Everyone Thinks My Child Is Mexican—She Isn't!

[¡Ask a Mexican!] And why do Mexican-Americans always say they lived the hard life?

DEAR MEXICAN: I'm a U.S.-born Mexican who grew up partly in Tijuana. Why do Mexican-Americans from Santa Ana and South Gate always think they're harder than the rest of us Mexicans, yet their neighborhoods are, like, 100 times better than the colonia I grew up in? I mean, they have the Santa Ana Zoo and South Coast Plaza; we have Plaza del Rio, which is right next to a mainline sewer. Please explain the misplaced pride these folks have in their hometowns. Like George Carlin said, "No one should be proud of where or how they were born"—or something like that.

Confused Border Brother

DEAR WAB: Two things here. What George Carlin said was "I could never understand ethnic or national pride. Because to me, pride should be reserved for something you achieve or attain on your own, not something that happens by accident of birth. Being Irish isn't a skill; it's a fucking genetic accident." And while he's technically correct, ethnic and regional pride is as old and enduring as the paintings at Lascaux—no use in arguing its rationality. What is funny, however, is your point about Mexicans who grew up in the United States saying they've had a tough life. Unless you're three days removed from the border and working at one of those tomato-growing slave camps in Florida, you ain't got it hard. Tough is, as you pointed out, growing up in a Mexican urban colonia à la Plaza del Rio in Tijuana or Tepito in Mexico City. Tough is growing up as my parents did in the ranchos of Zacatecas, picking through cow shit as kids to find corn kernels to cook for dinner. Poverty does exist in the United States, but it pales to what those in other countries must endure—and it sure as hell doesn't compare to the tenement slums of Hell's Kitchen at the turn of the 20th Century and before. Despite this nation's current economic malaise, we live in the good times, so if you ever hear some Chicano yaktivist bitch about his or her rough-scrabble life in some American suburb, make sure to record it: That's further proof that Mexicans assimilate because they've turned into whiny, entitled gabachos.

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DEAR MEXICAN: After living in London for many years and marrying an inmigrante of South Asian Muslim origin, this midwestern gabacha recently involuntarily relocated to Southern Arizona with a mixta baby. Despite a few instances of being swarmed by the Border Patrol while out on walks and detained at border checkpoints, my prieto husband has found America more welcoming than the Paki-bashing culture of his childhood in the U.K. However, I think our dulce de leche-tinted baby is often mistaken for Mexican. People have tried to speak Spanish to her, but sólo habla Ingles, except for Google Translate. How do we handle raising an ethnically ambiguous child in a Latino-heavy culture? I have been told there is no foreign-language requirement in public schools here, and I don't feel keeping the TV perpetually tuned to Telefutura is a good idea, but we are all strangers in this very strange land.

Tamarindo and Tortillas

DEAR GABACHA: First off, for a Midwestern gabacha, you do VERY well with your español—good for you to go with the Reconquista flow! As for your child, if you're going to continue to live among Mexicans, you're going to have to accept that she's going to turn part-Mexican. Definitely teach her to be proud of her Paki side and make sure to be a good school mom and teach all those Mexican kids about your daughter's culture. But the preponderance of Mexis means your daughter will grow up immersed in the culture, learning the words and customs. That will further confuse people, gabachos and wabs alike, as she gets older—"You mean to tell me someone who looks like a Mexi and talks like a Mexi isn't one?" And that's a great thing—be proud of the fact your child is one glorious monkey wrench in the pendejada that is ethnic identity, an ossified relic as relevant to today as courting your bride by kidnapping her.

 
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32 comments
mguerra2
mguerra2

from http://www.ocweekly.com/2013-06-27/columns/ask-a-mexican-pride-baby/

"Everyone thinks my child is Mexican"

"Why do Mexican-Americans from Santa Ana and South Gate always think they're harder than the rest of us Mexicans, yet their neighborhoods are, like, 100 times better than the colonia I grew up in?"

 I dont know "Mama", why those Americans think they are HARDER than you. ARE you frkin serious? You have a child and that is your concern, that they think they are harder? HARDER?!?!?! What the f_ck is the matter with you? I'm the product of Latino parents, but I'm American, just like, surprise, YOU AND YOUR CHILD ARE. You are NOT Mexican American. You start with, "I'm a U.S.-born Mexican who grew up partly in Tijuana" 

LOL UNBELIEVABLE!!! I'm a U.S. born Mexican@#%^*!@#$# WHAT!!!?!?!?!

THAT MEANS YOU ARE AMERICAN. "I'm a U.S. born person who grew up partly in Tijuana"

THIS is the crux of the problem that Latinos have.

 If you are born here, you are AMERICAN

If you are born in Mexico, you are Mexican

You my dear are no more "Mexican" than Chevy's.

Stop fighting over nonsense!!

STOP, my God why WHY dont Latinos educate themselves, so tired of the losers that continue to perpetuate this immigrant gang stereotype. GO LIVE IN JUAREZ YOU WANNA BE MEXICAN SO BADLY IDIOTA!!!

 

Mia Hernandez
Mia Hernandez

If you live in America, you have it good! :D

Vawlkee
Vawlkee

So in other words, " Being Irish isn't a skill; it's a fucking genetic accident."  Insert "Latino" for Irish and you've just described yourself!

You're a "Mexican" about as much I am Gustavo.  Since when is Anaheim, where you're from, part of Mexico?

JV Joaquin Vazquez Jr.
JV Joaquin Vazquez Jr.

My relatives and friends in Mexico wear better clothes (total brand whores) and drive nicer cars even on meager salaries. What's the secret!? I don't know. Mind you, I probably make 6 times more and can support such a life style if I wanted to.

Kelly Heltsley
Kelly Heltsley

Now we have to a whole week for your next column..ocho dias largoooooos

Bill Lyons
Bill Lyons

in my numerous trips to mexico. I felt the mexican people were friendly, curious, jovial, hospitable and gracious towards me.. I really don't always feel that way about Mexican-Americans (who were born here) They are just like every other american!

Massy
Massy

I grew up in South Gate and had a pretty good life thanks to my parents. I now live in Ontario on my own. However, I didn't know Mexican-Americans from South Gate thought they were harder than other Mexicans. Everyone I grew up with was chill. We never glorified our upbringing or thought we were "harder" than anyone else. Most of us are first generation Mexican-Americans. Who is that person hanging out with?

Debi Teter
Debi Teter

My son is a Pacific Islander. Growing up in SoCal everybody thought he was Mexican too. When we moved to Mexico, the locals could tell instantly that he wasn't Mexican!!

Meme Rjs
Meme Rjs

Ta' pendejo ese tal mexican William Felipe Calderón , acabo con la clase media, vivo n México y no hay ni para los huevos

Armando Labra
Armando Labra

When people ask me if my blond kid is Mexican I tell them YES! He just jump the border. I'm a proud dad!

Luis Ramon
Luis Ramon

Yes the stats were skewed and there are the social issues but the point of the article was that it was "becoming" a middle class country. I took it to mean that the country is headed in a positive direction. I was born in East LA so I really don't care. I think we should just make it the 51st state. Lol! I kid, I kid!

Will Webb
Will Webb

every time I go back to MX I see that the middle class is growing stronger, but still salaries of the uneducated labor force is low. The divide between the haves and the have nots is comparable to here in the US. I think each country has its challenges, at least in Mexico, people are already speaking their own language, and don't have to learn a new one. Y nuevamente les reitero que soy mexicano, porque ya me la se... siempre salen los acomplejados a criticar... y no uso google translate....

leonora78
leonora78

es PLAZA RIO, no del Rio, and it may be next to the main sewer line (which goes for miles), but it's actually a nice mall. if that's where Border Brother grew up, he's not that much tougher than me who grew up near the Hipódromo Caliente. bruddapleaz. NOT even close to a Tepito, Gustavo!!

Ask a Mexican
Ask a Mexican

The Economist article also showed that those stats are a bit skewed—and there's still a bunch of social stratification.

Deborah Aune Bhorntus
Deborah Aune Bhorntus

My son, who is half melting-pot American and half Thai was often mistaken as Mexican growing up. I was always torn between saying "no, godammit, he's ASIAN" and taking them on for their obvious anti-Mexican bias. It's a hard line to straddle when you're a bleeding heart liberal who also wants every advantage for your kids. Sucks, honestly.

Diana Duran
Diana Duran

I got a chuckle from the last gal with the 'dulce de leche' tinted baby (cute!). It reminded me of the fact that my mom always tries to speak Spanish to South East Asians or Filipinos. She says "Se ven Mexicanos!"

rob_mla
rob_mla

Gustavo - please stop using the word "Paki" to describe Pakistanis. It is *extremely* offensive ... in Britain at least. I seem to recall a certain episode of Top Gear you took slight exception to -- well imagine if they had continually referred to Mexicans as greasers, wabs etc. throughout. "Paki" tends to get slung at all South Asians (Pakistanis, Indians, Bengalis, Sri Lankans) like the N-word is at black people, and a favourite among British neo-Nazis. True, the expression "paki-bashing" led you into it, but as a wife, I suppose Tamarindo gets word privileges the rest of us don't. If you have a cousin Francisca, call her Paqui by all means, but please don't use it for Pakistanis.

BTW, I have an Indian colleague where I work -- he too was mistaken for a Mexican by two guys in a supermarket, and so had a short (non-)conversation with them before they walked off. But then they saw him buying chillis and tortillas (closest thing to indian chapatis) and got angry -- they thought he really was Hispanic and had just been blatantly rude! Have a curry on me, and goodnight.

creamerb1
creamerb1

@Tamarindo and Tortillas Don't forget trilingual is better then bilingual. All you need is Chinese and your child can take over the world!

Tangaxhuan Wo'ilake
Tangaxhuan Wo'ilake

One of the funniest I have read so far. I agree in principle with ethnic identity pendejada pero....you must know of all of the world's people...the Indigenous of the Americas have the some of the sorest olletes on the planet and the chingada hasn't stopped yet...look at the Peruvian Amazon and Canada's Idle No More as two examples. Yes someday Las Indigenas can be part of Jesse Jackson's rainbow coalition but not now...when the only way it assimilation or extermination. Respeto muchisimo, Senor.

Luis Ramon
Luis Ramon

According to The Economist Mexico is becoming a solid middle class country. 39% of the population is classified as such.

 
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