My White Lover Gets Mad When I Talk to My Family in Spanish—Should She?

DEAR MEXICAN: I’m a Latina with Mexican parents—well, parent, since my father has been nonexistent since I was 13, but, you know, you still respect him cause he’s your sperm donor? Anyhoo, the point of this letter is not only am I a lesbian, but also my partner is white. We have been together for about a year; in gay years, that’s like 12. But she doesn’t get why I’m so close to my family. We have small arguments (which she likes to call discussions) about how Mexicans take advantage of the system. After many “discussions,” we agreed it’s not just Mexicans who take advantage; it’s any race. They all have them: whites have white trash, blacks have thugs, and Mexicans have cholos or whatever they go by these days. She sees that my family takes advantage of me, but push come to shove, my family is my family, and they will be there for me now as much as they have been there for me in the past, and so will I.

I’m a little out of “discussions” on how to explain the closeness Mexicans just have with their families. The other issue is she wants to learn Spanish and is having a hard time, and she doesn’t like to be around my family ’cause instinct makes us kick into speaking Spanglish or Tex-Mex, and she says it’s like she just doesn’t exist ’cause she only understands a third of the conversation. She gets irritated ’cause she says that we all speak English except for my mom, so when my mom is not around, why can’t we just stick to English? I really have no answer to that question; it’s just instinct to speak Spanish to anyone who speaks Spanish, regardless if they speak English or not. I do feel bad ’cause I know Spanish is hard to learn, but it’s kind of impossible to not speak it when my mom doesn’t understand English.

So what’s the solution? I really love my white girl and hate to end up going our separate ways for silly things such as these. Any suggestions?

Latin Lesbian in Loss

DEAR POCHA: Gabachos will never understand why Mexicans are so close to their family, just as they’ll never understand our love for midgets. But the bigger issue here is linguistics. If your lover is trying to learn Spanish, why does she get mad when you and your siblings speak en Español? Does she get agüitada when you use the language of love for your almohada talk? Seems to be underlying issues here, so I say dump la pendeja and move on to a Mexican mujer who gets you and your culture. Besides, don’t forget that gabachas are like that fifth torta de chorizo—seems like a good time at first, but it’ll leave you chingado in the end.

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DEAR MEXICAN: I work in a kitchen with many Mexicans, and they often refer to me as “Charlie.” What’s up with Mexicans calling everyone “Charlie”?

Charlie Surfs

DEAR GABACHO: You heard that story about the gabacho who’s suing a Mario Batali restaurant because he claimed the Mexican cooks called him “gringo,” “estúpido,” “pendejo” and even a “Chinga tu madre“? The chavala didn’t get what you don’t seem to understand: that Mexican cooks love to bust one another’s balls and will pile on the insults if you react negatively. It’s working-class culture, and if you can’t take the heat, get out of the cocina, cabrón. But since the Mexican is ever-magnanimous, here’s a tip: You can return the calor by calling your co-workers a below-the-belt insult such as “Rick Bayless.”

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