Dear Mexican: How Do I Keep My Students From Sounding Racist?

Dear Mexican: I teach U.S. citizenship classes in both Spanish and English. Recently, some of my students corrected others in Spanish about race terms. How do I help my students talk about race progressively, so they don’t sound like racist grandmas?
Denver, But Works in Littleton

Dear Gabacha:
Tough, ain’t it? A jefe once told me that German was such a direct language that the word for “meat” literally translated as “flesh,” and that’s how it is when Mexicans speak race in America. “African-American” does translate as afroamericano in Mexican Spanish, but most Mexicans think that’s PC silliness and a mouthful. Instead, the best you can hope for is negro, which literally translates as “black” but means “Negro.” Similarly, “Asian-American” translates as asiático-americano, but most Mexicans go for chino — a Chinese. And I’m saying the polite terms; I can only imagine what your students cracked during class. My advice: Teach them that race is a social construct, hyphens shouldn’t exist, and everyone in this country is an American...except that pendejo Donald Trump, of course.

Dear Mexican: In your appearance on the radio show On the Media, you said that you think that white America will never accept Mexicans and Mexican-Americans as anything besides an “other.” I’ve heard others argue that, like other immigrant groups such as Italians and Irish, who were initially considered “other,” Mexican-Americans will one day become assimilated into “mainstream” American society. What leads you to disagree?
Media Pundit

Dear Gabacho: You wrote this back in 2006, just after I appeared on the NPR show (sorry for just getting to it; the queue for this columna is longer than the pedestrian line at the U.S.-Mexico border). I should’ve added during my appearance that Mexicans are always assimilating into American society; it’s just that American society won’t accept it. I was proven right, regardless: It’s now 2015, and Republican candidates are babbling about anchor babies, mass deportations and border walls. Meanwhile, we Mexis keep assimilating and are getting ready to vote pendejos out next year and side with Deez Nuts!

Dear Mexican: Is it true that Mexicans use human excrement to ferment pulque?
Mucho Grande Pendejo

Dear Gabacho: Nope. Is it true that gabachos would still drink it if they did? Damn straight!

KEEP WESTWORD FREE... Since we started Westword, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Denver, and we'd like to keep it that way. With local media under siege, it's more important than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" program, allowing us to keep offering readers access to our incisive coverage of local news, food and culture with no paywalls.
Gustavo Arellano
Contact: Gustavo Arellano