talking about killing gangbanging African-Americans, but innocent people such as the girl murdered in Long Beach. I’m sure you know that an African was the president of Mexico and fought for its independence! So, what’s the problem?
Know Nothing, and Proud
DEAR READERS: I received the above carta a couple of years ago, when a spate of murders and beatings between Mexicans and African-Americans got the media to do specials, write breathless stories and wonder out loud if the reason that Mexicans targeted negritos was because of an anti-black gene embedded in the Mexican soul. Know Nothings, of course, used the anti-negrito crimes to further push their claim that Mexicans are evil and thus worthy of deportation. Flash-forward to this year, in Staten Island, where it emerged that Mexicans were being targeted by African-Americans because of their ethnicity. Did the media push the story that the perps targeted Mexis because African-Americans are inherently racist? No, because that’s faulty logic, just like the anti-black-gene canard.
Ethnic conflict in the United States is as American as Apple Day—not excusing it and not denying that Mexico does have its own unique racial pendejadas, but the Mexican finds it highly amusing how easily the media and Know Nothings cast us as inherent racists yet don’t apply the same standard to our persecutors. What’s good for the ganso isn’t good for the gander, apparently. Finally, yes: Mexico had a black president (Vicente Guerrero) and a freedom fighter (José María Morelos).
This column appeared in print as "Special Mexican Independence Day Edition."