Why Do Some Bilingual Mexicans Deny Speaking English?

Why Do Some Bilingual Mexicans Deny Speaking English?

Dear Mexican: I'm a half-mexicana, half-gabacha working as an appointment scheduler in a medical office. I'm one of a handful of schedulers there who speak Spanish. I've noticed that often when a Spanish-speaking patient calls, gets a schedulers who doesn't speak español and waits for someone to call them back ... the patient actually speaks English well. I call back speaking in English and they respond in English. I don't mind speaking Spanish but it makes me wonder why anyone would want to waste precious time to get their health situated by not speaking English. Chiquita Curiosa

Dear Pocha: Sometimes, Mexicans who can speak English pretend not to so they can gain an advantage over their gabacho adversaries — the classic "No espeak English" ruse. Other times, the English-knowing Mexican will still prefer Spanish because they can be more exact. That seems to be the case here, especially given you're in a medical profession and some Mexican health practices just don't translate well into the King's English.

For those of us living in California, the FIFA World Cup is a big deal. Since we have such a huge Mexican population, is it a safe bet that they root for the U.S. team along Mexico? I place my hopes on Mexico once the Americans get the boot in the first round. Couldn't we get a little more love going for our SoCal community by making our support in the World Cup international? Soccer Gabacho

Dear Gabacho: Historically, no Mexican in the U.S. would ever root for los Estados Unidos — not because it was traitorous, but mostly because the team was middling at best and uber-gabacho. That has changed in the past generation, as the U.S. has not only become a mid-level power that consistently whips Mexico's ass, but also because the squad is now diverse. At the same time, El Tri has underachieved. Most Mexican-Americans will still root for Mexico over the U.S., but there's at least a grudging respect for the norteamericano side. Nevertheless, I don't see a fruitful Mundial for either team, so Mexicans will probably do what they did during the last cup: suddenly discover their Spanish roots, and go for the gachupines.


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