Dear Mexican: Can you please explain to me why some Chicanos and mexicanos get offended when you speak to them in Spanish? As a fellow Chicano, I find it hard to believe that la raza gets offended by this genuine approach. Have you noticed this behavior yourself? That little dirty look that comes when you say "Hola" makes it hard to even approach. Is this pattern more deeply rooted in the times when speaking Spanish was a shameful act in the U.S.? And when, to be accepted, many Chicanos were prohibited from speaking Spanish? If the Reconquista was ever to be fulfilled, how would Spanish-speaking Chicanos and non-Spanish-speaking Chicanos get along?
Dear Henry: As if Mexicans don't have it hard enough — narcos back home, Know Nothings in the States, and a Mexican soccer team that probably won't win the FIFA World Cup in our lifetime — here comes this conundrum. I get the underlying anger of Chicanos and Mexicans who don't want to speak Spanish: They're upset that you don't think they're smart enough to understand English, or are so ashamed of not knowing Spanish that they take it out on you. But the flip side to that is Mexicans who get enojados if you address them in English — as if you're supposed to know they don't speak it! Can't paisas and pochos get along? The answer, of course, is no. That's why the Mexican always greets everyone, regardless of linguistic ability, with a mariachi cry, the universal language of chingones.
If you like this story, consider signing up for our email newsletters.
SHOW ME HOW
CONFIDENTIAL TO: Know Nothings who are trying to blame the recent measles outbreak on Mexicans — it ain't happening. Vaccination studies show that Mexicans are among the most vaccinated people in the United States, whether getting shots here as chicos or shots with those crazy needles that our parents and cousins had to undergo back in Mexico, leaving a giant mark on their arms that looks like some sort of Neolithic-era ceremonial scarring. The least vaccinated people in los Estados Unidos, on the other hand, are gabachos: Amish, survivalists, and suburban moms who lunch on kale. The myth of Mexicans bringing pandemics to kill off gabachos is a tool that the Right tries to use again and again to further careers, but the last guy who tried it — former CNN host Lou Dobbs? Remember him? He's competing against a UHF signal nowadays, and that destiny will happen to all conspiracy-spewing gabachos like him — oh, and beautiful half-Mexican grandkids.