Why Do Mexicans Go Through Neighbors' Trash?

[¡Ask a Mexican!] And why don't more Mexicans protest the Catholic Church over its sex-abuse scandals

DEAR MEXICAN: I'm a Mexican-American Catholic who is really upset about something I saw after Mass last night. As I waited for my son to come out of Confirmation class (yes, I had already attended Mass myself), I noticed something really odd: a grocery cart parked by a curb. It was filled with all those things a vendor sells at parks. Then I noticed some lady setting up a little table by the front doors of the church with assorted items to sell. WOW! Was I really seeing this? What is going on with people? Have we become so desperate for money we are now hitting up churches as we do parks? I'm not sure if you have seen or heard of this before. I was really offended. I am also struggling financially; I live paycheck to paycheck, but I still don't think I could resort to this. I felt it was tacky and just adds to the stereotypes we already have to deal with. What do you think?

Dazed and Confused Mexican

 

DEAR WABETTE: You have issues with working-class folks trying to make a buck after Mass, thinking it tacky. You know what else is tacky? A Catholic Church hierarchy that allowed priests to rape boys and girls for decades and not only did nothing to stop it, but also protected said pedophiles from the cops and joined the congregants in smearing victims and critics who pointed out the obvious—priestly pedophilia no es bueno. And guess what? More than a few of those victims were—you guessed it!—Mexicans. But since the Church has done such a masterful job of brainwashing Mexican Catholics into believing that speaking out against the hierarchy is speaking out against God, our raza in the States has universally remained silent about this sex-abuse scandal—hell, you still see Latino politicos and immigrant-rights activists asking for the blessings of pendejos who should be spending life in prison for their cover-ups. Pray to God, pray to La Virgen de Guadalupe, even to La Santa Muerte if you must—but any Mexican who still gives money to the Church might as well also donate to la migra.

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DEAR MEXICAN: I know why the Mexican man digs in the trash can—he can't believe what Americans throw away. My mom was from Northern Ireland, and we got many treasures over the years from walking past our neighbors' trash cans. She grew up dirt-poor and could not believe all the things Americans would waste and throw away. She honestly felt it was sinful. I've dug through trash cans myself and had several yard sales over the years, which helped put me through college.

Mary In Oregon

 

DEAR GABACHA: Gracias for answering your own pregunta so thoughtfully—please don't do it again, lest I get reduced to spinning tejanas on my finger at street corners for a living.

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DEAR MEXICAN: Why did all the conquerors came from Europe? And why were Africans conquered as slaves instead of Latinos? Are we more rebellious, not as easy to control?

Latina Grrl

 

DEAR WABETTE: Latinos not slaves? Look at Mexican Catholics.

 
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72 comments
pwzap
pwzap

ya know, the Catholic church is really a strange animal as anybody who has studied history knows. In Zacatecas Mexico, state cap of home´s padres, I met a Jesuit guy, he had been recruited from 8 years old in Rome, a Belge, spoke at the time about 10 languages, good lookin guy.  He, Josef is is name, did not believe the chastity thing had anything to do with people like him.  that´s how they are - got kicked outa MX in 1716 and still here.

seriouslyyyyy
seriouslyyyyy

I once stopped my DWP truck in the very rich area of LA, the hills of Brentwood. The trash cans were overflowing with nice tennis sneaks, my size!!, prob 10 prs of good shoes!  I took them. Also there were silver men's rings, still in the package, heavy manly rings real silver from Spain or Greece, very nice. Guess why these were in the trash?? I found photos also of a very cute black bride, married to a very handsome white guy.  It was obvious to me that she was cheated on in some way.. she threw out all  his stuff, clothes etc, in anger,, this is why people do look into others trash. I have no problem with anyone getting cans or cardboard from my trash,, CW

ExpertShot
ExpertShot topcommenter

The fact that the indeginous peoples of the Americas call themselves "Latinos" rather than "Indios" means a lot to me - tells me they're confused with their identity.   They want to take the persona of a sophisticated Spaniard but at the same time play the pitiful Indian slave role.  I wish the people would stop pretending they're Spaniards.

sc_kang
sc_kang

Wow Gustavo! In seven years of reading your column, this was particularly hard hitting. The New Hampshire(NH)Attorney General's (AG) had the goods on the abuse of Roman Catholic Priests. Former Bishop of Manchester, NH, John McCormack had 2 stark choices. They could get prosecuted very hard or agree to the strict provisions. Bishop McCormack agreed to strict monitoring. Many of us ( Roman Catholic Parishioners)were quietly applauding then NH AG Phillip McLaughlin to make the Diocese of Manchester comply. Two years ago, NH AG McLaughlin had more evidence from the Diocese of Manchester. This time, the annual reporting is a lot stricter. This sickening behavior will have to be monitored permanently.

mewartytoad
mewartytoad

Shit, my mom used to go to a particular church here in L.A. just to hit up the food vendors outside after services... and this was 15+ years ago.

Jerry Vazquez
Jerry Vazquez

Inche gus, no catholic Mexican likes bad priest and they all agree that any bad priest should be kicked out of the church and put in prison for life. The catholic church helps alot of poor people and attacking a person that gives to the church is assenine. I'm not going to stop reading the oc weekly just because a writer there said something I didnt like. And to the irish lady, remember the irish famine. I also see many white people going through everybodys trash getting all the cans and anything of value. I see this on every trash day and there all Gringos!

grvz5247
grvz5247

Inche gus, no catholic Mexican likes bad priest and they all agree that any bad priest should be kicked out of the church and put in prison for life. The catholic church helps alot of poor people and attacking a person that gives to the church is assenine. I'm not going to stop reading the oc weekly just because a writer there said something I didnt like. And to the irish lady, remember the irish famine. I also see many white people going through everybodys trash getting all the cans and anything of value. I see this on every trash day and there all Gringos! 


Helen Laura López
Helen Laura López

I like you answer on #1. During they heyday of lawsuits against the Holy Roman Catholic church i was at a service in a barrio church and the priest at the direction of the archbishop had the nerve to take up a second collection to help pay the victims who sued and won. The HRCC had plenty of money - no need to ask the poor gente to pay for its sins.

Helen Pearl Manderson
Helen Pearl Manderson

I'm not catholic, and I think this guy is a total idiot. The fact that he disses on every single religion, and or race, and presents his silly little theories as fact, presents me with the fact that he's a total idiot.

Manuel Reyes
Manuel Reyes

The person complaining of vendors at the church is probably is jealous those vendors weren't embarrassed to earn an honest living! And that person probably never has been to Mexico sheltered in there wannabe expectations with the nopal pintado ways!

Efren Rodriguez
Efren Rodriguez

You really did digress from this one. What the heck does the Catholic Church gotta do with the lady dislike of a street vendor?

Triana Elan
Triana Elan

Amazing stories and answers...when I lived in Mexico I used to separate the aluminum cans from the other garbage and put it in a bag so that the night people could just take them and not have to dig through the can. I loved the places the vendors showed up...once in Ensenada, Baja, a cargo ship had run aground on the beach and it was a big party for months complete with the burrito and candy vendors! Some people need to get off their high horses and quit being so offended. It's an honest living!

Daniel Day
Daniel Day

Question : why do poor people dig through garbage can? Answer : in search of aluminum cans. Duh.

mkellen984
mkellen984

Usually when I don't agree with your viewpoint, I just smile and keep on stepping.  However, today with your blatantly bigoted diatrabe against Mexican Catholics and Catholics in general, I have to complain.  Who made you judge and jury as to what people should believe and have faith in?  Mexicans are brainswashed because we don't dare speak in a negative manner about the hierarchy?  What tree did you fall from, maybe yesterday's abuelitas, but not my generation. I don't agree with many opinions, political and otherwise of the hierarchy, that makes me a "thinking" human being, not a dumb robot as you seem to insinuate that Mexicans of faith are.  What give you the audacity to continually take swipes at the Catholic Church, I'm sick of it, you and a number of others in the news media.   I guess it is easy to get people's attention, well, you got mine.  Shame on you for being ignorant, bigoted and a hole.  You just lost a reader!

Roberto Rico
Roberto Rico

Didn't say I didn't like them, (opinions are opinions and everybody has one!?. lol) the answers were not as usual, entertaining and sarcastically funny, I noticed a different use of syntax, kind of abrupt and somewhat cold and patronizing. (just sayin')

ronzolopez
ronzolopez

Gustavo and Latina Grrl, "Latinos" were slaves, if you include the Native people of the Americas, or the poor, or weak.  Most of us, especially us Mexicans/Mexican Americans, have Native or Indigenous ancestry to one degree of another.  Although the "New Laws" defined the Indians as having souls and prohibited the outright slavery en masse of the Indigenous people, those who rebelled and refused to convert could be forced into servitude or killed in just war.  Many were subjected to forms of forced and unpaid labor in Haciendas or through a labor system called the Repartimiento, and also through the Missions.  At the local level, the powerful regularly enslaved the weak.  Today, go to Latin America and see landless people working for starvation wages and being horribly exploited with no recourse.  Even here in the US, Latinos, especially undocumented workers, are exploited and forced to work, sometimes for no pay or horribly exploitive and dangerous conditions.  Free Trade agreements is one way that modern capitalism creates 'unfree' workers.  Often, words like 'servant' were used (the spanish equivalent), but the effect was much the same.   

Ron from Santa Rosa, CA 


Mick Slick
Mick Slick

Well, Gustavo, the Mighty Mick of the West once more finds you hitting some notes on the Irish; My mother was also from BOI (British Occupied Ireland) and from most accounts, the Catholics up North lived like dogs. For eaxmple, my mothers family lived on the dole for about three generations and most of the children dropped out of school at age 12 since no Catholic would be employed at anything except at best a toilet scubber in some Prod household or factory-and often they were thought lucky to have such a job. But the wee Plastic Paddy (Irish-American) lass from Oregon does illustrate how bloody lost 1st and 2nd generation immigrant offspring get in regards to what mom and dad had to endure back in the Old Land-and how bloody "American" they can get when it comes to adopting that quaint American custom of stereotyping everything from an ethnic group to the sunset.....

Martha Arciniega Schiller
Martha Arciniega Schiller

Wow a fellow catholic hating on another's ingenuity. Just jealous. She needs to mind her own business and pray for her own soul to not be so judgemental and a hater of innovators. The Mexican Latina woman needs to get educated fast on historical events of this country....geech.

Roberto Rico
Roberto Rico

I don't think these questions were answered by Gustavo, they do not sound too sound. (they don't sound that clever)

Giovanni Martinez
Giovanni Martinez

Thanks Gus! You answered my question about Mexican Catholics! Now I have ammo for my next argument!

Jose Bermudez
Jose Bermudez

My old church OLG in Bakersfield was built by immigrantes in 1924. Many of the parishioners worked in the fields and were fresh campesinos who marched and knew Cesar personally. Now that same church has members of the conservative Catholic League who forced OLG to rescind their invitation to Dolores Huerta because of her feminist stance, her statements on abortion, etc. The church in theU.S. is desperate to have the same reputation as the Evangelical Right in this country. To hell with them.

Malena DeSantos
Malena DeSantos

I love you Gustavo, but I totally disagree that all Mexi-American Catholics are slaves to the Church. I openly and critically love the Church of my own educated, free will.

Frank Zamora
Frank Zamora

I dug in the trash one time as I was existing the Cheese Cake in Brentwood and "found" a painting that was worth $10.000.00. Does this well to do Mexican Pocho still dig in the trash...HELL YEAH!!!

pwzap
pwzap

@ExpertShot oh give it a break.  In Mexico at most 2% of people are Indigenous.  That breed simply died off.

Acer555
Acer555

@ExpertShot And then the Native American's will have an ExpertShot crying about Why Latin Americans and Their Decent's call themselves indios and not Latinos. In L.A. Who pretends their Spaniards? Why would it bother you so much anyways unless you were racially bias or just playing racist towards Latinos. 

seriouslyyyyy
seriouslyyyyy

@Jerry Vazquez true I am white and not poor but see my letter above,, me in the trash cans of Brentwood

seriouslyyyyy
seriouslyyyyy

@grvz5247 I agree,, I went to Catholic school in LA, 1950s and 60s, I had very good nuns and priests, and yes the bad ones should rot in Hell!

seriouslyyyyy
seriouslyyyyy

@Triana Elan Yes, once in the Bahamas, in the 80s, I found that the very poor people there did not steal from the tourists, rather they offered their wares, their fruit for sale, they performed a service, on the beach etc.  one little boy showed us the "Queen's Steps"  a hidden staircase of stone built by slaves many centuries ago, so the Queen at the time could escape if pirates came to shore!!!  We got a good story and History, and we tipped him $5. He was glad to get it for his 5 min  tour!! Nassau the capital.. very British, the Bahamas!  The judge is black the lawyers are black, all wear the powdered white wigs like in the 1600s!!!!

seriouslyyyyy
seriouslyyyyy

@ronzolopez I agree.  I am 62 now, my boss in the 1990s was 60ish then,, he said in the 40s and 50s he, a Hispanic of Spain ancestors, he was born in the USA, Ariz or New Mexico, he at age 15, picked fruit in Ariz.  He was paid $3  per day, the white pickers got $6  per day.  Take it or leave it!!!  This is  and was terrible and wrong!! And I bet the hispanics picked faster!!!  I have seen Mexicans dig a hole with a shovel!!!!!   You want a Mexican or hispanic  working for you!!!  Yes.

seriouslyyyyy
seriouslyyyyy

@Mick Slick  I am part Irish, so I can say this : What is the diff  between  a high class Irish  and a low class Irish!!??   Ans:    " The High class Irish  moves the dishes out of the way  before peeing in the sink!!!!"   I heard this in SVU   the crime show Law and Order, I am not offended,, but don't call me Chief ( I am part Cherokee)  I am no one's Chief or Boss. And don't call me Guv-Nuh!!!  I am no one's "Governor"

seriouslyyyyy
seriouslyyyyy

@Mick Slick My Polish mom was born in Buffalo NY in 1914, she spoke Polish at home but not on the bus or in public. Why??  because she heard some non Polish women bad-mouthing the Poles. They said "The Poles are taking all the jobs!, the Poles are taking all the apts." My Polish grandpa Mike changed his name from Mike Jesonowski to Michael Jay.  Why??  to get hired as a cop in Buffalo NY. You had to be Irish to get a city job, esp Police!!  But he was fired for being too nice!  He would not make arrests!!  He would take drunks or fighters home to their wives rather than arrest them!! I saw him free flies from the spider's webs in the 1950s!!!  Nice man,, too nice.

seriouslyyyyy
seriouslyyyyy

@Malena DeSantos agree.  I had the kindest, loveliest  Nun in 8th grade, circa 1963. She was Sister Moira, O.P.   She signed her name "Sister Moira, O.P."   (Order of Preachers) a Dominican nun of the teaching variety. She looked like the nun in "Bells of St Mary"  the old movie. so nice and pretty.  She was called into the hallway on Nov 22, 1963  at 11 am. Kennedy was shot.  she was the one who told us in class right away. The girls were crying and the boys in shock!!!

pwzap
pwzap

@leoqaf @ExpertShot Now you are getting close to what I think Acer.  Latino is the experience, it encompasses many cultures and has achieved a mestijage.  Cuban is different from Colombian from Mexican and from (ojala) Hondureño.  Indigenous, that is ridiculous.  Practicably nobody nowadays has genes of an indio.

ExpertShot
ExpertShot topcommenter

@pwzap @leoqaf @ExpertShot How can one discriminate against a Latino as a race, or an ethnicity, when the ethnic groups which might self-identify as Latino are from so many  different ethnic groups - my point! 

The idea that people who identify as Latino in the Americas have little genetic indio in them is plain ignorance and bigotry by those Latinos who think so against Indios.  It is obvious that is what people who are bigots are basing their discrimination on and why they are "Down on Brown."   

Look at the way the American countries discriminate against indios - Mexico's treatment of the Yaqui's and many other tribes is as bad if not worse than the US Treatment of indios!

If you would all agree with this obvious fact, then you would have a much better basis to fight the discrimination against the brown people.  What makes you think that the dark skin color comes from any other people than the original inhabitants of this continent - the indios!

Embrace your heritage people and use it to give yourselves more power!  Every time you deny your indios heritage, you are harming your cause of equal treatment.


 
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