Keep off the gras

Got a spicy question about Mexicans?
Letters will be edited for clarity cabrones—unless you’re a racist pendejo. And include a hilarious pseudonym, por favor, or we’ll make one up for you!

Dear Mexican:

Someone wrote you a while back wondering why Mexicans have made a mess of their beautiful country. You got all bent out of shape because he called Mexico a Third World country instead of a “bottom tier” First World country. I think you missed the point of the argument. Mexico should be much better any way you look at it. The only explanation I can think of is Mexico has a defective culture and the Mexicans bring it with them wherever they go—not at first, mind you, when they are in the minority, but after they reach close to the majority.

All you have to do to prove my view is look at New Mexico, the only state in the United States that is 50 percent Mexican. Look at the dropout rate, crime rate, political corruption rate, illegitimate birth rate, etc. This is all in spite of the fact that New Mexico receives more money per person back [from] the federal government than any other state. …

Do the rest of us a favor and stop breeding. I know you can’t do that because of your defective culture, so when Armageddon comes, it will be fought between the Mexicans with their pants down and Muslims with their robes up. Should be one hell of an event.

—Chief Afraid-to-Use-Name

Dear Gabacho:

Hello—NAFTA? American capitalism demand for cheap Mexican labor, which stunts Mexican economic growth by depriving it of workers? And why the Land of Enchantment hate? Give me its Blake’s Lotaburger, its Hatch Chile Festival, a smothered burrito Christmas-style, and the Santuario de Chimayó any day over whatever dump you call casa. You also forgot to mention that New Mexico suffers one of the highest DWI rates in los Estados Unidos—but what does any of this have to do with Mexican culture? Sure, New Mexico ranks 43rd in per-capita income, but that’s still much ahead of decidedly gabacho states such as Kentucky, West Virginia and South Carolina. New Mexico places fifth highest in terms of states getting federal pesos back—but ever figure it’s because of all those elderly gabachos and their Medicare and government facilities like the Los Alamos labs that suck up that cash? Poverty has nothing to do with ethnic culture—and if you think so, please point out for me the Mexicans in Let Us Now Praise Famous Men. Oh, and New Mexico is 45 percent Latino—and a chingo of them come from families that arrived before Mexico. Black Legend that, pendejo.

Last year, I went to Chihuahua and noticed the Mexicans I was traveling with said gras—like a shortened version of gracias. Is this a common thing? Can I say it?

—Currently Hot Unlike Loser Assholes


I’ve never heard of gras, but the linguistic phenomenon behind it is common. Elision is the process by which speakers drop vowels, consonants and even syllables over time to make pronouncing a word easier. It’s a natural evolution of language, but Mexican Spanish seems to favor it more than American English (which loves its contractions but has little love for elision). Of course you can elide, CHULA! Turn para into pa’, Santa Ana into SanTana, papa to ’apa—and then go truly baroque by shortening vete a la chingada to’ta la chinga’! Sure, the custodians of Cervantes will sneer, but they haven’t mattered since … well, ever.

GOOD MEXICANS OF THE WEEK! The Southwest Organizing Project is one of those tireless organizations that simultaneously battle issues affecting Mexicans while also teaching cultural awareness. It’s celebrating its 30th anniversary this year, and the best way to support it is buying a copy of its landmark 500 Años del Pueblo Chicano/500 Years of Chicano History, a Mexi version of A People’s History of the United States, but even more radical. More info at, and la lucha sigue!