Is it Ethical to Haggle Vendors in Mexico?
DEAR MEXICAN: Why is it that many Mexican women hate on me for having an Asian (Korean, to be exact) novia? I notice this in a lot of places. We go to the store, and I get looks. We go to the movies, and people stare or say things such as "Mira la chinita." I get looks from Asian people as well, but many Mexican women look at me with the evil eye. When I asked my co-worker, who is Latina, why this is so, she basically said it makes her and other Latinas feel unwanted. I really do not see color lines. What does it matter? I don't judge others, so why do they judge me? My novia is a good person, and we are doing great. Her family and my family have accepted us with open arms. But sometimes we have to avoid certain places. The funny thing is she speaks Spanish fluently, and I am a novice with Korean. Many of the Latinas are hating, but they themselves can't speak the language of the culture they hold so dearly. I'm a shaved-head rocker, and I don't think people expect it when I say she is my novia. What's your take on this?
El Pocho Loco del Burbank
DEAR POCHO: "P.S.," you added at the end of your letter, "I love it when people talk smack about her, and she turns around and tells them, 'Entiendo todo lo que dicen, babosas.' It really freaks people out." HA! I'm glad she understands everything the babosas say about her, too. And I'm glad your chinita's parents accept you. Back when I was dating a chinita (a Vietnamese girl, but who's keeping score?), her parents thought I was little better than a cholo-gardener-illegal-bandito even though I dressed like a Chicano nerd (guayaberas, Chucks, slacks) and was a graduate student (the cholo-gardener-illegal-bandito bit was only on weekends). My parents, on the other hand, welcomed the chinita into our household. Then again, I've heard of situations like that flipped, so I wouldn't attribute Know Nothing relationship attitudes to any particular raza. Stats on intermarriage rates between chinitos and wabs are hard to come by, which I guess proves your point—even demographers don't believe in the possibility of chinito-Mexi love—but I do know that Latinos and Asians are the two ethnic groups with the highest rates of marrying outside their races, so your beautiful relationship is the shape of cosas to come, not some crime against nature à la a Mexican Republican. Mexican women don't like your chinita? They're just upset no man is giving them the chile, period.
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DEAR MEXICAN: Why do some Chicano activists hate the European Columbus, but get mad because this Mexican (me) is not fluent in Spanish? Isn't Spanish a European language that half our ancestors forced on the other half of our ancestors?
Apparently Slightly Pocho In San Anto
DEAR POCHO: Shh! Don't introduce logic to a yaktivist! They might soil their maxtlatl!
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DEAR MEXICAN: Why do Mexicans here in Chiapas think that because I'm a gringo, I will or am able to pay more for stuff? Nothing works, not even "No soy turista" or "¿Cuanto cuesta por los Mexicanos?" Now, my pocho friend tells me to hide my skinny white ass around the corner while he negotiates the price for everything. ¿Qué paso? Do I have "tonto" stamped on my forehead or what? Soy pobre maestro de inglés. No gano mucho.
DEAR GABACHO: You think that slumming it in southernmost Mexico teaching English to chiapanecos entitles you to everything Mexican, including easier haggling at the tianguis? Cry me a pinche river, Great White Padre. An American haggling Mexican vendors in Mexico is like a city bureaucrat demanding taxes from a kid's lemonade stand.
This column appeared in print as "Special Pocho Edition."
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