Ask a Mexican

Has Santa Ana always been full of Latinos?

Dear Mexican: My wife and I are looking to buy our first house. Being young (-ish) and hip (-ish), we're looking into buying in Santa Ana. It's amazing how much house and land you can get for $350K compared to the two-bedroom stacked crackerboxes in south OC. My question is twofold: Has Santa Ana always been predominantly Latino, and, if not, when did this demographic shift occur? When I was growing up in south OC in the 1980s, Santa Ana was just a place where white kids DID NOT GO (at least not until we were older and wanted to buy beer without getting carded). Second, the neighborhoods: Why are some so pristine and some sort of terrifying? Wilshire Square and Washington Square are gorgeous, but you go a couple of streets over, and it looks like a São Paulo favela. What gives? Why were some neighborhoods so amazingly preserved?

Mr. X

Dear Gabacho: Before I address your question, déjame put it in a national context for non-Orange County readers so they don't skip ahead to the next question. Gentle cabrones: The gabacho refers to OC's county seat, the largest city in the United States with an all-Latino city council, and one that's about 90 percent Latino. All major metropolitan areas have a neighborhood or ciudad like this, a place the Reconquista gobbled up, a place that got demonized for decades by scaredy-cat gabachos and that Brave New Urbanists are planning to gentrify. The hipsters who are already there, meanwhile, adore their new barrio because of the low rents, older housing stock and quaint neighbors, neighbors they'll call code enforcement on the minute the music is too loud on a Sunday morning or the front-yard corn grows too high.

Back to the gabacho: SanTana (yes, spell it like this, as that's how the natives pronounce it) always had Mexican neighborhoods due to housing covenants that restricted where they could buy homes. Once the Supreme Court ruled such regulations unconstitutional, Mexicans (and African-Americans, as well) tried to move on up in the city, only to have gabachos of your parents' generation move to soulless suburbs, where they bred privileged pendejos like yourself who exaggerate about EVERYTHING. Have you ever been to a favela? Of course not, because your hipster ass would either be turned into a drug mule or a puddle of quivering piss. So to compare barrios to favelas is insulting to your new neighbors, and typical of hipster douchebaggery. Can't wait to see the fit you'll throw when the guy across the street parks his truck on his lawn for the first time...

Dear Mexican: Why do Mexicans love Van Damme?

El Karatekero Loco

Dear Wab: An immigrant who speaks bad English, who kicks everyone's ass for getting in his way, who beds multiple women yet has a heart of gold, who seems to fight for vengeance or honor (and usually both) and always wins — what's not to love? Jean-Claude Van Damme is our Belgian foot soldier for the Reconquista — minus the atrocity that was Double Team with Dennis Rodman, of course...

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Gustavo Arellano
Contact: Gustavo Arellano