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?
We Believe Local Journalism is Critical to the Life of a City
Engaging with our readers is essential to Westword's mission. Make a financial contribution or sign up for a newsletter, and help us keep telling Denver's stories with no paywalls.
Support Our Journalism
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!