¡Ask A Mexican! for Dec 30, 2010
One man's take on his culture's stereotypes
Thursday, December 30, 2010
Dear Readers: The failure by the Senate to pass the DREAM Act – which would’ve made citizens out of young adults who came to this country as children and go to college or join the military – shows there are still too many who honestly believe Mexis will always sleep under the proverbial cactus and drink the figurative tequila. In that spirit, I give the Senate a belated present, my favorite assimilation preguntas.Dear Mexican: Why is it that Mexicans can be put into two working classes: Those who work their asses off while everyone else takes a siesta, and those who take a siesta while everyone else works their asses off? Person Understandably Ticked Off
Dear PUTO: It’s the parents who never take a siesta – it’s their kids who slag off. In a 1993 study, famed ethnographers Alejandro Portes and Min Zhou found the more assimilated a Mexican-American youngster was, the worse his lot in life. “Seeing parents confined to humble menial jobs and aware of discrimination against them by the white mainstream,” they wrote, “U.S.-born children of earlier immigrants readily join a reactive subculture as a means of protecting their self-worth.” Translation: Mexican kids see their parents toil to move out of a dangerous apartment to a dingy condo, and then, while the parents work 18-hour days to make the rent, leave for college, wear a Che shirt and travel Central America to “find themselves.” They return as flojos who become vegetarians and talk of revolution while bouncing from collection job to collection job. In other words, they become Americans.
Why don’t Mexicans have enough gratitude to learn English? Too stupid? Too lazy? Took Four Years of Spanish in High School
Dear Gabacho: The government’s Dillingham Commission released a 42-volume study that said, “The new immigration as a class is far less intelligent than the old… The old immigration came to be a part of the country, while the new comes with the intention of profiting, in a pecuniary way, by the superior advantages of the new world and then returning to the old country.” The report faulted the new immigrants for their lack of assimilation and English, contrasting them with earlier generations of immigrants, and urged clampdowns on immigration. Sound familiar? That’s because the Dillingham report appeared in 1911, and the inassimilable were Europeans.