Dear Mexican: About six years ago, my wife and I adopted a little baby boy. He is "pure" mestizo and we are complete wabs. I'm a little dark because of my mixed Arab heritage, but my wife is a major-league blanca. He is a sweet little gabacho growing up in a wab world. I don't mind getting the looks when we go to the taqueria in the barrio or even major-league stares when we take him on our trips to Mexico. And I can handle the questions from dumb-ass wabsters. But I worry about the little guy growing up confused, angry and lost because he is the odd boy out. I tell him that the blood of the Aztec warriors and the conquistadors runs through his veins and, of course, he kicks whitey's ass on the soccer field. But all that seems rather inadequate.
How can I help him keep in touch with his gabacho roots while living the relatively privileged wab life? Help me, Mexican: This little guy is the light of my life, and I want to do right by him.
Wabdaddy in Texas
Ask a Mexican
If you like this story, consider signing up for our email newsletters.
SHOW ME HOW
You have successfully signed up for your selected newsletter(s) - please keep an eye on your mailbox, we're movin' in!
Dear Wabpapi: You sound like a wonderful man, but tienes your ethnic terms wrong. A wab is a nickname Mexican-Americans in Orange County use to deride unassimilated Mexicans — think "hillbilly" in the gabacho context. A gabacho is a gabacho — in other words, someone of the gabacho race, the race that wants to deport wabs, not love them.
I use wab and gabacho in my column for satirical purposes, and to teach gabachos new words, so you must've misread their meaning. You want to teach your niño to keep in touch with his wab roots and live the privileged gabacho life (at least the nice parts, not all the nasty racist crap). Etymological concerns aside, I'm sure there are a lot of Tejanos who are more than happy to direct you to art, music, books (buy libros from Cinco Puntos Press in El Paso, por favor!) and cultural programs that will teach your son about his proud heritage.
Just don't get them talking about the Alamo, and all will be fine!