Stuck in the Middle

Dear Mexican: Why is it that many first-generation Latino students are so quick to judge and alienate second-generation students just because their parents went to college and are able to afford a little more? Pocha Pero No Pendeja

Dear Wabette: I turn the columna over to Jody Agius Vallejo, sociology professor at the University of Southern California and author of the magnificent Barrios to Burbs: The Making of the Mexican-American Middle Class. Take it, profe! "Many first-generation Latinos (meaning that they are foreign born) are quick to judge some second-generation Latinos like you because they themselves are constantly judged by middle-class Latinos. Most people mistakenly assume that Latinos exhibit ethnic solidarity and that everyone gets along. However, the Latino population is not monolithic, and divisions exist depending on national origin, generation and whether you are upper, middle or lower class. These divisions are exacerbated by American society (especially the media and racist politicians), which homogenizes and stigmatizes Latinos by portraying them as uniformly poor, unauthorized and uneducated.

"Despite these stereotypes, there is an established, and growing, Latino middle class. But middle-class Latinos must deal with these disparaging stereotypes in their everyday lives. Thus, middle-class Latinos, especially those who are disconnected from the immigrant struggle for upward mobility because they were raised in middle-class households by college-educated parents, often attempt to distance themselves from immigrants as a way to deflect discrimination. So, I suspect that some first-generation Latino students anticipate that you will look down on them and they thus snub you before you can (in their imaginations) snub them."


Ask a Mexican

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The Mexican's advice? Tell the haters que se vayan a la chingada.

I work in the music biz and thus I go to my fair share of both Anglo and Latino concerts/shows on a regular basis. One thing I notice is the mosh pits at hard rock, metal, punk, ska and similar kinds of shows. In any Anglo mosh pit, it looks like the fans are literally trying to kill one another. But Mexican/Latino mosh pits seem to be composed of fans locking arms, dancing with one another and a no-man-left-behind kind of attitude. Can you explain why so much brotherly love in the mosh pit? El Vampiro

Dear Vampire Gabacho: Not necessarily true — go to a concert by Brujería, the most hardcore metal group of all time, and see what part of your spleen hasn't been absorbed by your appendix.


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