Illustration by Mark DancyDear Mexican,

Why do many Mexicans call themselves "Latino" instead of just "Mexican"? Are they ashamed of something?


Dear Gabacho,

What Mexicans are you talking to? Gloria Estefan? Self-appointed spokespeople for larazasuch as OrangeCountyRegister"Latino" columnist Yvette Cabrera and Dora the Explorer want you to believe Mexicans drop their nationality enlosEstadosUnidosin favor of the pan-hemispheric Latino. Well, that's a pinchelie. Only PC gabachosand Mexicans pining to be PC gabachoscall Mexicans "Latinos." But you're right about Mexicans rarely calling themselves "Mexican," John. Since there are so many damn Mexicans in Orange County, we more commonly identify ourselves by state—I, for instance, am from the central state of Zacatecas, Mexico. But since there are so many damn Zacatecans in Orange County, we usually branch off by municipario—therough equivalent of a county. I'm from the municiparioof Jerez, Zacatecas, but since there are so many damn jerezanosin Orange County, we then divide ourselves by ranchos(villages)—I hail from El Cargadero, Jerez, Zacatecas, Mexico. But since there are so many damn cargaderensesin Orange County . . . you get the picture. Provincialism is as Mexican as tequila and the illegal-immigrant cousin—there are multiple soccer and baseball leagues in Orange County organized around different ranchos, municipariosand states. In fact, the last thing a Mexican will call himself is a Mexican—and only to differentiate himself at work from that méndigoGuatemalan.

Got a spicy question about Mexicans? Ask the Mexican at garellano@ocweekly.com. And those of you who do submit questions: give your name or a pseudonym,por favor, orwe'llmakeoneupforyou!


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