Who's White? Who Isn't?
Dear Mexican: I was struck by something you said in a recent column about how Mexicans can make Americans like Mexicans: "We called ourselves Spanish, we considered ourselves white." I'm Mexican, and I consider myself "white" because I'm not black or red or Asian. People from Spain are Caucasian. But in the United States, educators don't teach you anything about Spain. So I took 15 trips to Spain over a period of 20 years to explore Spain. I've researched for years to learn who the Spanish really are. And I am here to tell you that I am proud to have Spanish blood! Do you know where to find the towns of Laredo, Reynosa and Durango? Not only in Mexico, but in the Basque region of Spain! So even if we are one-quarter Spanish, we are members of the white race.
The blood in my veins is Indian and Spanish; we are Caucasian as well. So please don't dismiss us as non-white!
Dear Brownie: I have no problem with Mexicans being proud of their Spanish ancestry as long as they don't ignore their nopal en la frente, just like I don't mind Mexicans to be proud of their indigenous blood as long as they don't try to pass themselves off as the pure-blooded heir of Cuauhtémoc. But news flash, chula: Mexicans no son white. Nor are Spaniards. "white" is a construct, not a race. And the only legitimate Caucasians come from the Caucasus, ancestral home of the Boston Marathon bombers. (Quick aside for Mexicans: Don't the Tsarnaev brothers look like at least one of your cousins?) Finally, do better research — Laredo and Reinosa are in Cantabria, which is about as Basque as you are white.
As a student of history, I believe that Mexicans should be more attuned to speaking English. For all the faults of the U.S., at least speaking and writing English can open some doors for you here. Every immigrant group has had it tough in this country. The ones who couldn't speak fluent English naturally had it tougher. So, as a certified advice columnist, you should be advising everyone to at least sign up for the program here.
Dear Gabacho: I'm not certified by any organization I'm aware of besides the National Organization for DESMADRE, but I won't pass along your advice to my readers. Repeating your consejo to them is like me telling Mexicans they should use salsa to spice up their food — they'd laugh me back to Cantabria.
Get the Weekly Newsletter
Our weekly feature stories, movie reviews, calendar picks and more - minus the newsprint and sent directly to your inbox.