What Do I Do to Shut Up My Mexican-Hating Mexicna Cousin?

[¡Ask a Mexican!] And do Mexicans have different words for dark skin?

DEAR MEXICAN: My cousin had put a picture on Facebook that said, "I will not be forced to learn a foreign language to accommodate illegals in my country." He's Mexican-American. Our family is from La Luz, Zacatecas, and its surrounding villages. His dad (my uncle) was born in El Paso, Texas. His mom jumped into the conversation and backed him up. His parents are divorced. How do I politely tell them they are wrong with their way of thinking?

Prepared to Punch a Pinche Pocho Primo

DEAR WAB: Sorry, cabrón, but you're just not going to win this battle. As much as I and other Chicano yaktivists would love it if everyone of Mexican descent in this country were a card-carrying member of the Reconquista complete with Nahuatl names and a Frida-filled house, that's just not going to happen. As I've explained muchos times before, the great thing about this country is how it can turn the descendents of even the biggest wab into an anti-immigrant loon by the second generation (see: Marco Rubio) and even by the first (see: my parents). The best you can do is remind your cousin that your grandparents came to this country to find a better life and to not talk trash on those less fortunate than they—but, again, it's a losing battle that goes contrary to the American immigrant experience, which sees the previous generation of immigrants spit on newcomers as though they were a spittoon. So can I suggest something revolutionary, instead? Leave your primo to his opinions. Let him be a prieto Know Nothing. You be the conscious cousin, and let him be the pocho one—trust me, you'll get all the hot second cousins at the family pachangas, while he'll be condemned to be the Tio Taco of El Paso.

 

DEAR MEXICAN: You explain the etymology of words so well! Please enlighten your readers with the explanation of the word prieto, as opposed to moreno.

La Que le Gustan los Morenos

DEAR SHE WHO LIKES BROWN-SKINNED MEN: Prieto is derived from apretar ("tighten"), from the Late Latin appectorãre ("to press against one's chest"), but in Mexico, it denotes a dark hue, one veering on blackness. Moreno, on the other hand, comes from moro, the Spanish word for Moor, and usually signifies a dark brown—you know, like a Moor! (How we got prieto to mean "blackish" from its pressing roots escapes me—because of bruising?). But these are general definitions, as their meanings shift across the color prism depending on who's talking and what century. In the present day, prieto is usually reserved as a term for parents to describe their darkest-skinned kid, a description as injurious to a young soul as calling him "tubby" or "Newt Gingrich."

 

TO VIKKI CARR: I've received autographed books by legendary playwright David Mamet, was able to interview Louie Perez and David Hidalgo of Los Lobos in front of a live audience in Oakland, have had Cheech Marin enthusiastically shake my hand and proclaim himself a fan—the celebrity readers of this columna and their generosity toward me knows no bounds. But to get an autographed glossy photo of you thanking me for my work? You've made this hombre blush enough to last the year. Gracias for the kind words, as well as for being such a great role model for our community. ¡Eres chingona!

 
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19 comments
Chip_xs
Chip_xs

"prieto" as dark skinned man comes from the word "preto" in portuguese, that is black, the guys from Galicia speak a dialect very close to portuguese (or portuguese speak gallego, whatever) so there came the word "prieto" as dark/black...

JohnSkookum
JohnSkookum

I'm a big fan of immigration, being the son of an immigrant myself. But through the front door only, please. A high wall with a wide gate is what we need.

J_carba
J_carba

Dear mexican: the origin of Prieto can be related to the word PRETO, which means black in portuguese, the neighboring languaje of spain and that contributed to its languaje enrichment, as always happens

cauc-asian
cauc-asian

Hey PPPP, English is the American language - get over it. Speak it or leave.

Khalil McMillan
Khalil McMillan

"In the present day, prieto is usually reserved as a term for parents to describe their darkest-skinned kid, a description as injurious to a young soul as calling him "tubby" or "Newt Gingrich."

Wow. Just...wow. So....a prieto is the equivalent of being called a mayate? It's that offensive? I hear Mexicans call each other nigga every day! They don't call each other mayate. Youre better than this, Gustavo.

As a Black Man...it reads like you are saying having a dark hue is in and of itself "injurious" to not only young souls, but to anyone that isnt anglo.

Correct me if I am wrong, Brown Man.

George
George

I'm actually very very curious to know something. Why is it that Mexicans are always below the poverty line. Why is it we have the lowest standardized testing scores. Why is it so few of us become professional's as opposed to every other race other than black in this country. Why Is it that every time I try to defend by heritage I cant come up with evidence to prove the contrary. It seems to me most other immigrant groups are doing fine, IE. Asian, Middle Eastern, Indian. Why is it that cholo's, fresa's, ranchero's dont seem to notice the damage they are doing to us as a whole.

Etnieshb
Etnieshb

You should learn English if you live here, period. Or you'll live in ghetto Santa Ana forever. Also, learn about condoms, you already have section 8 housing and food stamps, stop having kids your broke uneducated ass can't afford.

OCEAN6
OCEAN6

FEED HIM TO THE PORCHMONKEYS

Xoce
Xoce

HI, Gus, I sent you this question by email but your spam filter blocked my message, so I guess I'll have to ask it in a public forum. Re your February 2 Ask a Mexican! column, in what way exactly are Marco Rubio's parents "wabs?" This is a serious question from a registered voter for whom your answer may become really important come November. Please take it seriously and provide a serious answer.Sincerely,Xoce

Hawkhockey777
Hawkhockey777

i love how anyone who disagrees wiht gustavos ridiculous immigration policies is labled as a 'know nothing'.....very intelligent. calling names. typical liberal shit. How dare us ridiculous white people not learn the spanish language! we owe it to them! what are we thinking!

I wonder what his reaction would be if a white person wrote a letter asking why mexicans dont have to learn english when they come to america....

Instead of an intelligent, thought provoking answer that could make me change my mind, and see another light, he will refer to me as a pinche 'know nothing'. Are you kidding me? Calling me a 'know nothing'? If I am a know nothing, what does he think of the intelligence of the average mexican who hasnt figured out how to flush toilet paper down a toilet instead of putting it in the trash can?

At the end of the day, Gustavo is a 145 lb weakling, a gay one at that, whom i could break with 1 hand. Hes a sissy

Cbv
Cbv

I am pretty sure Gustavo has a whole drawer full of letters from idiots who actually believe things like "why Mexicans don't have to learn English when they come to America." Not that you are likely to be able to appreciate precision in language, you might be interested to know that "America" starts at Tierra del Fuego and ends somewhere near the Arctic Circle.

CHS
CHS

That's a leap to assume that, if someone doesn't know English, that person is an "illegal." The last "illegal" I met spoke perfect English and no Spanish. She was from Australia.

Bill T.
Bill T.

Come on, this is about feeding out prejudices not about education and compassion. Sheesh!

Inca Man
Inca Man

To the Mexican Hating Cousin.. Looks to me like your Cousin doesn't "Hate" Mexicans.. He dislikes "Ilegal" Sounds like He Hates Illegal (Immigrant) Mexicans.. Hate is a bit over the top to explain your view on a topic.. Tell him that Americans are "Hated" around yhe world as well.. Hate can flaw your reasoning on how you express your views..

Listen2
Listen2

Gustaveo please, a Nahuatle name? Isn't life hard enough without going around with the lame names that parents sometimes give their children? Unfortunately, from the first day of school they are made fun of by fellow students. Listen Gustavo, why don't you change your first name to something Nahuatle, see what reaction you get.

MEMIN PINGUIN
MEMIN PINGUIN

"GUERA COLOR DE LLANTA..................ACA ESTA TU RIN CROMADO" AJUA.

 
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