DEAR MEXICAN: In the St. Louis area, less than 3 percent of the population is Latino, and less than 4 percent of St. Louisans are immigrants. This is very, very, low, and it actually makes St. Louis look pretty bad. Why does everyone here feel like they have a say in the illegal-immigration discussion?
Gaga for Gibson
DEAR GABACHO: It gets worse than what you wrote. Of the 25 largest metropolitan areas in the United States, St. Louis is the only one with a Latino population less than 5 percent—and the latest info from the American Community Survey clocks the Gateway City with a whopping 2.9 percent. I could fit more Mexicans in the cab of my '79 Ford Ranger than there are in St. Louis. The easy answer is to presume the city is muy racist, but it's also home to the largest Bosnian Serb population in the world outside the Balkans—and most are Muslims. Yet it's easier than that: St. Louis is just a bit more than four hours away from Chicago, the ciudad with the second-largest Mexican community in the United States after Chicago, a community with roots that go back nearly 125 years. Nothing against the Lou, but why would Mexicans stay in the Jalostotitlán of the Midwest when they can move to the Jerez?
* * * * *
DEAR MEXICAN: Why is it that people in this country seem to think that randomly sprinkling accent marks over something makes it Spanish, rather than realizing that an accent mark marks an accent? Right after reading your column, my eyes fell on an ad for a restaurant serving "authentic Mexican food," including "molé." ¿Qué cosa? Sounds like a cross between comida poblana and a bullfight.
DEAR GABACHA: You know what's the weirdest thing about this phenomenon? How gabachos will put a tilde over habanero to incorrectly turn it into "habañero," yet they always neglect the tilde in jalapeño. And then when they pronounce their mistakes! "Habañero" in an American accento to the Mexican ear sounds like someone who likes restrooms, while "jalapeno" sounds like someone who likes to pull pitos. But it's not a surprise that gabachos do such butchering—according to English, only French is worthy of proper diacritics, while the rest of the world's language can go jala pene.
* * * * *
If you like this story, consider signing up for our email newsletters.
SHOW ME HOW
You have successfully signed up for your selected newsletter(s) - please keep an eye on your mailbox, we're movin' in!
DEAR MEXICAN: I'm from Bent, New Mexico (no kidding, and no pun intended), and my dilemma lies in my own idea for a performance piece. To simultaneously transcend all cultural AND sexual borders, I will be in blackface, lip-synching (flawlessly) a rather vocally challenging Sarah Vaughan song, draped in an evening gown made from nothing more than the Mexican flag itself. (And plastic, gold high heels, of course.) As political correctness goes, I understand it's okay for a black person to perform in blackface, but is it okay for this brown mexicana hombre to go so far? And garbed in the Mexican flag? Will I be offending or enlightening?
DEAR POCHX: Do it in the American flag, and Hollywood will give you an overall deal—just ask Carlos Mencia.