Baby Boom

Why do Mexicans have so many kids?

Dear Mexican:I welcome the inclusion of a nice big scoop of chopped habañeros in the bland casserole that is America. I must admit, however, that it gave me pause the other day when I saw an all-too-typical familia of recent arrivals at Kmart: mom, pop and four kids less than five years old — nine months and a day apart, tops — with another one or two in the oven. I have problems with any culture that thinks it's got the green light from God to breed like flies and then brings that philosophy to our rapidly despoiling country. If Bach were alive today, I'd say, "Nice fugue. Now what's with the twenty kids, asshole?" In the past, we've seen the same multiplying mindset in immigrants from other Catholic countries (hello, Kennedys!), but it seems with assimilation and the concurrent increase in prosperity, their fertility rates take a nosedive after two or three generations. Will Jesús and María someday wake up and realize that they no longer need six sons to scratch in the dirt to survive — or the eight daughters who came along while they were trying for sons?

Árbol Abrazar

Dear Tree to Hug: You must not enjoy that spicy casserole too much since you compare Mexicans to maggots, ¿qué no? Nevertheless, even a blind pig finds the jalapeño once in a while. A 2002 study by the Public Policy Institute of California determined that, while first-generation Mexican and Central American women in California averaged about 2.4 children, those in the second generation only birthed about 1.4 niños. Strangely, third-generation Mexican women averaged bigger litters than the second, an anomaly the PPIC report attributed to — I'm not making this up — how mujeres identify themselves. "It is likely that women who identify as of Mexican or Central American ancestry," wrote researchers Laura E. Hill and Hans P. Johnson, "have higher fertility than women who have at least one grandparent born in Mexico or Central America but who do not identify as of Mexican or Central American ancestry." The Mexican has a more plausible theory: Third-generation Mexicanas must deal with sluttier morals and the indefatigable Mexican spermatozoon, a war as Sisyphean as our latest Operation Wetback.

Dear Mexican:If you're a Mexican, how come you know better English than we do?

No Hablar Espanol

Dear Gabacho:Assimilation. Mexicans. Believe it.

 
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