Dear Mexican: I’m new to the San Antonio area and am enjoying exploring the many wonderful aspects of its history and culture. One thing has become incredibly bothersome to me, though: the plight of pet overpopulation. With so many resources that are available for spay/neuter assistance, I’m not certain as to why this continues to be a problem. I have been told that Hispanic men fear that the surgical procedure of neutering is an emasculating process. It is not. Perhaps one way of explaining this is if my husband found that he had testicular cancer and the only way for him to survive was to remove his testicles. He would have this done to save his life, and he would still be very much a man. Pardon me for being crude, but balls do NOT define a man or a man’s dog. Spaying/neutering saves lives and makes for a healthier pet. —On Behalf of Those Without a Voice
Dear Gabacha: I completely agree, and it’s very appropriate you write from San Antonio, formerly the dog- and cat-euthanizing capital of the United States, according to a 2006 San Antonio Express-News story. A 2010 Express-News story also offers an explanation for Mexicans’ reticence to tinker with their pets’ private parts, courtesy of America’s favorite Mexican (and former illegal immigrant), César Millán. “Being a Latino myself, I know that many times we learn at an early age that neutering or spaying a dog changes their state of mind,” the Dog Whisperer told the Express-News while doing promotion for spay/neutering awareness among local Mexis. “All my pack is spayed or neutered, and it doesn’t change anything. It actually enhances their ability to be social with other dogs. It decreases frustration. Marking (urinating to claim territory), which is a big problem a lot of time for people, goes out of the behavior for dogs. So it’s a lot of great things I want to share.” The Mexican will only add it’s not a machismo thing, that pet overpopulation is common in all poor communities, and that the only social pathology Mexicans suffer from that comes directly from our culture and not other factors (class, geography, religion, etc.) is our irrational devotion to our perpetually underachieving Mexican soccer team.
Why did practically everybody’s Mexican great-grandfather ride with Pancho Villa? And also knows where he buried his treasure? —My Abuelito Rode with Zapata, Too
Dear Wab: Same reason some gabachos say their great-great grandmother was a Cherokee princess, and all Southerners claim their Confederate ancestors fought for state rights (help me with the proper term to describe this phenomenon besides “delusional,” historiadores). People love to identify with the romantic underdog, even if it stretches all logic of their own family tree. No Mexican would ever dare admit that their ancestors were hacendados—admitting your abuelitos opposed Villa and Zapata and left Mexico because they were members of the upper class is one of the douche-iest things a Mexican can do and is as rare as a Mexican neighborhood without cars parked on the lawn.
GOOD MEXICAN OF THE WEEK: All you Mexis who, this week, will become the first in your family to graduate from high school, receive your bachelor’s degree or earn a master’s or doctorate—congratulations! Ustedes are intellectual chinga tu madres to the Know Nothings who say education doesn’t matter to Mexicans. All this said, there ain’t enough of us achieving our accomplishments, so remember to tutor, mentor and give back to your community—otherwise, our Reconquista is for naught.
Ask the Mexican at email@example.com, facebook.com/garellano, youtube.com/askamexicano, find him on Twitter, or write via snail mail at: Gustavo Arellano, P.O. Box 1433, Anaheim, CA 92815-1433!