By On the occasion of our 20th anniversary
By Gustavo Arellano
By R. Scott Moxley
By Alfonso Delgado
By Courtney Hamilton
By Joel Beers
By Peter Maguire
By Charles Lam
DEAR MEXICAN: In a nutshell, you inspired me to rediscover my culture, my pride as a Mexican and love for my people (though it is hard to love my own people at times). I'm writing a college paper on Latin American issues—more specifically, on Mexican apathy, which is deeply rooted in my city of El Paso. I don't know if you've noticed when you've been here, but we live in a Mexican-majority bubble that could easily be called a Mexican Utopia in the U.S. This same privilege enables a lack of unity and motivation to rise above our social issues, such as a low rate of superior education. The worst part of living in this city is the antagonizing sentiment we have against our own kind, based on the fact that many recently migrated and the sad misconception they're all on welfare. We are not united in the same way other Southwestern communities have come together to protest racist legislation. This city is in a state where institutionalized racism is rampant and self-evident in Governor Rick Perry's disrespect for our heritage, which predates that of his illegal-alien, invading granddaddies of the Alamo.
Yet! Very few here care. I long for the pissed-off sentiment of the Chicano movement that brought things out of the dark ages for us in this country. Our people went dormant for too long thinking it wasn't so bad, but as we are constantly shoved back into the Jim Crow era, I see we are waking up to a house on fire. Unfortunately, we are divided between those who have been here long enough to get educated and realize this and those who are just happy to fall into the false conformity that we have been sold and worry only about Mexico's soccer team making it to the World Cup. I see El Paso as a microcosm of everything that's wrong with Mexicans in this country. Self-conformity and apathy will kill us faster than diabetes and high blood pressure. I have my theories on why all this is still a problem, but I come to you for further enlightenment. I will greatly appreciate any input you may provide during your busy schedule.
I Do Love Chico's Tacos, Though
DEAR WAB: Gracias for the kind words—glad I could wake you up from your pocho doldrums! Don't be so harsh on your beautiful hometown, though—all the Mexican Utopias in los Estados (San Antonio, Los Angeles, SanTana, among others) since time immemorial are a mix of vendidos who try to gentrify barrios and activists who actually get things done. Why? That's the American way. How to wake people up? Show them a picture of Iowa congress-pendejo Steve King.
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DEAR MEXICAN: Was out drinking and wanted to ask: Why do Mexicans love Buchanan's whisky so much? Did a ship o' tipple from Ireland wreck in the Bay of Campeche in the 19th century or something? And why does every Mexican guy who orders it pronounce it bukanas?
Puro Pinche Caifanes
DEAR GABACHO: Get your whiskeys straight. Buchanan's is Scotch; Kilbeggan is Irish whiskey. But at least your Mexi-sense is correct. Just as Cristal gets shout-outs from rappers, Buchanan's began getting referenced by singers of corridos during the past decade, especially of the narco variety. But while getting bottle service for Cristal lets everyone know its drinker is a lover of a high life, any plebe who buys a round of bukanas for his compas is letting the bar know to not fuck with him. The choice of a whiskey instead of a tequila as a mark of Mexican manhood isn't particularly surprising—hombres have been pounding it ever since El Piporro downed bottles while driving in "Chulas Fronteras." As for the pronunciation chingadera? Easily explainable explanation, ese: elision.