Dear Mexican: I’m not the type to let things slide when I see something that strikes me as ignorant, no matter who it is. When my friend’s mom posted jokes on Facebook about Mexicans, and her friends popped up with comments I felt were racist, I just had to step in and say something. They responded with “My best friend is a Mexican,” and “I know lots of Mexicans and I think they’re good people,” and all that. This isn’t the first time I’ve seen it. Why do people think it’s okay to say racist things as long as they can say they have a Mexican friend? Isn’t this kind of like the kid in grade school who tells you, “Hey, I’m going to make you look stupid in front of the other kids to make myself look good—don’t take it personally?” For myself, I can’t fathom calling somebody my friend then bashing their culture. It makes no sense to me. What’s your opinion on this? —Bailarina Confundida en el Valle Felíz
Dear Confused Ballerina in Happy Valley: Of course racists aren’t racists, and how dare you allege that! They’re just saying the truth! Racists can’t possibly be racists because they have colored friends—and those minorities not only agree with their nonracist amigos, they’re even more non-racist against their own kind and that makes it even more OK to be truthful! Know Nothings have long used this twisted logic to argue that their rants are right (witness those lunatics who say Arizona’s reprehensible SB1070 and Most-Corrupt-Sheriff-in-America Joe Arpayaso enjoy support from “Hispanics,” and that the two are therefore not anti-Mexican) in an attempt to shut up opponents—I do believe that logical fallacy is called appeal to authority. Or is it honor by association? I forget. Anyhoo, %uFFFDA LA CHINGADA CON ARPAYASO Y SB 1070!
Dear Mexican: I live in what’s known as the East End in Houston. I love the area, which has a lot of Mexicans; unlike the ’burbs, the area has character, a great urban atmosphere, wonderful architecture, and restaurants other than the cookie-cutter corporate garbage I was used to. I’m curious, however, as to why there’s a used tire shop about every six blocks! Do my neighbors never buy new tires? What’s the deal with the scores of tire shops? —Transplanted Suburban Gabacho
Dear Gabacho: Simple capitalism, compa. Houston has no municipal zoning code, which creates a libertarian paradise of businessmen opening nearly whatever they want nearly wherever they want according to the peculiarities of the market. Since Houston’s East End hosts some of the city’s traditional barrios, it follows that negocios catering to a working-class clientele would flourish here and in other barrios: segundas (thrift stores), laundromats, water stores, taquerías, fake documents sold from a cell-phone accessories storefront, and used tire shops. It’s not that Mexicans won’t buy new tires, or even that we can’t afford it: it’s that we’re always looking to save dinero, and the opportunity to get a discount is as irresistible to a Mexican as crossing the border without papers. And please don’t think we’re putting the public at risk, gabachos: no one knows more about the gradations of a balding tire than a Mexican dad or tío.
Ask the Mexican at firstname.lastname@example.org, MySpace.com/OCWab, Facebook.com/Garellano, YouTube.com/AskeAMexicano, find him on Twitter, or write via snail mail at: Gustavo Arellano, P.O. Box 1433, Anaheim, CA 92815-1433!