¡Ask A Mexican! for Apr 22, 2010
One man's take on his culture's stereotypes
Thursday, April 22, 2010
Dear Mexican: I have a friend who frequently wears a T-shirt that boldly states in big, bad-ass, Old English letters, “Hecho en México.” Five facts follow:
*He was born 23 years ago in the United States, in Bellflower, California.
*His truly Mexican parents were nowhere near Mexico when he was conceived.
*His Spanish is worse than his English.
*He has conceded that the “Made in Mexico” displayed across his man-breasts DOES NOT imply the T-shirt was manufactured in Mexico.
*I easily upset him when I declare that I’m more Mexican than he is, by the mere fact that I was at least born OUTSIDE the United States in the Philippines.
So what gives? Why is it so easy for me to bust his balls by calling him an American? And, so, whenever he wears that shirt I always tell him that he’s disingenuous, but he just looks at me and asks, “What the hell does ‘disingenuous’ mean?”
--Sancho Villa, the Filipino Friend of El Pocho
Dear Flip: Filipinos might be the Mexicans of Asia, and boxer Manny Pacquiao might own Mexican pugilists the way Mexi men take gabachas, but that doesn’t make you more mexicano than your wabby pal. Your amigo’s fixation on asserting a mexicanidad that he ostensibly can’t claim ties back to my column a couple of weeks ago regarding the United States Census and its antebellum racial classifications. As I stated then, Mexicans insist they are a separate raza instead of an ethnicity even though we all now know that the whole concept of race is socially constructed and about as scientifically valid as creationism – but the insistence makes sense, regardless of how many generations removed from Mexico a pocho may be. The allure of closely associating with an ancestral culture is a longstanding spice of the American melting pot, best explained by the sociologist Herbert Gans as symbolic ethnicity. We let micks and goombahs generations no longer fresh off the boats call themselves Irish and Italian, so why not let pochos call themselves Mexican? That’s right – because anything gabachos do is right, and all Mexicans do is make babies and Reconquista. Have sympathy, and let your friend call himself Mexican, Sancho, because Know Nothings have the last laugh – your proud “Mexican” wakes up every day in el gabacho.