!Ask a Mexican! The Mole People

They keep burrowing into the country, misspelling things

Dear Mexican: Why is it that those of us who oppose illegal immigration are called racist by many Mexicans? Personally, I think Hispanic people are a beautiful and diverse people who contribute tremendously to our culture (and are spicy hot as well!). At the same time, I oppose illegals who wander across the border as if they just won the lottery, with no regard for our laws or culture and not knowing a single word of English. While I agree that it should be much easier to obtain legal citizenship here, there also need to be some standards for who gets it. While one person may think that having a family of 10 in a two-bedroom apartment here is a huge step up from the shack they had in Mexico, I certainly wouldn't want to live next to them! But I don't understand how all of that makes me racist. I feel the same way about people of my own race, or any other race, who are lazy and dirty. It is not a matter of race; it is an issue of integrity, sacrifice, and patriotism. If they are trying to convince those of us who oppose them to re-think our views, calling us racist is not going to do it. Learn some English and stop screaming "Viva Mexico!" on the land my ancestors died defending and we can talk eye to eye; otherwise, go back to the land you love so much. —Bourbon Bobby

Dear Gabacho: Gracias for giving me a break by answering your own question!

I know you are syndicated and all, but could you tell the SF Weekly the difference between a mole and molé? They put the offending column on the back side of the glorious page that has ¡Ask a Mexican! —El Maestro

Dear Readers: The teacher refers to the November 12 issue of San Francisco's premier alt weekly—on page 25 of the Calendar section, writer Hiya Swanhuyser wrote about the Mission Cultural Center's "Mole to Die For" event, in which participants could taste multiple versions of the legendary Mexican meal. El Maestro thought Swanhuyser misspelled the name of the dish, and that gabacho readers would likely think the Cultural Center was offering furry creatures for consumption instead of a complex, multilayered terrestrial ambrosia. Unfortunately, El Maestro got phonetically punked. Mole and mole are false friends, a grammatical concept referring to words that look the same and might even sound the same but have different definitions. There is no accent on the last letter in the food version of mole—it follows Spanish grammatical rules that require speakers to pronounce every letter and stress the second-to-last syllable in words that end with a vowel—to distinguish it from the burrowing animal, so gabacho readers must figure out which mole writers are referring to when they use the term. This false friendship leads to many delightful confusions and is a warning to gabachos that, while many Spanish and English words share roots and sound similar, one shouldn't assume anything about language. Don't believe me? Try this experiment—next time the Mexican mujer in your life does something embarrassing, tell everyone within earshot she's embarazada. Make sure to wear an athletic cup! Finally, for those of you at home who are nerds like me, the etymologies of the two moles: The Mexican foodstuff comes from the Nahuatl mulli (sauce), and the furry creature probably derives from the Old English molde, signifying soil.

 
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