By Jim Schutze
By Rachel Watts
By Lauren Drewes Daniels
By Anna Merlan
By Lee Escobedo
By Eric Nicholson
DEAR MEXICAN: Suppose the United States were as progressive and conscious of our country's true self-interest as are, for example, many European countries; and suppose this had been true in the decades immediately following World War II, when Northern and Western Europe subsidized the development of southern European nations. If the United States had sponsored and funded infrastructural, educational, social and economic development in Mexico during the 1950s to the 1980s the way the more prosperous countries of Europe helped the less prosperous nations of their region, would not Mexico today be a much more prosperous, healthy, sustainable and pleasant place? Need a Mexican Marshall Plan
Dear Gabacho: You're ignoring the billions of dollars El Norte has sent down Mexico way in the form of governmental aid and immigrant remittances over the past 60 years and neglect to mention that the subsidies the more prosperous European countries gave to their neighbors provided only temporary relief. Not only that, the relationship between those European countries is vastly different from the relationship between Mexico and the United States — the latter is more like the neo-colonial model of Great Britain and India. All the hallmarks are there: mass migration and the classic hatred of the Other in the receiving country while wholeheartedly accepting their cheap labor and devouring their cuisine.
I'm a gabacha who teaches in a juvenile hall. In my classroom, I often have rival gang members, and so I enforce strict rules of behavior. These rules include no name-calling and cussing, and it goes for both English and Spanish. I'm not completely fluent in Spanish, but I know enough (from your book!) to recognize the bad words.
Could you provide me with a word or phrase I could use with the Spanish speakers that their abuelitas would use to tell them to clean up their language. Creencia del Mejor en Mis Estudiantes
Dear Believer in the Best of Your Students: "No digas malas palabras" ("Don't say any bad words") is good, but better is "¡Ten vergüenza!" ("Have shame!"). Better? Combine the both. Best? "¡Cállate el hocico!" ("Shut your mouth," but more accurately "Shut your snout"). It's technically rude to say in Mexican Spanish — and that's why parents and grandparents say it to their young ones.
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