Less than zero
I have a problem that I need your advice on. My granddaughters were born and raised in Georgia, as was their father. Their knowledge of their culture is zero, and I have tried to educate them by talking to them and even writing a book of my life growing up in New Mexico, which discusses the history, lifestyle and culture of our gente. I even encouraged them to take Spanish classes. Everything was going great until they got to middle school. My problem is that they no longer take pride in their heritage because of the behavior of the Hispanic kids in their school. For example, they are constantly harassed, teased and, when on group projects, they want my granddaughter to do all the work and provide them with the final results, while they sit by laughing, talking, etc. They even changed from Spanish to French classes. I have talked to them about the fallacy of their stereotyping people but to no avail. (I could go on, but I think you got the picture). Comments or suggestions?
—El de Orgullo Herido
Dear He of Wounded Pride:
Kudos to you for not taking the elitist route like so many of your New Mexicans, who claim to trace their ancestry back to the conquistadors and thus differentiate between their supposedly pure, superior Castilian blood and that of the dirty surumatos when the topic of the pendejos of our raza comes up. You could’ve told your nietos that they’re New Mexicans and their antagonizers are new Mexicans who are inherently pendejos, and that would’ve been that—but you understand that idiots are idiots, and that Mexican culture as a whole is something worth appreciating. Unfortunately, your grandchildren are at a point in their vidas where everything Mexican around them seems to be trash, and the American melting-pot furnace guarantees they’ll eventually only care about their ethnicity symbolically. Solution? Show them otherwise—expose them to positive representations of the culture, whether music, literature or film. Have them get mentored by successful Mexis. Continue your pláticas about your life. It might take four years of belonging to MEChA to fully turn them into appreciating their culture, but no pocho is a lost cause forever—just look at Linda Ronstadt, who was once a roller-skating disco bunny, and now never leaves home without belting ranchera songs.
What do Mexicans like yourself think of the movie Machete?
Dear Gabacho Asustado:
Prophecy. And Lindsay Lohan’s chichis.
In my limited education, I somewhat remember in history class that the Spanish built large ships and great armies that they used to conquer a portion of the New World. In the New World, part of which is now called Mexico, there were native people who built grand cities that are still a mystery for today’s archeologists. My question is: When these two exceptional people made love and produced offspring that wandered northward to enter Los Angeles Unified School District, and since more than 50 percent fail to graduate, did they become stupid? I did learn one thing in school: It’s impossible for two positives to equal a negative.
Dear Gabacho Who Never Stops Sending Me Letters:
That’s the same question Americans ask of Missouri every single day. Also? The California Department of Education found that 61.6 percent of the LAUSD’s class of 2011 graduated—and as I pointed out before in this columna, other immigrant groups faced such abysmal graduation rates in the past and conquered them, and so will Mexicans.