Why Do Mexicans Like to Smuggle Cheese So Much?

Why Do Mexicans Like to Smuggle Cheese So Much?EXPAND
Mark Dancey

DEAR MEXICAN: So how long can you keep up this racist shtick in a Los Angeles where Latinos are the majority? You're clever enough to use irony as a device to blunt your own just-kidding racism, but most of the Mexicans and pochos I know don't care enough to bother with such clever tricks. I've lived in LA most of the past 30 years, and I've worked and lived with many Mexicans and Mexican-Americans here. I even married a couple of them; I'm raising a half-Mexican child right now. What I've noticed is that Mexican hate for gabachos is surpassed only by their hate for—roughly in order—blacks, non-Mexican Latinos (mostly those from Central American countries closest to Mexico) and Asians. Europeans, with the possible exclusion of the French, are held in relatively high regard. Meaning you might not get spit in your burrito if they understand your whiteness doesn't preclude your shared status as enmigrantes. I've heard about how "inteligente" Hitler was from Mexicans far more than I ever heard it working with the white sons and daughters of slave states. And the Germans I've worked for over there were much kinder to their own Turkish and Italian laborers than I've seen Mexicans be to salvadoreños, guatemaltecos or—God forbid—blacks in the workplace. Why this victim/oppressor ambiguity? Is it a mirror of the legacy of La Conquista? The Stockholm syndrome of your non-consensual Aztec-hottie (great times 15) grannies for your bearded Euro forefathers? Once you get your standard canned-insult response out of the way, please enlighten us all on this point.

El Humano

DEAR HUMAN GABACHO: Mexicans hate no more than gabachos—no, seriously, look it up. And we worship whiteness no more than gabachos—no, seriously, look it up. Hate blacks? Y'all beat us by a bunch. Asians? The same. Gays? We might hate Central Americans un chingo, but it doesn't compare to the gabacho treatment of Mexicans. Really, the only difference between Mexicans and gabachos is that when we scarf down a bunch of hamburgers or bed a gabacha, we don't appoint ourselves experts on the Mexican condition, unlike ustedes pendejos after a michelada and a morenita.

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DEAR MEXICAN: I occasionally stumble upon news articles about your compadres sneaking in hundreds of pounds of illicit bologna and cheese from Mexico. The thought of eating bologna that's been lying in a hot car for a couple of hours is enough to make me gag. So what's the deal? What is it exactly? How good can this stuff taste that it has to be smuggled in as though kilos of weed? And surely there has to be a more legitimate source for it in Southern California, no?

Cheese It

DEAR GABACHO: I would've answered this question, but I have to pay for my wheels of illegal queso de pata from Zacatecas. So I threw the pregunta to Javier Cabral, West Coast correspondent for Munchies and a fellow zacatecano. "It's a little-known fact that most of the cheeses that you find at supermarkets in the U.S. are pasteurized, rubbery garbage," Cabral told the Mexican. "This stands in stark opposition to the world of full-bodied, complex cheeses made from raw milk that most Mexis grew up eating before tunneling over to the U.S. I'm talking about sharp parmigiano reggiano-like quesos añejos and briney, mozzarella-like Oaxacan quesillo fit to be on the pizza scene of a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles movie. In some Mexican families, if your Mexican relatives show up without a neatly wrapped ball of cheese, they might as well be excommunicated. Sadly, the stringent laws against raw milk in the American dairy industry do not allow for the production or sales of any true Mexican cheeses. Until that day comes, you best bet that the underground Mexican cheese trade will be as rampant as the Mexican poppy trade."

As for Mexican bologna? Cabral and the Mexican have never heard of such a thing. "However," Cabral adds, "come back if you want to talk illegally imported carne seca from Sinaloa."

Ask the Mexican at themexican@askamexican.net, be his fan on Facebook, follow him on Twitter @gustavoarellano or follow him on Instagram @gustavo_arellano!


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