Dear Readers: The wisest words that appear in this column come from ustedes, y the following two cartas prove this maxim. The first one addresses my year-end column, in which a working-class gabacho insisted his people apapachan a Mexicans mucho: I was fortunate enough to catch your column while I was visiting for the holidays. I have a comment in regard to [the gabacho who wrote the letter] Sick of all of You. He said, “No other country babysits Americans the way American babysit Mexicans.” I would have to disagree. I’ve been living in Spain for the past seven months as an English teacher, and he is greatly mistaken. All of Europe and practically the entire world caters to Americans. The international business language is English. Almost all signs are posted in the native language of the country and English. I’m ashamed that our country sees it as a burden to learn or tolerate another language. A majority of the world speaks English as their second language in order to cater to the American tourists and business industry. —Life in the Afternoon
The following letter is a bit more critical, concerning a Best of Mexican I reran for the Jan. 7 edición of my column concerning a white woman trying to calm down her wab paramour: I couldn’t believe the advice you gave Enamormada Gabacha: “Nothing says I love you, nothing says ‘Welcome to America’ like an old-school blowjob.” Maybe so, but “an oldschool blowjob” also an excellent way of spreading STDs. To be sure, transmitting HIV through oral sex is rather rare—but it has been known to happen. However, syphilis and gonorrhea are different stories. Gonorrhea, I might add, is particularly worrisome because certain strains of this bacteria are becoming increasingly immune to all known antibiotics. It’s extremely irresponsible to advise an “old-school blowjobs” without also advising “old school” protection, like condoms. —Trojan Travieso
Well, duh. But Enamorada Gabacha was already seriously involved with her hombre—this wasn’t a midnight run to the border. I’d hope anyone who gets intimately involved with someone will first have a discussion about each other’s sex life before doing the deed, up to and including sharing STD test results…And now, a question:
Dear Mexican: I was under the impression that Mexico actually had a larger middle class than most Latin American nations, consisting of doctors and lawyers, among all sorts of other professions. Mexico may have a far greater problem with poverty than the U.S., but compared to its southern neighbors, it’s relatively bourgeois. Is any truth to this? —Tío Moneybags
Dear Gabacho: No, you’re correcto—in a way. The World Bank’s 2008 country rankings on gross national income per capita lists Mexico as tops in Latin America, but an IMD International survey puts Mexico as the país with the largest percentage of its population (22.1 percent) below the median income line, suggesting rampant social stratification. A 2006 BusinessWeek article estimated 40 percent of Mexicans were middle class, and that really isn’t surprising. Raza, repeat after me: Mexico is a normal country. Too many narcokillings, for sure, and too little social mobility, but it’s firmly in the bottom rungs of the First World—and definitely no Guatemala.
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