Just Found Out I'm Half-Mexican. What Do I Do?

[¡Ask a Mexican!] And why do Mexicans like to play in the street?

DEAR MEXICAN: I'm 39. My stepdad—who raised me—just died. This freed my mother to tell me that the man I thought was my biological father all this time was not. (My stepdad always forbade her from saying anything.) The man who is my biological father is fully Mexican (both of his parents were Mexican). He was married twice and had seven kids (five with the first wife, two with the second) other than me. It appears I was conceived during his first marriage, and he remained married until his death from leukemia in 2008. He was a Hispanic leader in my metro area and even ran once for mayor.

What does finding out I am half-Mexican mean for me? I don't have a meaningful relationship with the man I thought was my biological father. In fact, this news is quite a blessing to me. But I'm kind of paralyzed by it all. Any suggestions?

Brand-New Bewildered Beaner

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!


DEAR HALF-WAB: Man, where's Cristina Saralegui when I need her? The most important thing for you right now is to not blame the Mexican ethnicity of your dad for his having abandoned your mother and yourself—I hope and trust you know pendejos exist in all cultures. I would also talk to your mother about why she held that information from you all your life, as I'm sure it's upsetting. Was she ashamed she once shacked up with a Mexican, or was it an abusive relationship? Once you're able to work out the personal part of your discovery—seriously: get at peace with yourself and your mami—then you can move on to the ethnic question.

The pregunta to then ponder is this: How does finding out you're part-Mexi feel? Are you ashamed? If so, tell others your dad was "Spanish" and make sure to hide the truth from your children, just as your parents did from you. Are you proud of your newfound nopal en la frente? Then ease into your mexicanidad. If you have an English-language name with a Mexican equivalent, Hispanicize it—become a Juan instead of John, or a Rogelio instead of Roger. Wear a cinto piteado, but cover it up by not tucking in your shirt. Say "Latino" instead of "Hispanic," as you currently do. Finally, if you don't care either way that you're Mexican, do what all other crypto-Mexicans do: only become Mexican to get the secret house salsa at your local taquería or when the United States faces off against Mexico in soccer.

*     *     *

DEAR MEXICAN: Why do Mexicans use the streets as a playground, their driveway as a futon and the ditch as a trashcan? I live across the street from 100 percent pure Mexicans who do all their entertaining on the street, making the vehicles drive around them. Is this something taught to them at birth, or is there a class given to them at the prepa (what they call high school). I just have the need to know.

Vecino de Mexicanos


DEAR NEIGHBOR OF MEXICANS: Crap labor and crappier living conditions for immigrants in America waltz together as did Astaire and Rogers—remember slaves and their shacks, Okie farm workers in California's Central Valley during the Great Depression, and the Jewish and Italian peons who stared balefully into Jacob Riis' camera in his monumental 1890 exposé of New York's tenement slums, How the Other Half Lives. The immigrant high-density blues continues with Mexicans: According to The State of Housing for Hispanics In the United States, a 2005 study prepared by Dr. Carlos Vargas-Ramos of New York's Hunter College, 12 percent of Latinos live in overcrowded housing (defined as more than one person living in a room), compared to 2.4 percent of the general population. Add to that the fact that Latinos usually live in neighborhoods bereft of parks, and be lucky your Mexican vecinos play in the street and not on your lawn. Better yet, be a good neighbor and join the poverty pachanga!

 
My Voice Nation Help
8 comments
jackosurf5558
jackosurf5558

You know, I've read your gibberish for years and you nothing more than a partially educated grease ball sprewing your bullshit onto the public through the OC Weekly. I just read your May 10th column and you just say the same BS over & over. (in this case you're just ripping some other grease ball because he disagrees with you.) Why don't you go back over the border and put a grease ball on each shoulder and that would be three that we wouldn't be supporting. Adios, mother fucker!

Jaborah
Jaborah

Rarely is the question asked: Is our children learning?

whhackett3
whhackett3

Brand-New Bewildered Beaner - Since I've always known I'm half-Mexican the lack of knowledge has never been, per se, an issue.  What has been an issue is experiencing bias both from Mexicans and "non-Mexicans.  In the decades long process of researching my family history I learned that my maternal grandmother's ancestors have been in California since 1706.  I had long known that my maternal grandfather was heavily involved in using the legal process to secure civil rights for all people "of color."  My maternal aunt Syria was one of the best cooks I've ever run into and to this day I miss the tamales she made every year before Xmas since I have never found any near as good.  My father's family was also involved in championing civil rights and my father would have beaten anyone who ridiculed my "Leprecano" status.  Put simply, despite encountering prejudice from both Mexicans and non-Mexicans, I am deeply proud of and celebrate my bi-cultural heritage.  I'd suggest you search your father's family tree, you never know who you'll find!

Zakapu
Zakapu

First of all and most importantly, you answered BNBB's question with great aplomb. It was intelligent, serious and most of all emotionally and psychologically sensitive. That being said...I'd like to add..

What the hell is "fully" Mexican? Mexico is different in that its Nationality can be defined 3 ways depending on perspective. Mexican can mean Indigenous from its roots, percentage of population (both mixed and non) and the Name itself having been derived from an Indigenous grupo. Mexican can mean Mestizos and mestizaje and from that regard ...fully Mexican is meaningless...because they are part of the Melting pot like everyone else....Then there is the geopolitical Nationhood status where you are a citizen of Mexico....then fully Mexican again is meaningless because you can be Chinese or Lebanese and be "Fully" Mexican.
Latino and Hispanic is a group designation based on a history of shared linguistic colonial history. It is forced into playing the part of a cultural designation....but "Latinos" differ more than they are similar with regard to culture.

Do South Africans, the Irish, and New Zealanders share culture and feel a unity in their Anglicization? I gotta say I don't feel much for Mark Rubio at all.

danielleprincess
danielleprincess

Please allow me to post this thread directly to Facebook.  OMGEE PLEASE!

california_william
california_william

@whhackett3 Um, how have you determined your ancestors were in California since 1706?  The FIRST expedition to result in settlement of California by Spanish soldiers and priests was in 1769, followed by others in 1776 and Los Angeles and Santa Barbara pueblos in 1781.  If your ancestors were California Native Americans, there would be no written records when they settled there, so, umm, you know..1706?

whhackett3
whhackett3

@california_william @whhackett3 I didn't realize my ancestors could only be born in a settlement.  Thanks for pointing that out.  I guess Cabrillo didn't visit what is now known as California in the 16th century either.  BTW - I don't know that I said "Alta California" but I appreciate your concern.

 
Anaheim Concert Tickets

Around The Web

Loading...