Dear Mexican: I’m trying to get my family tree together. My family is from San Julian, Jalisco. Both of my grandparents were part of the bracero program. What is the agency or institution where they hold the list of names of Mexicans who were part of the program? I would greatly appreciate your help.
Jalisco No Se Raja
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Dear Jalisco Never Backs Down: Your abuelitos were braceros? One of mine was, too, along with a chingo of uncles, one of whom ended up picking beets in Michigan — fun! And just to remind the gabas: Braceros were America’s original guest workers from Mexico, brought in during World War II so that our fighting men could go kill commie Nazis. Originally an executive order signed by FDR, the bracero program continued until the mid-1960s. And while the pendejo GOP presidential field sometimes wishes it would return, someone should remind its members that the program ended because of exploitative conditions and the fact that both the American and Mexican governments shorted braceros on their salaries by withholding 10 percent of their wages — wages that elderly braceros and their descendants were still battling both governments for as recently as last year. On the Mexican side, the Secretaria de Gobernacion (SEGOB, as acronym-obsessed Mexico calls it) has a registry of ex-braceros; on the American side, try the excellent online Bracero History Archive hosted by the Center for History and New Media at George Mason University. Good luck — and don’t think your great-grandpa was special because he fought with Pancho Villa: Every Mexican’s bisabuelo says that!
Dear Mexican: Yesterday in a parking lot, I was opening my car door to get out, and at the same time, a lovely Mexican lady was opening her door next to me to put her young child in her car. We both opened our doors at the same time, then both pulled them in to avoid hitting each other. But then she quickly reopened her door and took a very long time to put her child in the car, making me wait when it would have taken me only a second to get out and then she could have proceeded. I didn’t understand why she did this, especially when I’m an older woman and seemingly should have been granted the right of way. I’ve always been under the impression that in the Mexican culture, the senior woman would be given courteous regard.
Leisure World Lady
Dear Gabacha: Yes, we respect our elders — but we respect a woman with a child more, and so should you. Plus, you’re a gabacha — and gabachos are evil. Lucky she didn’t steal your country while you were waiting. Oh, wait...