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: I'm a pocha immigration attorney. I have so many questions for you I'm thinking I should just hire you as a consultant. Why do Mexicans seem to want me to lie to them and steal their money and tell them they can become residents even when it's hopeless? Why can't Mexicans answer yes-or-no questions with a "yes" or "no"? Why do they have to give me long narratives that make no sense? If Mexicans claim that part of the reason they don't want to be in Mexico is because of government corruption, then why do they ask me to lie for them and help them to lie? Why are polleros the rudest, most aggressive clients a lawyer could ever have? Why don't mexicanas want a female attorney, while mexicanos seem to think it's kind of cool? When I go into fast-food restaurants in my power suits and order tacos, why do the mexicanas selling me the food giggle and make fun? Why can't they just be happy and proud for one of their own? When I tell a Mexican that I don't think their case is winnable, why do they change from using "usted" with me to "tu"? When I tell a Mexican bad news, why can't I just speak normally in Spanish? Why is it that I get so nervous that my pocha accent comes out super-strong?
DEAR WABETTE: If people want to hire me as a consultant, I charge by the hour, with payments acceptable in tacos, tequila bottles and Chicano Studies books. So let's empezar your bill starting . . . ahorita. Mexicans want you to tell them they can become residents because they are paying you to make their hopeless situation a legal one, lies or not. Their "long narratives that make no sense" are otherwise known as America's immigration system. They ask you to lie for them because the alternative is going back to Mexico's cesspool of corruption—again, it's your job as an immigration attorney to make the hopeless hopeful by making the impossible happen, ethics be damned. Polleros are going to be rude because they're criminals—and outside of Daniel Stern's character in Born in East L.A., do you know of any gentleman human smugglers? Mexicanas not wanting you to represent them isn't a pocha thing, but a female thing, so go write to Jezebel about that one; Mexican men wanting you as an attorney, in turn, is all about an hombre ogling you. As a pocha, you shouldn't be eating fast food in the first place—and the mexicana-on-pocha hate is another female issue that Jezebel can answer. When a Mexican switches from addressing you as usted to tu, it's because you're no longer someone deserving of their respect, but the shyster scamming them out of cash. Finally, you start talking like a pocha when you tell them the bad news because you don't like delivering bad news—that's understandable. Let's see . . . carry over the dos, add three, include a first-timer discount, and your final legal bill with me is a taquero for 30 people, a bottle of ON Tequila and a first-edition autographed copy of Occupied America. Pleasure doing business!
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DEAR MEXICAN: Why do so many Mexican parents let their kids play in the street unsupervised? I'm sure this practice isn't limited to Mexicans, but it seems as though some neighborhoods are filled with Mexican kids playing in the streets, not paying attention to traffic (no matter how quiet the street might be) and with no parents in sight. Are these parents lazy, stupid or encouraging self-reliance?
DEAR GABACHO: Every chamaco is going to be a different story, but the main reason Mexicans let their kids play on the street is because there's nowhere else for them to play. The lack of park spaces in barrios is an unfortunate phenomenon well-known to city planners and best examined in Cal State Los Angeles professor David R. Diaz's influential Barrio Urbanism: Chicanos, Planning and American Cities. Compounding that is that most landlords in barrios don't allow kids to play in common areas, leading families to let them loose onto the mean streets. ¿Triste, no?