Run for the Border

Just don't expect an all-gabacho patrol.

Dear Mexican: Why are there Mexicans in the Border Patrol? What a hypocritical thing to do to our people.
Carne Asada Carlos

Dear Wab: Not only are Mexicans in the Border Patrol, but la migra's own figures show that Latinos make up about 52 percent of its force, comfortably outnumbering gabachos. It's easy for Mexicans to dismiss these agents as vendidos, but let's not pretend the United States-Mexico border is a playground on the level of Xochimilco. Lots of bad people inhabit la frontera — drug-runners, coyotes, Guatemalan aliens who invaded Mexico before setting their beady eyes on the United States — and no one is better than a Mexican to deal with scum, mostly because we deal with it daily in the form of our governments.

Dear Mexican: When I reveal to Mexican acquaintances that my mother's side is German, I get a reaction of strong approval. The accordion in ranchera music is the only apparent link I know of. Is there something else Germany did to garner such affection?
Haunted by Memories of Lawrence Welk

Dear Gabacho: Though your inclinations are right, your terminology is wrong. The Mexican music genre that employs accordions is conjunto norteño, and it was Polacks and Bohunks who introduced squeezeboxes to the borderlands. Krauts did influence banda sinaloense (the mestizo version of an oompah band), but only wabs from central Mexico truly enjoy the sound of eighteen brass instruments blasting into one's ears. Some Mexicans think we ripped off our quinceañera waltzes from Germans, when in fact we stole it from the Hapsburg court of Emperor Maximilian. And though Frida Kahlo's father was born in Germany, that wouldn't explain the awed hush you received.

Maybe those Mexicans you hung out with bemoan the fate of the Zimmerman Telegram. That was the secret correspondence between German Empire officials in which they planned to help Mexico retake the southwestern United States in return for its support during World War I; British cryptologists decoded the message, the U.S. declared war on the Huns, and Mexico declined the offer. Nevertheless, this episode forever poisoned the relationship between Mexico and the U.S., to the point where the Zimmerman Telegram makes up a quarter of the quesadilla that is the Know Nothings' modern-day Reconquista conspiracy theory (the other parts being the Aztec belief in Aztlan, the Spanish Reconquista against the Moors, and the historical reality of Mexico's territorial losses in its 1846 war against the United States). Mexicans look back on the Zimmerman Telegram as the country's greatest what-if, but don't dwell on it too much; after all, we didn't need Teutonic ayuda to accomplish what they proposed.

 
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