Opinion: One man’s take on his culture’s stereotypes
¡Ask a Mexican! 01.06.11
Thursday, January 6, 2011
Dear Mexican: I was today alerted to the problem of trash dumped on the Sonoran Desert in Arizona. There are lots and lots of piles of trash – looks like clothes – in a wash in Arizona. Can you tell me what’s going on? - Previously Lived in California but Moved to Massachusetts Some Years Ago
Dear Gabacha: Not just clothes but also water bottles, backpacks, plastic bags, human excrement – at least 24 million pounds of trash collected on the Arizona-Mexico border since the beginning of this century, according to the Bureau of Land Management, and almost all of it dropped by Mexicans coming into this country illegally. But if you think the Sonoran Desert is trashed, then you should’ve seen the Bowery around the turn of the 20th century. I’m not going to make excuses for the Sonoran Desert garbage dump, other than people running for their lives tend to leave things behind, and it’s poverty that creates apathy toward neighborhood or environmental cleanliness – and it’s not an illegal-only or Mexican-only phenomenon.
I am white and proud. While deciding where to eat, my fellow whites and I sometimes decide to “go eat Mexican.” When Mexicans decide to “go eat Mexican,” do they say it the way we whites do? - Big D in Dallas
Dear Gabacho: Hey, good luck with that white pride thing – I hear this country’s turning pastier by the day! And I’m glad Whites still need their Mexican food to properly fuel RAHOWA. But stupidities aside, “Mexican” food to Mexicans is like “American” food to Americans: Our cookery is so varied that when we think about eating our food, we go by type of restaurant rather than a whole genre. If we want home-style cooking, we seek out a fonda, the rough equivalent to eating at an inn; if it’s something a bit more formal but still casual, a cenaduría. If it’s tacos we want, a taqueria por supuesto; tortillas, the tortillería. Tamales? We find our neighborhood tamalero. Seafood palaces don’t have a formal name but always attach either mariscos or siete mares (the seven seas) to their name. Oh, and while we’re on the subject of food: If the “gourmet” food truck trend hasn’t hit your ‘hood yet, it probably will this year. Do the Mexican a favor and call them luxe-loncheras, because at the end of the día, these trucks have to park at the same commissaries as the so-called roach coaches.