Hey Gabacho… Ask A Mexican!

By: Lisa Coleman

Okay, so I’m surfing around looking for my usual dose of Mexican news. I Can’t find anything particulary controversial that hits my hot button and don’t want to bore you with my very clear thoughts on the Mexican government’s position on not extraditing criminals who might get the death penalty in the United States. (Just so you know… they all should be sent back to us, get a proper trial, and if convicted for their henious crime, live by the rules of our country and deal with it.) So anyway, my husband says I should blog about the funny column he reads called “Ask a Mexican.” Hummmm… now I consider myself rather well informed, but I guess I somehow missed this one. (Truth be told, I really can’t stand when he knows something I don’t, especially something blog worthy.) 

After a few minutes on Google, I quickly found some pertinent information on the “Ask a Mexican” phenomenon. Wikipedia tells me that “Ask a Mexican” is a nationally syndicated weekly column written by Gustavo Arellano and published by Orange County’s alternative weekly, OC Weekly. It was first published in 2004 as a one-time spoof, but ended up becoming one the weekly’s most popular columns. Every week, readers submit rather pointed questions about, well, everything you may have wondered about but never had the nerve to ask, and Arellano responds in a straight forward, and amusingly politically incorrect manner. He often starts with the words “Dear Gabacho” and tells that “a Gabacho is a gringo, but Mexicans don’t call gringos gringos. Only gringos call gringos gringos. Mexicans call gringos “gabachos.”

You get the tone… I found a few backlogs of his column and it is pretty funny stuff, yet I can see a purpose to it as well.Having been in Mexico enough to know that most people in the U.S. don’t understand the culture at all, this may be way to convey truth in sarcasm. You may have few giggles, but you may learn something too. According to an article in the New York Times, “Mr. Arellano, who says ultimately his purpose is to debunk myths and misconceptions, said that he is trying to rob stereotypical images and slurs of their power by appropriating them.”

Areallano is only behind about 170 pages in questions so feel free to add on. Just go for it, gabacho.