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¡Ask a Mexican! America's Next Top Model Minority

Dear Mexican: I see Jews, Asians and Persians making something of themselves and conducing safe, walkable communities. Of course they’re not perfect, but I don’t see high Jew-crime communities. I see these people sticking together and helping each other out instead of envying their own. Why can’t Mexicans get their act together and promote the message behind the Christian billboards they have on their chests?

—Writing from the Bueno ?Side of the Tracks

Dear Gabacho: Is that the best you can do? Fault Mexicans for crime-ridden neighborhoods, despite a recent study by Harvard sociologists that found lower rates of violence among Mexicans than gabachos or blacks? Claim no community solidarity exists amongst us even though Mexican immigrants maintain an extraordinary fraternal society network that sends back billions of dollars in remittances to Mexico? Then end with a lame tattoo joke? Where’s the wab jab? Of course Mexicans aren’t perfect, but the rough ethnic enclave is as American as Uncle Sam. The forlorn, decrepit immigrants squatting in tenement slums that Jacob Riis memorably captured in his 1890 photojournalism exposé How the Other Half Lives were the same Jews, Asians, Italians and Slavs you and so many others now celebrate as “good” immigrants, different from the Mexicans of today. Give Mexicans time, let them move from barrio to suburb, and they’ll join the descendants of previous waves of immigrants in forgetting history and bashing the new guys in the slums. Really, the only exception to this immigrant trajectory is wealthy refugee communities, such as Persians and Cubans, who arrived on our golden shores with money in their pockets and government handouts to help them adjust.

Got a spicy question about Mexicans? Email garellano@ocweekly.com. And those of you who do submit questions: Include a hilarious pseudonym, por favor, or we’ll make one up for you! To read an expanded version of ?¡Ask a Mexican!, go to www.laweekly.com.


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