Dear Mexican: I teach U.S. citizenship classes in both Spanish and English. Recently, some of my students corrected others in Spanish about race terms. How do I help my students talk about race progressively, so they don't sound like racist grandmas?
— Denver, but Works in Littleton
Dear Gabacha: Tough, ain't it? A jefe once told me that German was such a direct language that the word for "meat" literally translated as "flesh," and that's how it is when Mexicans speak race in America. "African-American" does translate as afroamericano in Mexican Spanish, but most Mexicans think that's PC silliness and a mouthful. Instead, the best you can hope for is negro, which literally translates as "black" but means "Negro." Similarly, "Asian-American" translates as asiático-americano, but most Mexicans go for chino — a Chinese. And I'm saying the polite terms; I can only imagine what your students cracked during class. My advice: Teach them that race is a social construct, hyphens shouldn't exist, and everyone in this country is an American — except that pendejo Donald Trump, of course.
Dear Mexican: On the radio show On the Media, you said you think white America will never accept Mexicans and Mexican-Americans as anything besides an "other." I've heard other people argue that, like other immigrant groups such as Italians and Irish who were initially considered "other," Mexican-Americans will one day also become assimilated into "mainstream" American society. What leads you to disagree?
— Media Pundit
Dear Gabacho: You wrote this back in 2006, just after I appeared on the NPR show (sorry for just getting to your pregunta: The queue for this columna is longer than the pedestrian line at the U.S.-Mexico border). I should've added during my appearance that Mexicans are always assimilating into American society; it's just that American society won't accept it. I was proven right, regardless: It's now 2015, and Republican candidates are babbling about anchor babies, mass deportations and border walls. Meanwhile, us Mexis keep assimilating and are getting ready to vote pendejos away next year and side with Deez Nutz!
Dear Mexican: Why do most Americans stereotype us as stupid Chicanos? Chicanos are a disgrace to Mexicans, and so are cholos. Our roots don't take pride in the things these pendejos value.
— I'm a Hispanic, Not a Stupid Chicana.
Dear Pendeja: While I'm no fan of cholos, and have bagged on Chicanos before, it's pendejas like you that make me want to put on a Bo Jackson Raiders jersey and blast "Crystal Blue Persuasion" from my Monte Carlo. Mexican "roots"? You mean a culture that historically glamorized valientes (gunslingers), revolutionaries, and bloody Christs? Or are you one of those fresas who isn't that type of Mexican, who looks askance at pochos and paisas? News flash for you, princesa: your "Hispanic" vendida pendeja kind is the biggest disgrace to raza since that one chick who said her ancestors were Basque even though she had a big ol' nopal en la frente.
Ask the Mexican at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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