Is it okay for Caucasians and Mexicans to make jokes about each other?

Dear Readers: Although many of you have loved and/or loathed my columna for years, the Mexican still finds new readers every week in the unlikeliest of spots (hola, Chattanooga! See you in August, inshallah!). As a result, I sometimes receive questions about the methodology of the column, questions that everyone else knows the respuestas to, but ones that bear refrying from time to tiempo. So without further ado...

Dear Mexican: I've been watching you speak about your ¡Ask A Mexican¡ column. Now, you keep reiterating that this is supposed to be a joke. I have a question for you: It would be okay for a Caucasian to speak in an insulting yet joking manner about Mexicans, right? When my daughter comes up to me and asks me why some of the girls at her school call her a white bitch, what am I to say when adults continue to press the issue that this is acceptable and funny? She is the only one in her class who looks like her, but that's a non-issue because she's white. If it were the other way around, it would be a big deal — I know this because it was when I was a child. I do not believe you understand the damage you are creating by making it socially acceptable to speak the way you do.

Tiger Mom

Dear Gabacha: I've never said my column is a pure joke. It's a satirical response to the bigotry Mexicans must endure in this country. A joke's only intent is to elicit a laugh. For instance, did you hear the one about the guy who left a banjo in the back of his truck, only to return and find the windows shattered — and two banjos? Okay, so bluegrass-music humor isn't exactly Jerry Seinfeld territory, but there are no ulterior motives behind the chiste other than an intra-group ridiculing of banjo players: no social commentary, no statement of fact, nada. Satire is humor laced with stinging facts and points to make specific commentaries attacking the status quo — think Twain, Swift, Colbert, Chappelle and the mess that I make trying to copy them. And when have I ever said it's okay to make fun of gabachos for their race? I advocate logical, lyrical smackdowns of Know Nothings, who come in all colors — and if you don't believe me, try to figure out what Michelle Malkin's maiden name is.

Dear Mexican: I read your column regularly, thank you. I do, however, have what I think should be a simple request of you. My Spanish skills are confined to the street slang that I learned growing up in Los Angeles County during the 1970s and '80s; I'm not exactly what I would call proficient in polite company. Not surprisingly, you often use Spanish words and phrases in your column that are more appropriate for usage in the forum of public debate. I would appreciate it if at the end of each of your columns, you would allot space to define the Spanish words and phrases that appear in your articles. For most of us, the alternative will be to look it up on the Internet: a translation done out of context. For instance, all this time I thought that I was a "gringo," but maybe I'm a "gabacho" instead — or too? Who knew? In any event, it would be nice to learn a little bit about the language at the same time, and in the same context, that we are learning about the Mexican culture through your column.

Muchas Gracias (which means "Thank You")

Dear Gabacho: No, you're very much a gringo and a gabacho. I do love slipping in words in español whenever possible, but I also make it a point to make easy-to-decipher choices. For instance, look at the Spanish words I've used so far. Tiempo? Use your cabeza: It's "time," as in the idiom "from time to time." Cabeza? Head, as in "use your head." Pretty fácil, right? In the rare cases that I do use palabras that you can't easily understand, keep reading: I'll explain it sooner rather than más tarde.

GOOD MEXICAN OF THE WEEK: The Coalition of Immokalee Workers have done the Lord's work for the past decade organizing Mexican, Central American and Haitian tomato pickers in South Florida to ask fast-food giants to pay an iota more to double the salaries of its members. More information at www.ciw-online.org.

 
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Edithrivera01
Edithrivera01

Atleast if yall make jokesz about usz mexicansz yuhh should make them funnyy nd not be talkin about usz getting moneyy nd not workin cause if yuhh didnt knw if there werent anyy mexicansz around yuhhr yard would look uglyy there wouldnt be no one wanting to work harvesting fruitsz or vegetablesz! Nd manyy more thingsz nd another thing isz yuhh be sayin we eat refried beansz but i just wanna sayy at least we got food to eat! Nd also how yuhh be sayin manyy mexicansz get food because food stampsz well i knw when ive passed trough that place were theyy give them i see a shit load of white people waiting in line so idk wat yall be talkin about i aint trynna act racist im just sayin the truth!!(:

Homedepot
Homedepot

I'd start over with a middle-eastern or Muslim shtick.

girasol
girasol

I would also like it if you had a hyperlink or would define the Spanish words and phrases at the end of your articles. Sometimes I can guess at the meanings of the words by the context but sometimes it is not as obvious as the examples you provided above. I always enjoy the column though.

Diane Garcia83
Diane Garcia83

I agree with Scammerssuk, American's have to act with grace while their southern cousins can say and act however they feel. That just isn't right, and nowhere is that more clear than this column. Gustavo condescends to even genuine questions asked of him. He comes off as nothing more than a pompous elitist ass.

Scammerssuk
Scammerssuk

I think the rules according to la raza are that mexicans can joke, brutalize and behave with impunity to Americans but we are supposed to bend over.

 
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