Is 'Mexican' an Offensive Word?

[¡Ask a Mexican!] And why can't Mexicans get over the Mexican-American War?

DEAR MEXICAN: There's something I'm concerned about or, rather, bothered by. I was born and raised in Mexico, but I've been here for eight years. All the talk about 9/11 is too much because every year brings a rehash of the tragedy. I really think that remembering the event for two or five years is enough, but 10 years is too much. ¿Qué piensas? Is it the gabacho culture to not get over things, or does this country not have enough culture, and this tragedy now is part of American civism?

Born Allá, Born Outstanding, Still Outstanding

DEAR BABOSO: Are you kidding me? We Mexicans are one to criticize on this subject, given we've never gotten over the Conquest and continue to bitch about how the United States stole half of Mexico like a second-grader crying that someone stole his lunchtime burrito.

 

GOOD MEXICAN OF THE WEEK! Muy sorry for this extended Good Mexican—and for just answering one pregunta this semana—but have I got a story to tell. ¡Ask a Mexican! recently started appearing in Weld for Birmingham, a just-opened alt-weekly in the Magic City that is already proving itself as one of the few sane voices left in Alabama. Needless to say, this columna is already raising desmadre—but not in a way I could've possibly foreseen in this day and age. I'll let Weld reporter Madison Underwood take it from here:

This week, Weld got a voicemail from a lady at an America's Thrift Store location that receives our papers. The lady said they would like to stop receiving our paper because they're a Christian organization, and though our first issue was pretty mild (our first issue was Sept. 1, so we're still pretty new), recent issues have had a lot of editorial content they didn't like.

Since our paper has not had any increase in the amount of editorial content, I figured maybe it was the fact that I quoted you using the words "fuck Alabama" in my interview with you. That, I think, was the first "fuck" in Weld.

So, we Welders were, of course, curious about what it was that set the lady and the Thrifters off. So we sent our brave intern Daniel to the America's Thrift Store under the pretense of retrieving our paper rack, and we had him ask her what it was in Weld that pushed them over the edge.

She told Daniel that the word "Mexican" is offensive. Daniel asked if she meant the column "¡Ask a Mexican!" and she said, yes, sort of, but that the word "Mexican" is offensive. Daniel explained that the author of the "¡Ask a Mexican!" column is, in fact, a Mexican. (And though I don't know if he explained this, I would note that when referring to Hispanic immigrant populations in my own immigration coverage, I've always used the word "Hispanic.")

This did not seem to faze her.

If "Mexican" is offensive, our state is truly, sincerely fucked.

HAHAHAHA! Time was when "Mexican" was considered an epithet by Mexis in the United States—but that was the 1960s. Congrats, Alabama, you're even more backward than we thought! Gentle readers: Make sure to visit Weld at weldbham.com and click on its links a million times to ensure it gets those advertiser pesos—actually, do that for all the papers that carry me, cabrones!

 
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13 comments
Kathy
Kathy

Dear Mexican: Now I live in Venezuela, but my husband is from California, he wants to back to USA, he wants to get a job like bussiness insurace like his friend, but I don't know what kind of life we can have with this kind of job there. We have 3 children and I don't know if it a good idea for us, I don't like to have economics problems, but I think this is a regular job.

MVZ
MVZ

Tavo,

The word Alabama is offensive to every Mexican and black, so they have one on us o como dicen aqui estos cuellos colorados e ignorantes no saben distinguir un agujero en el suelo del agujero de la parte de atras!

Gino Herron
Gino Herron

Neil Young was right. There is nothing south of the Mason-Dixon Line worth a damn--the region where Nixon's Southern strategy was guaranteed to work because hate is surpassed only by stupidity. They glorify the Confederacy, in which 70% of the dumb-ass rebel combatants were too poor to own a slave, but fought anyway.

Mazbook
Mazbook

Gustavo,

Your answer to Born Allá, Born Outstanding, Still Outstanding was spot on. Mi esposa still calls folks from el otro lado "invasores", although I have finally been promoted to "pinche gringo" (sometimes "pinche codo gringo" LOL).

Mazbook
Mazbook

The only place I ever heard of where "Mexican" was a pejorative epithet was in New Mexico where, if you called one of the local "Spanish" (basically true Hispanics only accidentally and involuntarily short time, 1821-1848, Mexicans) a "Mexican". Back in the 40s and 50s, that was considered a "fighting word".

909Jeff
909Jeff

Great answer Gustavo. We also still reflect on Dec 7th though with less emphasis each passing year. Also Pearl harbor was an attack on a military target. 9/11 was a malicious attack on unarmed civilians... Making it even more of a tragic event.

djdonjuan1980
djdonjuan1980

significant numbers of Mexicans served in the 55th Alabama Infantry, Manigault's Battalion of South Carolina Artillery, 6th Missouri Infantry, the Chalmetle Regiment of Louisiana Infantry, and the Second Texas Mounted Rifles. Other Confederate unites which contained large numbers of Hispanics included Vigil's Independent Companies - Cavalry, the Louisiana Zouaves 1st Florida Cavalry, the Spanish Legion of the European Brigade, the Spanish Guard (part of the Home Guard of Mobile, Alabama), and four independent New Mexico militia companies known by their commanders names (Gonzales, Martinez, Tafolla, and Perea).  Also see 1st Florida Cavalry; Confederate Army and Captain Joseph De La Garza Confederate Army from San Antonio.

Filero
Filero

Güey actually most of us are Genizaros and as a result are not technically Mejicanos. Pero -- until Nuevo was overrun in the 1960s with waves of gabachos fleeing the Midwest and East coast (they were fleeing desegregation) -- Manitos definitely called themselves Mexicans -- don't believe me -- go read "Law and Order on the Rio Grande" -- Elfego called himself a Mexican....

Mazbook
Mazbook

Filero, Sí la mayoría fueron jenizaros, pero no fueron mestizos. I believe that Elfego (Baca) called himself a Mexican just to piss off the Texans in New Mexico. That's the kind of guy he was.

Xicano
Xicano

Orale güey basically los genizaros de Nuevo are Apaches and Navajos who learned to speak Spanish. In the old days -- pre-1950s -- Manitos referred to themselves -- OUTSIDE earshot of gabachos as Mejicanos. I know this may sound incredulous to an all knowing non-Manito -- but it is true....and BTW my abuelito, tips, tias, etc. all described themselves as Mejicanos -- even my Crypto Jewish relations.

 
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