Ask a Mexican

A Worried Dad Has Trouble Keeping His Wabs and Gabachos Straight

Dear Mexican: About six years ago, my wife and I adopted a little baby boy. He is "pure" mestizo and we are complete wabs. I'm a little dark because of my mixed Arab heritage, but my wife is a major league blanca. He is a sweet little gabacho growing up in wab world. I don't mind getting the looks when we go to the taquería in the barrio or when we take him on our trips to Mexico. And I can handle the questions from dumbass wabsters. But I worry about the little guy being the odd boy out. How can I help him keep in touch with his gabacho roots? Wabdaddy in Texas

Dear Wabpapi: You sound like a wonderful man, but tienes your ethnic terms wrong. A wab is a nickname Mexican-Americans in Orange County use to deride unassimilated Mexicans — think "hillbilly." A gabacho is a gabacho — in other words, someone of the gabacho race, the race that wants to deport wabs, not love them. You want to teach your niño to keep in touch with his wab roots. Etymological concerns aside, I'm sure there are a lot of Tejanos who are more than happy to direct you to art, music, books and cultural programs that'll teach your son about his proud heritage. Just don't get them talking about the Alamo.

I'm a judeo (notice I don't call myself a gabacho) en Norte California, and after driving 1,800 miles to visit mi padre en Texas, I was surprised at the outrage over Mexican drivers in los estados unidos who don't have a Texas (or wherever else north of the border) driver's license. Does the USA not recognize foreign driver's licenses? If they do, isn't it simply an insurance issue, and, if so, couldn't this whole silly problem be fixed by having car insurance companies offer cross-border policies? Confuzzled Judeo en San Francisco

Dear Judeo: That's a novel concept — distinguish yourself from gabachos because your tribe definitely ain't them! Even more novel is your idea of having American authorities recognize foreign driver's licenses in lieu of American ones. While wonderful and commonsense, the only problem is a matter of bureaucracy and jurisdiction. The United States doesn't recognize foreign driver's licenses per se but rather something called an International Driving Permit, which must be acquired in a person's home country. Furthermore, you have to apply for a driver's license in American states once you establish residency there. In the case of Mexicans, their Mexican driver's license would only work for so long. Best bet? The burro.

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Gustavo Arellano
Contact: Gustavo Arellano

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