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Dear Readers: It's not just questions and racist rants that invade the Mexican's mailboxyour feedback sneaks under my digital fence, también. Let's start with Lean Like a K Street Chola, a former gangbanger turned lobbyist who wrote in a couple of weeks back wondering how she could explain to quizzical pals why Mexican women use lip-liner. The Mexican responded that such coloring "attracts men." Here's her response:
Q. Just one thing, muchacho: Not all women are interested in attracting hombres. Probably safer to not assume in the future. I've been pura lesbiana since before I was even a chola. I will grant that [using lip-liner] is probably to attract the mujeres machas. But a friend said she read somewhere that Latinas apply lipstick even more than non-Latinas, so perhaps it's just genetic! Lean Like a K Street Chola
A. Muchas apologies, K Street Chola, but what did you expect from a macho Mexican man? I don't know about your amiga's assertion, but a study this year published by the NPD Group found that "Hispanic" women were more likely to use mascara, blush, eyeliner, and lipstick than any other ethnic group. Maybe the genetic part is rightor maybe Mexican women (of all sexual persuasions!) just like to look better for their homeboys and heinas than gabachas.
The following is a general commentary to keep in mind whenever corpulent Know Nothings compare Mexicans to Al Qaeda:
Q. During the opening night of The Simpsons Movie, my friend and I were surprised to find that the young group of Mexicans sitting behind us had dropped a loaded .45 ACP clip under our seat. Shocked and vowing to never frequent that Phoenix theater again, I left with a further disappointment in Mexicans. On the flip side, I ran out of gas on the freeway a week later. While walking alongside the freeway, a Mexican gentleman by the name of Lionel stopped and picked me up. Lionel drove me 30 miles round-trip to get gas and would only accept my name and deepest gratitude as payment. I'm writing this as a plea for people not to judge a group of people just because of a few bad tamales, and to show my appreciation for my Hispanic hero, Lionel. Grateful Gringo
A. I concur: Love the good Mexicans, nuke the cholosexcept K Street Chola, of course.
And now, on to this week's question:
Q. Dear Mexican: Can you give me a good response when people ask me (often rudely), "What ARE you, anyway?" My mother is Mexican, my father is white. I look sort of vaguely ethnichence the question. I like "White-xican," but is there some better answer out there? Brown-Skinned Girl
A. Dear Half-Wab: Few things peeve the Mexican more than when someone questions a person's ethnic identity. I don't care if it's gabachos calling American citizens "anchor babies" or Mexican nationalists insisting someone must be born in Mexico to call themselves a Mexican; as I've written before, national character is never static, and anyone who claims otherwise is as deluded as a Minuteman. That's why I love it when half-breeds create new terms to describe their dual heritages. "White-xican" is fine, but dig further into your gabacho papi's past to create something better. My favorites are leprecano (half-Mexican, half-Irish), beaner-weiner (half-Mex, half-Kraut), Puerto Nortalian (quarter-Puerto Rican, quarter-Italian, half-Norwegian), and Korexican, the child of a Korean and Mexican marriage. I'm sure I'm missing out on other creative ethnic labels for half-Mexicansgot any more, gentle readers?
Got a spicy question about Mexicans? Ask the Mexican at firstname.lastname@example.org.