Can a Gabacho Be More Mexican Than a Mexican?

[¡Ask a Mexican!] And why would an image of the Virgin of Guadalupe cause so much controversy?

DEAR MEXICAN: Please settle a dispute. I'm an Anglo who has been living and working in Culiacán, Sinaloa, Mexico, for years. (I married one of the famous Sinaloa beauties.) My Spanish is passable, and I live and function in Spanish. Where I live, there are virtually no other North Americans than English teachers at the university. Everyone else I know is Mexican. In every way, from television and radio to shopping and cooking at home, I live like every other culiche. I like to think of myself as sinaloense, and after all these years, my friends and family are coming to consider me . . . perhaps not Mexican, but not exactly an extranjero, either. I don't claim to be Octavio Paz, but I know Mexican literature and history fairly well and love and appreciate Mexican culture (actually, I think there is more cultural difference between Sinaloa, Tamaulipas and Quintana Roo than there is difference between Massachusetts, Alabama and California—but that's another subject).

On the other hand, my friend from Colorado was born and raised in Denver. His Spanish is marginal, and he lives and works just like every other North American. His grandparents came from Jalisco, however, and he has a Spanish surname. He has visited family in Mexico briefly once since I have known him. In every way, he lives as a middle-class gabacho.

The dispute is this: I am increasingly tired of him making snide comments about how I don't understand Mexico and Mexicans. First, he has never spent any time here—perhaps 20 days in his life. He has never lived here, and he needs a translator when he visits. Second, he knows next to nothing about Mexican history or culture. It's sad he doesn't know Morelos from Guerrero, can't tell a corrido from banda, and doesn't know tacos al pastor from tacos Sonora. Finally, a lot of what he says seems frankly wrong. His perspective on Mexican culture seems a lot more East LA cholo than the way my middle-class friends and family here live and think.

His response is always that I can't understand the real Mexican culture because I'm Anglo. "It's in the blood," he'll say. I reply that those are almost the exact words white racists would use to exclude him from being a "real American" and you are where you live and whom you choose to be. I sure feel like I understand as much as a third-generation, English-speaking kid from Colorado. Your opinion?

Culiche Gringo

DEAR GABACHO: You know why you're more Mexican than your pendejo of a pocho pal? Because you're smart enough to call yourself a culiche, what natives of Culiacán call themselves (although I'm more familiar with culichi, but what do I know—I'm just a pinche zacatecano). You also refer to gabachos as "North Americans," a literal translation of the Spanish norteamericanos, yet another of our many synonyms for gabachos. All that said, have sympathy on the pocho. You yourself note you are whom you choose to be, and if he wants to practice symbolic ethnicity, despite being less Mexican than a Taco Bell shell, by all means, allow him! National identity is as fluid as the Pacific, Culiche, and you are the grand gabacho proof of it. Now, FedEx me some aguachile and chilorio, chingón.

 

GOOD MEXICAN OF THE WEEK! A decade ago, Chicana artist Alma Lopez released Our Lady, a digital collage that depicted the Virgin of Guadalupe as a living, breathing woman wearing Her trademark green shawl, as well as a bikini made of flowers. It proved one of the most momentous artworks of this millennium, provoking equal parts praise and outrage by tapados. Its influence is recounted in the recently released Our Lady of Controversy, Alma López's Irreverent Apparition, a collection of essays from Chicana scholars on the subject complete with the chingona DVD, I Love Lupe, a short documentary on Chicana art's constant tweaks of the iconic Guadalupe image. Essential reading for art and Chicana/o Studies freaks alike!

 
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Mixtli
Mixtli

My friend Gabacho, your friend is not Mexican as we wasn't raised in Mexico. Moreover he didn't embraced the Mexican Culture. He is what we call a Pocho and most of them are "putos" if not all. They think cool being Mexicans, machos, and they distort out real culture making us look like stupid monkeys with all their "Pocho" culture aberrations. They're also a bunch of arrogant people when they go to Mexico and feel gringos. So this disambiguation is stupid, that's why "Pochos" are "putitos nalgas meadas". No difference with a real Mexican if you respect our culture. Cheers!

Mixtli
Mixtli

My friend Gabacho, your friend is not Mexican as he wasn't raised in Mexico. Moreover he didn't embraced the Mexican Culture. He is what we call a "pocho" and most of them are "putos" if not all. They feel cool being Mexicans, machos, and they distort out real culture making us look like stupid monkeys with all their "pocho" cultural aberrations. They're also a bunch of arrogant people when they go to Mexico and feel gringos. So this disambiguation is stupid, that's why "pochos" are "putitos nalgas meadas". Re your topic, being from the US I think there's no difference with a real Mexican as long as you respect and embrace our culture. Good luck!

eddie
eddie

Orale buenos dias Mexican.Espero que este mesg encuentre usted y su familia en bien salud y en los mejores de espiritos.I'm not SURe about a "reaction" that CRoseJack tweeted.She sez that a "gaba en mexico will never become a Mexican".But a Hispanic in the U.S.can become a true American".What i would like to know is if a person wants to become a "naturalized citizen"of Mexico,is that person allowed to become a citizen?.Granted a test of some kind maybe involved like here in the U.S.A..Also she sez that a Hispanic in U.S.A.can become a true American.I honestly think that in the eyes of many Americans they dont consider "Naturalized Citizens" true Americans.I do,but i've also noticed that the good old U.S of A.has went backwards in time.To me it seems like ever since Obama became EL MERO MERO,alot of racist roaches have come out of the woodwork.What trips me out the most is that THE PREZ grew up,studied and live his life just like everyother huero.He's only black por tinta de cuello,,Gracias

eddie
eddie

i have 2 say that this lame person "together"he wrote somethings that to me it seems he has alot of resentment and hate that has been building up inside him/her for sometime.1st he comments about "can a gabacho be more Mexican then a Mexican"he wrote "hell yeah you are more Mexican then your friend in Colorado.You are a lame ass.I cant understand where you come to that conclusion.The gabacho does not have a single drop of Mexican blood that runs through his body,his friend in Colorado does.I myself give all my respect to the gaba for learning the language,and being interested in my culture.And he took an interest in one of the famous beauties de Sinaloa,cant knock him for that.But you "together"either you dont have the huevos,ni la cora pa decir que eres tu?.Yo soy Mejicano/Americano,born and raised in West Los Angeles.Venice to be exact.What tripped me out the most was the line,"mostly cholo gangster kids think they embody everything".To me that sounds like the words of someone who has a personal conflict or just cant stand the fact that these so called cholo gangsters are the way they are.I honestly think that you may have started a problem with 1 of these so called gangster cholos,And to say that they are totally BASTARDIZING it for all of us.Who are you actually referring to as all of us?.Because i am SURe i dont want you on my side,,laterz lame,,Eddie El Verdadero MEJICANO,,roses are red,lemons are sour,beans and tortillas make chicano power..

Glilia993
Glilia993

F**k you seem to be more mexican THAN I am. I was born in Jalisco, Mexico, what the f do I know about being Mexican? I don't really listen to the music, don't watch novelas, don't read anything in Spanish unless I have to. I don't know how to make tamales or pozole or birria or menudo... But I would love to do and know and all that ... Can you teach me mi amigo?

lishuzheng
lishuzheng

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lishuzheng
lishuzheng

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Barbara Berrocal
Barbara Berrocal

For the "Mexican" who wrote a question in the column "Can a Gabacho Be More Mexican Than a Mexican?":

I have some things in commun as you. Right now I am reading an interesting book that you may like to read. It is called "Arrival City (How the Largest Migration in History is Reshaping our World)", written by Doug Saunders. Basically it made me think about our society and education when I read your questions.

Barbara

accordioncannon
accordioncannon

a chicano yes...but a paisa mexican ...hahah hell no....its like saying can a gabacho be a hillbilly...

Bill T.
Bill T.

Contrasts with the enclaves of Norte Americanos who isolate themselves from the local culture as much as possible (San Felipe comes to mind).

bichicori
bichicori

Mexican culture is better than American culture, why it is more rich and diverse, with great tradition, usa is based on principles than conquest, colonialism and intervention, murder, I feel sorry for this beautiful country of working people.

together
together

Are you some kind of Mexican supremacist? Who are you to call any culture "better" than anyone else's?

Xamuca
Xamuca

The debate and article seems superficial to me when nobody is talking about colonization and racialization. Rather than asking if a "gabacho" can be "more mexican than mexican," the question should be, what is the relationship between race, culture, and power? This would open up the conversation to talk about the historical racism (that is central to modern life) that dehumanizes many people of color globally, addressing why it is that there could be 3rd generations mexicans in the US that are stripped from their culture. How it is possible to have a white person ask if they could be more "mexican" by knowing more "facts", data, and/or information about a culture, whithout questionting the privlege embedded in this? To be white, live in Mexico, know authors, use the internet, for example, means that one has citizenship to cross borders, a certain level of knowledge/education (literacy), etc. With this in mind, the question, instead, would be, "why does a 'gringo' pose the question, 'can a gringo be more mexican than a mexican' and why does it matter?"

nunez
nunez

En los estados unidos americanos la mayoria de la raza que yo conosco ni saben como hablar en espanol ni tampoco saben casi nada de su cultura. Es triste. Yo le mando 'kudos' por su interes y por su enfrascamiento en nuestra cultura. La proxima vez que su amigo le de lata, contestele en espanol y dejelo asi. Tal vez, usted se esta riendo del espanol que yo estoy usando aqui. Esta bien.

Bill T.
Bill T.

Hm, I should have read on, I could have just liked your post instead of adding my redundant post.

Code Blue
Code Blue

The litmus test is when you get in a traffic accident. If you stop and exchange license and insurance information, your still stuck as a white bread gabacho. If you speed away before la policia arrive, Saludos mexicano!

Pepe
Pepe

Whereas if you spout "rubbin' is racin'" or some other such inbred drivel, greetings Code Blue!

together
together

Hell yeah you are more "Mexican" than him. I hate it when these mostly cholo gangster kids think that they embody everything that is Mexican but end up totally bastardizing it for all of us.

Pepe
Pepe

¡A güevo que sí!My stepfather is a güerito from Seattle and he's more mexicano than just about anyone I've ever met (for better and worse!).Culture isn't carried in the blood; hemoglobin is. Culture is in the mind and yours seems more open than most, bien hecho.

mazbook
mazbook

¡Muy bien!, estimado señor Arellano. The only thing that the culiche gringo didn't hit on (as the English-speaking community in Culiacán is so tiny) is that those of us who live the same as our Mexican friends, and in my case family, anywhere there is a large gringo community, and Mazatlán sure has that, pretty soon gets snubbed by those gringos, as he or she are considered to have "gone native".

patasalada gringo

909Jeff
909Jeff

The answer is yes you can... I'm as northern European as they come but before I was able to marry my sexy mexican maiden. Her Tata, Nino's and Hermanos jumped me in to the Familia. So I'm pretty sure I'm more mexican than Gustavo!

 
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