By Gustavo Arellano
Dear Readers: You love us, you really love us! Mere moments after publishing my July 12 column (in which Know Nothings had their say on the failed Senate amnesty bill), ustedes bombarded the Mexican with letters expressing your disgust toward those pendejos. Space prohibits the printing of all, so let’s give the only word not to a gabacho or wab, but a limey:
Not really spicy enough for your column, but I just had to write after reading those revolting Septic (you’ll have to look up Cockney rhyming slang for that one) responses you posted. I came to the U.S. in 1982 as an 18-year-old immigrant from England. Despite the generally common language of the “natives,” my sense of Robinson Crusoe-ness was largely alleviated by the Mexicans I worked with and came to befriend. I watched the only football available on TV at the time on Telemundo; in an odd way it made me feel at home, and I have maintained a mild soft spot for the Mexican league since then.
Sharing much in common, despite our language differ-encesm has often struck me. I can think of few other nations that have such frequently shite underachieving national football teams yet whose fans continue to adore them beyond all common sense than do the English and the Mexicans. We and they are self-deprecating, think that excessive drinking is an unapologetic prerequisite for a pleasant evening, and will have a punch-up and fall over laughing afterwards. Thoughtful, argumentative, loyal and kind: I’ve ALWAYS thought this. That’s how I have come to know Mexicans.
I’m hard-pressed to say a bad word about the Mexicans I’ve met in the last two decades. I have run out of gas twiceboth times, within moments, Mexican nationals stopped to help. The first were gardeners who gave me gas; the second, a young man, his wife and young son in a beat-to-shit, barely running car who drove me to a gas station and back to my own car. Neither accepted payment.
And to that guy who wrote, “Little brown animal”? Easy to type, coward, but I promise you: repeating such filth in my presence would result in a “Congratulations, you’ve just met England” sticker on your recently head-butted, caved-in face. Till England slaughters Mexico 5-0 in their next meeting, Mexican!
Dear Mexican: Why is Sinaloa considered the dope capitol of Mexico? Every time I tell someone where my family is from, they immediately say Sinaloa is the dope capitol.
Dear Wab: Isn’t it interesting how stereotypes persist long after they’re no longer true (are you listening, New York Yankees)? Take the case of Sinaloa, a Pacific coastal state notorious for its narco-cultura (drug culture). Sinaloa is a state where a shrine dedicated to Jesús Malverdethe unofficial saint of drug dealersdraws thousands of pilgrims each year even though the Catholic Church considers his cult heresy. Here, too, is the birthplace of Chalino Sanchez, the singer who combined accordions with lyrics glorifying the drug trade to revolutionize the gansta rap-gone-polka genre called the narcocorrido. Sinaloa’s plentiful poppy fields (some historians date them to the 1800s, when Chinese immigrants grew the flowers for their opium dens) spawned some of Mexico’s most brutal kingpinsAlvaro Carrillo Fuentes, Joaquín “El Chapo” Guzman and the Arellano Félix family are just the most infamous. Add a trigger-happy regional personality that’s feared and respected across Mexico, and I’m surprised people don’t run in holy fear from you, Chal-ino. But Sinaloa’s heyday has passedmost of the state’s capos got offed in the last decade, and the Gulf Coast cartels now command Mexico’s headlines and drug routes. And no, gentle readers, the Mexican won’t crack any jokes on this subjecthe enjoys being alive, gracias very mucho.