Why Do We Think All Mexicans Drink Tequila and Listen to Mariachi?

Why Do We Think All Mexicans Drink Tequila and Listen to Mariachi?EXPAND
Mark Dancey

DEAR MEXICAN: How come you call yourself a Mexican? By definition, you're a Chicano, not a Mexican. A Mexican is a person who was born and raised in Mexico, not beautiful Orange County. A Mexican is a person who is proud of his country and appreciates and respects the Mexican flag, even though he left the country years ago. A Mexican read the free textbooks provided by the Secretaria de Educación Pública during his school years and studied Mexican history. A Mexican is a person who sang the Mexican national anthem every Monday morning while watching six kids carry the flag around. Mexicans know the difference between the more than 150 chiles that exist in our country; Mexicans grew up eating candies with different chiles. Mexicans watch Televisa and Televisión Azteca, not Telemundo or Univisión. Mexicans speak fluent Spanish, not Spanglish. Mexicans came to this country to work hard and have a decent life, not to destroy this place like you and your people believe. Mexicans believe that family and religion are the most important values. Mexicans are not planning to take over California—we are too lazy to even think about it, and we do not believe in wars. I can go on and on describing the differences between you and me, but let's just leave it like that. How can you even describe our culture, values or behavior if you don't have a clue about it? Eating burritos at Taco Bell, going to Mexican parties in SanTana or having Grandma cook some Mexican dishes doesn't make you a Mexican.

Más Pendejo

DEAR WAB: Let's run down your list: check (most of my parents' rancho had relocated to Anaheim by the time I was born), check, check (my dad's cousin was a history teacher in Mexico), check, check, check, check (where do you think Univisión gets most of its programming? Lifetime?), por supuesto, check and too late. Add to this my mestizo heritage, the facts that mi papi was an illegal immigrant and I didn't speak fluent English until I was 6 or 7, and that I grew a mustache in the time it took you to read this sentence, and I'm more Mexican than Pedro Infante. Besides, who made you arbiter of mexicanidad, Real Mexican? National character is never static, and anyone who claims otherwise is as deluded as a Trumpbro.

*     *     *     *     *

DEAR MEXICAN: Why do we always think Mexican men drink tequila and sing mariachi tunes, while the women are pretty señoritas?

Constancia—Not Your Tia Concha

DEAR GABACHO: Mexicans frequently blame ustedes for perpetuating various stereotypes about nosotros over the centuries, but a big part of the blame also falls on us. During World War II, a time when Mexico's film industry experienced a renaissance that scholars refer to as La Época de Oro (The Golden Age), Mexican movie studios produced great social tales, comedies and horror films, but the ones that received the most acclaim were the comedias rancheras. They starred matinee idols such as Pedro Infante and Jorge Negrete, who meted out frontier justice and wooed the chicas guapas from underneath sombreros—always while guzzling tequila and riding on horseback. The image came from the state of Jalisco, birthplace of mariachi and tequila. "Needing a people who could personify hispanismo," wrote Joanne Hirschfield. . . . [Mexican note: The answer continues, but thanks to shrinking newspaper sizes in the decade that I've wrote this, I can't fit the whole respuesta in anymore. Support your local alt-weekly, gentle cabrones.]

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


Sponsor Content

Newsletters

All-access pass to the top stories, events and offers around town.

  • Top Stories
    Send:

Newsletters

All-access pass to top stories, events and offers around town.

Sign Up >

No Thanks!

Remind Me Later >