I know I’m not a Mexican. Se que no soy un gabacho. I don’t even think of myself as un pocho, although I imagine that’s where you’d say I fit best. I’m just tired of getting shit from everyone on both sides of the invisible race border that exists everywhere in our lives in Orange County and the Southwest in general. And what do I teach my two little girls who look even whiter than me? —Nada Pero Cansado
Dear Nothing But Tired: Actually, I’d call you a leprecano (half-Mexican, half-leprechaun), but my thoughts of which racial category you fit in should matter nothing—you call yourself what you want to call yourself, and tell those who have a problem que se vayan a la chingada. Teach your girls that people will harass them for their mixed heritage—but that’s OK because anyone who clings to doctrinaire tests of ethnic identity, who can’t accept that people’s concept of nationality, race and ethnicity vary and intersect, is deluded and, frankly, pendejo. The only other point I’ll make is to thank you for introducing surumato into the Mexican’s Rolodex of Racism. Cabrones: a surumato is the New Mexican version of wab, which is to say it’s the historical term those New Mexicans who considered themselves “Spanish” and called themselves manitos used to ridicule newly arrived Mexicans. And Know Nothings say all Mexis are a united front—if only!
Dear Mexican: Can you please explain to all gringos that not all the Mexicans know how to dance salsa, merengue and other Latino dances? —El Cometa Mexicano
Dear Mexican Comet: Only the surumatos don’t. The manito Mexican knows his tropical dances thanks to cumbia (the slow shuffle originally from Colombia that all Mexican groups regardless of genre incorporate into their repertoire), Perez Prado (the King of Mambo that, while technically Cuban, enthralled the world while being based in Mexico) and the fact gabachas would rather dance to tropical rhythms than our corny-ass mestizo polkas and waltzes. Take a class, tonto, and watch the chicas’ chonis come off.
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!