Why Do Mexicans Pick Through Trash to Look for Recyclables?

[¡Ask a Mexican!!] And why are Mexicans so funny?

DEAR MEXICAN: I'm so perplexed by my Mexican neighbor. For one, he already has four girls, and I just saw his wife—and it looks like she's pregnant AGAIN! I live in an affordable-housing unit; the rent is cheap and based on our income. But he has a new Ford F150 truck, and his wife drives an older model BMW. What bugs the hell out of me is that he digs in the apartment complex's trash cans every freakin' day. There are about six bins for our large complex. Every morning, before he takes his girls to school, he digs in all of them for recyclables.

I wonder if I'm just jealous because he must make, like, $300 per week on all the stuff he recycles, but it really bugs me. If he's so freakin' poor and digging in the trash for an occupation, why must he still continue to bring more children into the world? The city we live in has a "no-scavenging law." I really want to report him, but I feel guilty. I feel like I should let him keep digging in the trash, since he has a family to feed. Also, I guess I'm nosey, too, 'cause I wonder if he and his wife work? I don't think they do, and I wonder if they're abusing welfare? And I wonder how many freakin' girls he's going to have before he gives up his dream of having a son.

I hope you can help me with this issue. Am I evil? Should I care less? Help.

Details

Ask the Mexican at themexican@askamexican.net, be his fan on Facebook, follow him on Twitter or ask him a video question at youtube.com/askamexicano!

Pocha Cabrona In Chino

DEAR POCHA: You're not evil, chula: just a pendeja. You—an assimilated Mexican-American—still have to live in affordable housing? So much for breaking the stereotypes of Mexicans as lazy peons. Meanwhile, that wab who bugs you so much is hustling, digging through garbage for a couple of extra bucks—it's obviously working out well, since he's living a better life than your floja ass. Who cares if he wants to have more kids? That's his decision, not yours. Maybe you'd be better off in life if you picked through trash—but I'm sure you think that's beneath you. Meanwhile, you're wondering if your Mexican neighbor is on welfare while YOU are on the government queso. My immigrant parents, who always scrimped and saved and bought massive trucks and SUVs because no honorable hombre should ever leave home without one, never took a dime—that is beneath them, since that's such an American thing to do. If ever there were a case for Mexicans to not allow their children to assimilate, you'd be the poster niña, pendeja.

DEAR MEXICAN: I got asked to participate in an Internet radio show on which I, as an allegedly (mostly by me) Mexican comedian, will be asked questions such as "Why are Mexicans so funny?" Since I'm as Mexican as a Del Taco stand, I defer to you for some insight and wisdom that I can share with the show's four audience members.

Tommy Milagro

DEAR TOMASITO MIRACLE: Have you talked to our pocho cousins? A veritable Comstock Lode of material for ridicule there!


PREORDER TACO USA! Gentle cabrones, my much-promised Taco USA: How Mexican Food Conquered America will finally hit bookstores April 10, but that doesn't mean you can't already order it (yes, grammar snobs, I just used a double-negative, but Mexican Spanish loves double-negatives the way we do cute second cousins). Place your order with your favorite local bookstore, your finer online retailers, your craftier piratas, but place it: My libro editor has already promised to deport me from the publishing industry if we don't sell enough copies! Stay tuned for book-signing info!

 
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18 comments
alejandro.grande101
alejandro.grande101

I notice some people who digs in skip hire in Perth and I suppose other people in other country are doing this as well and not only Mexicans. You are not evil as long as you are abiding the law. You are a good person for the reason that you are just thinking for the sake of his family. I think as long as he does no harm then you just let him be.

jason smith
jason smith

Its so obvious that the questions are submitted by the author of the column. You can recognize his style of writing if you read the questions from different dates. I like the column nonetheless; cool to see ppl can have a sense of humor on both sides.

White Trash Digger
White Trash Digger

It's nice to see that snobbery isn't limited to simple race bias. Let the man dig, and take a lesson.

Bitter Scribe
Bitter Scribe

Regarding why Mexicans are so funny: I've noticed that nations/cultures which have been cruelly oppressed for centuries tend to be inhabited by people with highly developed senses of sarcasm. This may be a defense mechanism (you can dis your oppressor because he's too dumb to get it) or the natural product of the cynicism that oppression breeds. (See: Irish, Poles, southern U.S. blacks)

Ron López
Ron López

Gustavo, During and after college I dated a Mexican woman whose father was a self-employed recycler. The family lived in a working class part of LA but bought a nice little house and while they were not rich they always had nice, functional things, matching furniture sets, and the wife drove a nice used car (a relative was a car mechanic). Some of their income may have been off the books. I admired them because they had become self-sufficient and were well off in a respectable working class way. The guy carried wads of cash and ate where he wanted. In So Cal there is a whole industry of immigrant recyclers, and they guy esa Pocha describes is clearly part of it. He was a 'self-made' American entrepreneur in the true sense, a by the sweat of his brow dude. An American (although he may not like that one).

Listen2
Listen2

So what is so wrong with going through rubbish? We save plastic and make about thirty dollars sometimes and we take ourselves out to lunch. I remember watching TV and seeing this Mexican couple getting up early in the am. to recycle and they sent their son to Harvard on the money. More power to them and this young woman has too much time on her hands, she needs to get off her *^$(* and get a job!

mrroach
mrroach

So then Gabacho...since you say Both your immigrant parents worked and your bio says only one was legal and the other not, then one was a felon? ID theft is a felony even in Cali? Or maybe they worked "off the books"? which is also a felony? Tell us...what country is YOUR passport issued from?

909Jeff
909Jeff

Hey Gustavo,

I think I know where Ms Pocha lives as its one of two "low Income" options in the city. Take a look for yourself and then you'll probably think its laughable that anyone lives here is complaining.

I live a mile from here and a family member lives here... They are nice places and yes there is a disproportionate number of nice vehicles for it to be a "low Income" area which I have always thought was odd. The majority of people I see living there appear to be first time renters in their mid to late 20's and a fairly diverse demographic.

To be fair the other low income place is Villa Del Sol and yeah that place is a shit hole but what she describes as "Big" and "6" trash bins has to be Meadow Square.

From the City's website...

Meadow Square Apartments, newly constructed in 2008, are a privately owned and operated 250-unit affordable housing community located in the new Preserve master planned community. All 250 units are available at monthly rents affordable to very low income (53 units), low income (53 units) and moderate income (144 units) households. For additional information about Meadow Square Apartments, please visit the Meadow Square community website at www.meadowsquareapts.com,

Stayoutofmytrash!
Stayoutofmytrash!

Took you long enough to figure it out. Geez. You're a genius! NOT.

Gusismyhero
Gusismyhero

i call bs on your story.. first of all, no mexican is getting up early in the morning.. after all, cheap beer and pot makes one sleepy... second, no way in hell a mexican is getting into harvard.. unless he was a chicano studies major..

Bill T.
Bill T.

BTW, you can say "ass" here, OCW is aimed at an adult audience.

Bill T.
Bill T.

Most people who live in poverty dream of better. Many actually take steps to remove themselves from poverty. Contrary to common "wisdom", vast majority of folks who grow up on welfare don't go on to receive it as adults but work their butts off so they can have a decent living. You rock, friend (not implying you are/were on welfare, or even that you are low-income, I DON'T KNOW, or care, just a comment on your fine work ethics).

PincheGaby
PincheGaby

If it wasn't for all the trash diggers, my poor ass would totally live here. :)

909Jeff
909Jeff

I note your sarcasm... But you have to admit... for "low Income" that place is pretty bourgie!

gustavoarellano
gustavoarellano

For once, I wasn't being sarcastic--really was fascinated! Fucking lazy Chicanos haha!

 
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