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Ask a Mexican Paperback – April 22, 2008
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From Publishers Weekly
In Arellano's popular Orange County Weekly column "¡Ask a Mexican!" now widely syndicated and gathered in this acerbic volume, he answers serious, curious, and sometimes hateful but mostly irreverent questions about Mexicans. This book compiles what are presumably the best question-and-answer exchanges over the past two years, under topics including language, sex, immigration and food. Arellano wittily defuses bigotry and mocks stereotypes with his often well-researched replies. To the inquiry on the authenticity of flour vs. corn tortillas, he explains that the Spaniards created the former. "Why do Mexicans wear their clothes when swimming?" is a recurring question among Arellano's readers; his answer: good manners. In response to the vitriolic "What is it about the word illegal that Mexicans don't understand," he points out that U.S. employers don't understand the word either. The author's relentless irony and reclamation of derogatory terms (e.g., "wab," the Orange County version of wetback) is not for the faint of heart, but this approach is a welcome reprieve from common tiptoeing around the fraught subjects of race relations and immigration. (May)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
"A welcome reprieve from common tiptoeing around the fraught subjects of race relations and immigration." ---Publishers Weekly --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Arellano's main role here is as myth debunker and as one who tries to put Mexican immigration in a historical context for his readers. I've selected this passage from p. 40 as emblematic of his approach. A reader writes "Why don't Mexicans want to assimilate and accept our way of life?" The Mexican answers (in part) that "(i)n the case of reverence for one's roots, it boils down thusly: gabachos long-removed from Ellis Island can love their ancestors without shame because they're the descendants of immigrants, and immigrants made this nation great; Mexicans can't because they _are_ immigrants, and immigrants are turning America into the Third World."
Like that opinion or not, you have to give Arellano credit for superbly crafted sentences like that. The book is rife with them. It makes for a great read.
About this book: Read it, have fun and do not take life too seriously.
I like it and had quite a good laugh at too many of the explanations of why Mexicans.......?
By the way, not all Mexicans call our neighbors to the north Gabachos, I knew them as Gringos while growing up in Tijuana, from there San Diego was "tierra de Gringos" (land of the Gringos). But Gabacho is a very Mexican word, we love our "CH" sound.