Dear Mexican: I'm a third-year university student, a liberal-studies and Spanish major. My family, extended and immediate, always like the chisme. During a family carne asada, we were all talking when one of my tías asked me what I was doing with my life; she and the rest of my aunts seemed like they genuinely wanted to know. But when I told them that I only needed one more year to graduate, it seemed as if I'd said something wrong. They stared at me, said nothing, and completely ignored what I said. One of my aunts made a small gesture to acknowledge what I said, but other than that, they continued their talk about the novela they'd seen the previous night. My family is extremely close, and we really want the best for each other, so I was taken aback when this happened. No one in our family has ever attended a four-year university or obtained any kind of degree. Might this be the reason they reacted they way they did? Or should I be worried that this is a bigger issue?
A Sanchez but Not a Sancho
Dear Wab: Don't bother with pleasing tías; you're never going to be as good as their mijo, even if mijo is a narco or just did a stint in Corcoran. Or maybe they realize that a liberal-studies degree is like the last corn tortilla in the packet: basically useless.
Dear Mexican: I headed over to San Antonio with some friends of mine to run the Rock 'n' Roll Marathon this weekend. I suggested that we put "Remember the Alamo" on our running shirts. One of my Mexican friends said that would be fine with her since "we won." I always thought we lost at the Alamo. Please help me educate my friend.
A Confused Gringo in Houston
Dear Gabacho: Let's educate your amiga, shall we? Amiga: There was a time where America viewed the Battle of the Alamo as a pre-photography 9/11, a terrorist attack on Americans by a swarthy enemy that the United States had to subsequently crush. Those who died were immortalized for generations to come for their sacrifice, and their memory became a rallying cry whenever our soldiers had to call on resolve and courage in the heat of battle. And it was a great way for Hollywood to show how evil Mexicans were by filming hordes of brown-faced Filipinos descending on Davy Crockett as he desperately swung his rifle to death.
Isn't that crazy? Isn't it loco that we lionized gabachos who wanted to secede from Mexico so that they could keep slaves and appropriate our cuisine? Isn't it nuts that it took Chicano yaktivists to call out the Alamo for what it was: the first volley in America's Manifest Destiny campaign, which would go on to take over half of Mexico and decimate the Plains Indians? And, amiga: Tell your gabacho Houstonian friend that it's not just leftists who are playing the revisionism game. Even the Alamo tours nowadays desperately try to stress the multicultural roots of Texian independence, highlighting the few Tejanos who died at the scene or fought for Texas against Mexico. Too late: The memory of the Alamo always stood for white supremacy, and finding a few frijoles in the pot won't change that one bit.