By Alex Distefano
By Scott Snowden
By Anna Merlan
By Steve Almond
By Jena Ardell
By Jon Campbell
By Alan Scherstuhl
By Tessa Stuart
Dear Mexican: I have a question from one Mexican to another: Why do gabachos think we know everything about plants? During conversations with the estado unidenses, I am asked about plants, pruning, how to keep roses alive, etc. I understand that many of my compatriotas working over here are gardeners (and the best at it!), but that does not give us all a botany degree. Please help me figure it out. —Xochimilco Dreaming
Dear Wab: Within each stereotype lies a kernel of truth, goes the pinche cliché, and your example is a great case. Compared with gabachos, each Mexican—no matter how assimilated or fresa—is a walking greenhouse. Many of our mamis know about the wonders of yerbas (herbs) to tend to a family's medicinal needs—yerba buena tea for most any ailment; aloe vera to salve a burn; epazote for a bad case of the pedos. All Mexican families try to grow some type of edible plant on whatever land they can find—whether a simple chile plant or towering corn stalks. This knowledge is passed down from generation to generation if you're a good Mexican; if you're not, go find a tía. Gabachos might chortle at us, since growing one's own crops for sustenance is the hallmark of a developing society, but that's fine: As the Great Recession spreads, and the gabachos, suckled for decades on the teat of prepackaged meals and convenience, lose their jobs, they'll increasingly realize that living like Mexicans not only makes life more affordable, it comes with hot second cousins, too!
I realize your column is tongue-in-cheek, but you also perpetuate a myth that I have come to find enables a serious problem—that is, the myth that all Hispanics are somehow "hardworking" because they'll do manual labor. Or, as I've heard many claim in defense of illegal immigration, "They'll do anything to earn a living." That's a lie. There's one thing the majority of Mexican- and Central-American immigrants won't do to make a living: think. I teach in Los Angeles. The majority of students in the district are Hispanic—Mexican- and Central-American. The majority are failing—they're relatively illiterate. They fail because they are lazy. They will not do the work, and they will gladly tell you that. What I have come to find, sadly, is that the majority of Hispanics from Mexico and Central America would rather do manual labor than use their brains. This is why Hispanics in the Southwest constitute a growing and perpetual servant class: They have a visceral hatred of education. It's part of a white liberal myth that manual labor makes for "hard work" when it comes to illegal immigrants and their children. Manual labor makes for sweat—nothing more. Intellectual effort is far more difficult, makes for success and competitiveness, and is why the majority of the Hispanic students I work with are headed for little better than their illegal immigrant parents—manual labor. The reason: not oppression, not racism, but because, as so many of them proudly exclaim, they're lazy. So, define "lazy gabacho," most of whom can do better than work in the fields, in contrast to "lazy Mexican," many of whom can't muster the intellectual effort to imagine anything better. —Not Proud of My Heritage
Dear Disgrace: If ever there was a case for teacher accountability, it's you. Go Netflix Stand and Deliver, and learn a cosa or two.
Why does Mexican food always make me shit?
Because it wants to leave your gabacho ass as soon as possible.
KNOW NOTHINGS! Who among you can truly say they hate the illegal Mexican but not the legal one? Who among you doesn't care about culture but everything about the law? The best three responders (keep answers under 100 words) get a Border Patrol hat or a copy of my ¡Ask a Mexican! book—their choice! Deadline is February 19, so ¡ándale, ándale, ándale!