BY GUSTAVO ARELLANO
Dear Mexican: Mexicans are angry that the United States might protect its own borders, might make it harder to sneak into this country and, once here, to stay indefinitely. Let me see if I correctly understand the thinking behind these Mexicans. Let’s say I break into your house. Let’s say that when you discover me in your house, you insist that I leave. But I say, “I’ve made all the beds and washed the dishes and did the laundry and swept the floors. I’ve done all the things you don’t like to do. I’m hardworking and honest — except for when I broke into your house.” According to the Mexicans:
• You are required to let me stay in your house!
• You are required to add me to your family’s insurance plan!
• You are required to educate my kids!
• You are required to provide other benefits to me and to my family (my husband will do all of your yard work because he is also hard-working and honest, except for that breaking-in part)!
• If you try to call the police or force me out, I will call my friends who will picket your house carrying signs that proclaim my RIGHT to be there!
• It’s only fair, after all, because you have a nicer house than I do, and I’m just trying to better myself. I’m a hardworking and honest, person, except for well, you know, I did break into your house. And what a deal it is for me! Sucker! I live in your house, contributing only a fraction of the cost of my keep, and there is nothing you can do about it without being accused of cold, uncaring, selfish, prejudiced, and bigoted behavior.
Oh yeah, I DEMAND that you to learn MY LANGUAGE!!! So you can communicate with me.
Why can’t people see how ridiculous this is?! Señor Mexican: I respect your opinion on most things — unless you’re screwing it up with all of your angry racism — but I thought I’d get your take on it and see if you’ve got the guts to print such propaganda that seems to be so contradictory to your belief system. Well, cabrón: You got the frijoles, ¿o qué? — Denver Dimwit
Dear Gabacho: “Angry” racism? My racism is rather jovial, Dimwit. And not only do I have the frijoles to answer your question, I have a whole olla.
If I earned a peso for every time one of your amigos forwarded me the above riddle, I could finally sneak in my last 86 cousins. Everyone can see that the scenario you presented is ridiculous, because its main suppositions are all wrong:
• Mexicans will never do a job without prompting or prior negotiating, so your theoretical Bueno Samaritan arranged your house with your implicit approval.
• Nowhere in your narrative did I see evidence of you rejecting the labor the Mexican offered. Did you undo your beds and gunk up the dishes in protest? On that note, I’ve yet to hear about gabachos forsaking the cheap produce, late-night janitorial services and the many other pleasantries of American life brought forth by the sweat and strain of illegal labor.
• Mexican illegals are more than willing to pay for the services you cited, but your Republican amigos won’t allow them to pay all the taxes citizens do — until then, have you unmade your bed yet?
• And who says you have to learn Spanish? According to you, those protesting Mexicans made their demands in English.
A plea to all Know Nothings: spare us Aztlanistas your mixed metaphors, mangled clichés, Homeric similes and all the other folksy bullshit ustedes use to boil down a complex issue into forwarded e-mail claptrap. Stick to stats — and is it too much to ask for you guys to use real ones as opposed to whatever flashes on Lou Dobbs’ teleprompter?
THE MEXICAN INVADES YOUTUBE!
The Mexican now offers ustedes an online-only question every week through the powers of a pirated Camcorder. Submit your video preguntas and responses at youtube.com/askamexicano, and view the latest edition every week alongside my regular column at www.eugeneweekly.com
Preference given to spicy señoritas! And, as always, continue sending your questions to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Gustavo Arellano is an investigative reporter on staff at the OC Weekly in Orange County, California. His “¡Ask a Mexican!” column began in 2004 and today is syndicated in 32 publications nationwide. He is also the author of a book by the same name. An extensive interview with Arellano can be found in the EW archives online for Nov. 29, 2007. Arellano can be contacted at TheMexican@AskAMexican.net