To the Mexican Degree

Chicano Studies is more than an introduction to lowriders.

Dear Mexican:I was going through a local state college's academic program the other day and found that it offers a bachelor's degree in Chicano Studies. My question is, in what field of work would someone with a bachelor's in Chicano Studies land? Here are a few jobs I came up with: working at a lowrider or tattoo shop; designing Virgin de Guadalupe T-shirts; making Loc's shades; working for Nike in its Cortez shoe department; designing a web page like Mapquest — but to show popular cruising routes in the city.

The Bean Who Thinks Outside the Burrito

Dear Wab:I've launched darts at Chicano Studies with the best of them. I've accused the program of creating humorless PC pendejos who focus too much on victimization. And I still maintain that Chicano Studies faces a looming crisis born of the fact that so few folks nowadays identify themselves as Chicanos. But as a discipline, Chicano Studies employs the same rigorous standards of research and inquiry (save for the extra-credit Ozomatli concert) as other majors; a degree in the subject is equally valid (or equally worthless) as any other member of the humanities. As for jobs? The short list includes doctors, lawyers, social workers, non-profit saints, artists, journalists, musicians and un chingo de teachers and professors — and those are just the people I know. Chicano Studies cabrones, this is your chance to show America that your degree isn't just a capitulation to whiny minorities: Tell me how Chicano Studies helps your career, and I'll publish the best testimonials!

Dear Mexican:I own a red 1994 Ford Ranger with a fiberglass shell. Mexicans are always asking me if I want to sell it. At first I was confused when a woman asked, "Do you wan sell jour pee cup?" They ring my doorbell, accost me in my driveway, put notes on my windshield. No one will cop as to why they think my short is so hot. Why do Mexicans want my truck?

Camionero Rojo de la Madre

Dear Red Bad-Ass Truck Driver: "My short is so hot"? This is ¡Ask a Mexican!, not Car Talkor The Anal Dwarf, so cut the ambiguous lingo. Don't worry too much about Mexicans coveting your troca: It's as natural to us as mustaches and menudo. See, Mexicans have largely replaced burros and horses with trucks (and SUVs) in the past couple of decades as their beasts of burden and leisure. I really don't need to overstate the utilitarian purposes of a pickup, but here it is for y'all non-hillbilly gabachos: big bed, extra seats for work buddies or familia, ideal for smuggling contraband. To honor the troca's place in modern-day Mexican culture, a new generation of singers pen hits about big vehicles much like previous corridistas praised horses. Famous examples include "El Cherokee de La Muerte" ("The Cherokee of Death"), "El Suburban" and Los Tigres del Norte's infamous "La Camioneta Gris" ("The Gray Truck"). But not all is glamorous with Mexicans and their trucks: In a 1995 study titled "Who Carries Passengers in the Back of Pickup Trucks?," researchers with the University of California at Irvine found that Hispanics (read: wabs) were more likely to do what the paper's title stated, which led to muchosinjuries. Goes to show that sometimes, you can take the wab out of the rancho, but you can't take the rancho out of the wab.

 
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