Is Cheech Taking Work Away From Deserving Mexican Actors? | ¡Ask a Mexican!® | Los Angeles | Los Angeles News and Events | LA Weekly
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Is Cheech Taking Work Away From Deserving Mexican Actors? 

Plus, the search for Mexican pirates

Wednesday, May 20 2009
Comments

Dear Mexican: Do Mexicans get annoyed that Cheech Marin gets all the Mexican character-actor parts in Hollywood movies? This is great for Cheech, but bad for Mexican actors. Danny Trejo gets badass roles, Antonio Banderas plays the leading man, and character roles go to Cheech (maybe Tommy Chong, for small budgets, but he’s cast more for being an old stoner than Mexican). With the blooming careers of truly great Mexican directors Alfonso Cuarón and Guillermo del Toro, don’t you think Hollywood should give other Mexicans a chance? Cheech is already rich — let someone else have a slice of the pie!

—Celluloid Culero

Dear Gabacho: No argument from me, except Tommy Chong and Antonio Banderas ain’t Mexican!

 

Dear Mexican: My wife and I have an argument going on about pirates. And since you are the source for all things Mexican, I thought I’d ask: I know there were Spanish and Portuguese pirates back in the early 1600s and 1700s, but were there EVER any MEXICAN pirates? Not pirates from Spain who pirated in Mexico, but REAL HONEST-TO-HAY-SOOS MEXICAN PIRATES?

—Pirates Pat McGroin and the Right Reverend One-Eye

Dear Gabachos: It depends on what your definition of “pirate” is. If you’re looking for a famous swashbuckler from the days of Blackbeard, tough tamales: Historians never bothered to glorify the numerous buccaneers who ransacked Spanish galleons laden with the gold and silver of Mexican mines off the Mexican coast. The most famous Mexican pirate was Fermin Mundaca, who operated a contraband empire from Islas Mujeres off the coast of Quintana Roo during the mid-1800s — but Mundaca was a Spanish native. Why look back, though, when so many Mexican pirates exist now? Piratería is as Mexican an industry as tortilla-making and immigrant-smuggling: The International Federation of Phonographic Industry, an organization that fights music piracy worldwide, estimates Mexicans make more than $220 million off illegal CDs, most sold at a swap meet, bodega or taco truck near you. And before some of you start insinuating that this is somehow indicative of the Mexican culture’s tendency to steal, what would you call file-sharing?

 

Dear Mexican: If we stereotype a person by drawing attention to the fact that someone is Mexican instead of [by] the content of his or her actions, why do minority cultures celebrate the very fact that, say, Mexicans fought for certain types of rights? Aren’t they stereotyping themselves by doing so? If I did the same thing as a white person, I’d be considered racist. So, why aren’t you considered racist as well?

—14/88

Dear Gabacho: I’ve contestado many a silly question in this column, but yours takes the pastelas the stupidest I’ve yet answered. What Know Nothings such as yourself don’t understand is that when minority groups struggle for civil rights, they’re merely calling America on its founding bluff — you know, that whole “all men are created equal” bullshit. So, when Mexican parents in Orange County in the 1940s sued four school districts for segregating Mexican kiddies away from gabachitos, the parents didn’t do it just to benefit wabs; the resulting lawsuit, Mendez vs. Westminster, served as a precedent to the much-more-famous Brown vs. Board of Education. When Cesar Chavez marched and fasted for justice in the fields, his ultimate causawas the same as European unionists at the turn of the 20th century: a fair shake for the working man. When millions march for amnesty for the undocumented, it’s a protest against a hypocritical, Byzantine immigration system that entangles all foreigners, not just Mexicans. Whites fighting for “white” rights only shows how freaked some gabachos get about realizing that minorities are actually, finally being treated like Americans. If trying to battle hate makes me a racist, then here’s a Roman salute to your face, pendejo.

 

Ask the Mexican at themexican@askamexican.net and myspace.com/ocwab, find him on Facebook and Twitter, or write via snail mail to: Gustavo Arellano, P.O. Box 1433, Anaheim, CA 92815-1433.

 

Reach the writer at garellano@ocweekly.com

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