¡Ask a Mexican! Video Question Becomes Major Issue in L.A. City Council Race—WTF?!

Joe Bray-Ali asking his question so long ago...I hope he makes his bed now
Joe Bray-Ali asking his question so long ago...I hope he makes his bed now
YouTube screen grab

In 2008, I began to take ¡Ask a Mexican! questions on YouTube as part of a companywide effort to make videos. They were fun, and got good views, but I stopped the first run because I didn't like my boss at the time forcing us to do new things with no budget. I started them up again a couple of years after that once I became Mexican-in-Chief, then stopped again because my computer broke or some shit. I stand by them all, and watch them every once in a while to reminisce about cool shirts and guayaberas of the past—ah, memories...

So imagine my surprise this morning when radio legend Tom Leykis tagged me on Facebook with a "Now look what you did!" and a link to a Los Angeles Times article that appeared last night. It appears that one Joe Bray-Ali, who's running against legendary Chicano politician (and current Los Angeles City Council District 1 representative Gil Cedillo), has apologized because he submitted a question to my YouTube ¡Ask a Mexican! in 2008. Then, he asked why Mexicans like to use car horns as doorbells. Bray-Ali's problem, at the time, was that they woke up his baby daughter, which he used as a prop in the video to score cheap sympathy points with me (it didn't work).

Roll the tape! Man, I miss that flowery shirt...

Cedillo's team—caught by surprise that they couldn't get Gil a win in the primary, and who now must actually work to ensure he wins the upcoming runoff—sent a version of the video to reporters after a supporter yelled at Bray-Ali "Go back to India!" during a debate earlier this week. “Joe apologizes,” a Bray-Ali spokesperson told Times reporter Dakota Smith. “He says the comment was stupid and it’s amazing how social media can remind of the mistakes of youth. This was nine years ago.”

On Facebook, Cedillo's supporters are trying to use Bray-Ali's question as proof he's racist, ridiculing his spokesperson's assertion to the Times that George Lopez has made jokes about Mexicans as car horns. Bray-Ali, for his part, told one of my pals on Facebook that the reason he did the video way back when was because he's a fan of mine, but "Sucks I had an urge to make a video like this."

Wow, where to begin...how about fuck everyone involved?

Fuck Smith for not doing her research and realizing that Bray-Ali's question was directed at me—that dramatically changes the dynamics of the story. Fuck Cedillo's team for responding to a racial taunt by one of his supporters by sending reporters the question to turn the tables on Bray-Ali (Cedillo, for his part, denounced the nastiness, although one of his fans is now leaving anti-Indian comments on my clip). Fuck Cedillo's supporters for not allowing Bray-Ali to ask a legitimate question about Mexicans to a column set up for that. Fuck any Cedillo supporters who think the very act of engaging with ¡Ask a Mexican! is racist—Gil sure didn't think so when he was a member of the Latino Legislative Caucus in 2008 when they awarded me with a Latino Spirit Award for what they said was my "exceptional vision, creativity, and work ethic."

Fuck Bray-Ali's supporters for trying to drag in former state senator Martha Escutia into the "Go back to India!" debacle. Fuck Bray-Ali's brother for sending me a Facebook message that got sent to that filtered folder bullshit—my email's pretty easy to find, bruh. Fuck Bray-Ali for apologizing and taking back his question—implies what you did was wrong, which it wasn't. With fans like you, who needs enemies?

Man, where's a non-misogynistic version of "Hit 'Em Up," when I need it?

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Everyone involved: don't use my column for your pathetic needs. Take a deep breath, and concentrate on issues that matter in District 1, like housing affordability and the fact that gentrified* Highland Park is overrated.

Editor's note: Added at the end, because OG Highland Park is great, while all the newfangled hipster bullshit is weak salsa.


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