Strength in adversity

Ask a Mexican

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Dear Mexican: Has the 1965 Immigration Act proved to be a good thing or bad thing for America, and has the recent unprecedented flood of immigrants (both legal and illegal) been an overall good thing or bad thing for America? Please fully explain your answer and include economical, cultural, and quality of life issues in 25 words or less (just kidding—take all the words you want). Please include, if you would, your opinion of the axioms “All cultures are equal” and “Diversity is our (America’s) strength”

Punk Rock Fag!

Dear Joto Gabacho: Better yet, here’s a one-word answer: “Yes.” No stats, as you’ll find numbers to support your position, to which I’ll retort with obscure governmental reports, and we’ll do our do-si-do until the vacas come home. Sorry, Punk Rock Fag!, but the Mexican is an open-borders, pro-amnesty kind of vato, the type that thinks any sucker willing to cross deserts and rivers or crawl through sewers for the chance of a better life deserves a shot at citizenship (provided they contribute to los Estados Unidos, don’t beat their wives, and not feed children Cheetos Flamin’ Hot). That’s why I’m thrilled Congress is mulling amnesty for millions. In all fairness, I’m completamente biased on the issue—you’ll get the straight dope on all other Mexican questions except this one. Blame my papi for the intellectual inconsistency: He came to this country in the trunk of a Chevy (pronounced with a hard “ch” sound, of course) in 1968 as a 17-year-old dirt-farmer with a fourth-grade education. Lorenzo Arellano eventually ended his illegal days (though not because of the 1986 amnesty—that would’ve been his friends) and is now a proud, truck-driving citizen who doesn’t speak much English, votes absentee in every election and thinks the Guatemalan hordes will ruin this country. Why wouldn’t we want more Lorenzos? If he’s not proof of a postmodern American, I don’t know what is.

Is it true that there are a lot more Mexicans hooking up with East Indians now? I know a few mixed Mexican-Indian couples and I’ve heard that in some parts of the country, there are communities full of Mexican Hindus (products of Mexican-East Indian intermarriage). Is it true that this is a rising trend? If so, do you have any advice for young Indian-Americans interested in attracting Mexican girls or guys?

El Otro Tipo de Indio

Dear Other Type of Indian: I try not to answer questions about interethnic amor (that’s more of a Dan Savage thing), but I’ll run yours because it allows me to plug Making Ethnic Choices: California’s Punjabi Mexican Americans. This fascinating 1994 ethnography by University of California, Irvine anthropology professor Karen Leonard studies Mexican women in the United States who married men from the Punjab region of what’s now India and Pakistan during the first half of the 20th century. There are muchos similarities between Mexican and Punjabi cultures—a love of flatbreads (tortillas and rotis), spicy cuisine and loud, drum-based music (banda and bhangra, respectively)—but Leonard concludes that American immigration policies barring most Asian women from entering this country inspired many of the unions, and that both Mexican and Indian-American communities (never mind the gabachos) discriminated against these families. Modern-day Mexican-East Indian couples can expect the same resistance from their kin, but I urge both cultures to unite under the beauty of our shared swarthy skins and hatred of American foreign policy. But a warning to East Indian suitors—whether you’re Muslim, Sikh, Hindu or Jain, whether your family is from Gujarat or Mumbai, Mexicans will call you “hindú.”

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