Dear Mexican: I know that Mexicans and pochos can be black, white, Asian, and indios, but I just got my U.S. Census form. Figured you would be the best person to ask about question No. 9—Race. I know I’m not white, (I’ve been pulled over too many times for BS reasons), I’m not black (I haven’t been beaten by the chota like my black amigos), I am not Asian (I sucked at math and have a perfect driving record), and I am not Native American (I don’t have long hair or a dream catcher). The census has been kind enough to allow me to identify myself as Hispanic of Mexican ancestry, but not as my race. Instead, I get to make up my own race. Any suggestions? —Viva La Raza
Dear Wab: Since when are we supposed to take the U.S. Census’ racial classification seriously? This is the same clump of the government caca pie that has spent a good century trying to exactly determine what Mexicans are—“white” one decade, of “Hispanic” origin the other, maybe “masters of Aztlán” soon. We’ve proven a clusterfuck for the government because, and anything we can to do further destroy racial classifications in this country is bueno. Government can’t decide what we are? Good.
All this said, the ninth question in the census—despite its rigid caste classifications—does allow people to decide what race you are (the Mexican picked “Chingón” as his raza, and urges the rest of ustedes to do the same) if you don’t like thinking of yourself as a gabacho, negrito, indio or all the different chinitos they list. Stop the grand existential dilemma and teeth-gnashing over the imperfect census, banda: Do we really expect anything right to come out of Washington regarding Mexicans and public policy? Been one disaster after another since 1846.
Dear Mexican: I am a guera from the Midwest who married a chiapaneco. Before I married a Mexican, I never had any problems with the census. But this year, while filling it out for the family, I got stuck on question No. 9, which asked me to decide what race my husband is. He says Mexicano; I say he’s Mexicano, too. The 2010 census however, says that Mexicano is not a race. Who decides that s—t? I read once that you said the census is a crock of mierda anyway, so I figured I’d ask you. What race is a dark-skinned chiapaneco from el Soconusco? —Confundida con el Censo
Dear Gabacha: Honestly, and no matter what Vasconcelos wrote and gabachos believe, “Mexican” is not a race; it’s a nationality, and one that even some of its inhabitants won’t fully embrace.
But, how pendejo is it of the census to allow the various chinito nationalities to classify them as distinct races, but not Latinos? Last I checked, Asia had as much miscegenation going on as Mexis, as much conquests and ethnic conflicts as the Empire of the Sun—yet somehow they constitute distinct, pure razas, and not us? Since when did the census hire Lou Dobbs to decide racial classifications?
Ask the Mexican at firstname.lastname@example.org, myspace.com/ocwab, 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!