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{mosimage}Dear Readers:
Muchas
,
muchas
responses to my March 8 column asking whether I should
keep this column’s gold-toothed, mustachioed, sombrero-wearing fat
Mexican logo and what should I name him. The overwhelming majority of

ustedes
support amnesty for the wab, but a few folks also made
articulate arguments in favor of deportation. Following are pro and con
letters from

gabachos
and wabs alike:

POR AMNESTY


I don’t think I’ll ever stop hating that image because it makes
me think of the countless times I have to counter ignorance, explain
and be the voice of brown

gente
 
over and over to people who somehow don’t get it. On the other
hand, well, because you keep this image in my face, you’re making me
understand that it represents what it actually is: a stereotype of our
people made up by people who don’t understand our

cultura
, our
raza
. And while I may not like it, it is a reality. So I’ve come to
embrace this phony image. It’s true that we give it the power it has
over some of us. And because I know that, I can’t let it get to me or
have influence on me. I think this logo is more than appropriate for
what it’s being used. You have the power to use humor to educate in
such an artistic way that few can get away with doing. This logo
exemplifies exactly what you’re trying to do: break through to people
who are trying to get it. And for this, I thank you. Let ’em rip.

—La Que Sí Sabe



FUCK ’EM IF THEY CAN’T TAKE A JOKE. When I lived in San Antonio,
I had a T-shirt of Speedy Gonzalez that featured his friendly image. A
couple of whacked-out Chicanos told me at an art opening one night,
“That shirt is racist.” I replied, “Speedy is kind, helpful, smart,
energetic, and he always wins. Shit, you guys are right. He ain’t a
Mexican at all.” Fortunately, their switchblades jammed as I did an
impersonation of Speedy…

¡andale andale!

—Gabacho Greg


POR DEPORTATION


Fag, nigger and wetback have been used in rap
and comedy for nearly 20 years. Yet still today, when Ann Coulter uses
fag, when Isaiah Washington uses fag, when Michael Richards uses nigger
— despite the repetition of these terms, they still sting and are used
primarily as insults. What makes us think that using an old stereotype
of the drunk, gap-toothed Mexican is going to erase its history and use
as a negative? It’s not going to happen. These racist terms and images
were made for racists to use as racial slurs. To think we have the
power to change one word’s or image’s meaning by using it is
unrealistic. WE need to come up with new terms and images that will
destroy the old racist one. For example: “wetback” or “illegal alien”
should now be “

nuevo  pioneers.” As Audre Lorde said, “We cannot
dismantle the master’s house using their tools.” Let start making some
new tools, word and images,

¿simón ese?

—Gerard Meraz
Professor of Chicano Studies,
Cal State University, Northridge


As for naming the Mexican, the following Denverite put it best:


Whatever we name the Mexican, it won’t matter because everyone will call him Chuy.


Finally, in no particular order, sense or rhythm, some other thoughts on the subject:

I’ve
been around a long time, managed to laugh at Speedy Gonzalez, and José
Jimenez, could have cared less about the Frito Bandito and couldn’t
understand the flap over the Taco Bell Chihuahua, even though it was
led by my good friend Mario Obledo. I looked forward to

I Love Lucy
 
because Ricky Ricardo had an accent. I loved the Cisco Kid and
Pancho too. They were my childhood heroes. They looked and acted a
little like me and my family too. I grew up being called a Mexican as
if it was a bad thing, a Chicano as if it was a good or bad thing, an
Hispanic as if it was a condescending thing, a greaser as if it was a
dirty thing, a beaner as if it was a smelly thing, a Mexican-American
as if it was an inclusive thing, a spic as if it was a despicable
thing, a wetback as if I didn’t belong. I was called:

cabrón, guay, mijo, pendejo, Viejo, Chulo, Feo, Vendido, Indio, Don y Doctor
by my Spanish-speaking friends. The stuff that bothered me? I
got over it. I learned to chalk the insults up to ignorance and racism
and not stoop to their level. Me, I don’t need thought police telling
me, or anyone else what to think, how to respond to images, or what
images I can use.

¿Sabes qué?
I don’t care what picture you use. It cannot insult me or
mi Raza. People are going to think what they choose to think of me and
you, all of us, in accordance with their own frame of reference no
matter what image you try to present. I am proud of the Mexican

bandidos
like Pancho Villa, who have been similarly characterized. I loved those guys in
Treasure of the Sierra Madre
who told Bogie, “Badges!? We ain’t got no badges. We don’t need
no badges! I don’t have to show you any stinkin badges!?” You know
what? You or I don’t need no stinkin’ badges either. Use whatever

pinche
cartoon you want,
ese
. Tell the intellectuals and the homeboys alike: be all you can be, not what someone else decides is more acceptable.

Viejo Chulo



Me gusta mucho el retrato de tu papá. Me pone
risa y me da vergüenza los dos al mismo tiempo. Creo que tienes razón
en usarlo. El Viejo atrae la atención de gente mientras tus palabras
destruyan los estereotipos negativos. Sigue tu trabajo bueno, eres mi
mexicano preferido, aunque todavía no eres guatemalteco. Creo que su
nombre debería ser Paco.
 

A few of us here in Tucson are quite fond of the
equestrian statue of the “overweight dirty revolutionary,” given to us
by the (usually) friendly gobierno of Mexico. It seems an appropriate
counterweight to that statue on the other side given to the nation by
the (usually) gabacho gouvernment of France. Still, calling the logo
Pancho would be too trite. How about “papi huitlacoche” for his leer
like a cob of maiz with a rotten kernel?
Ol’ Pueblo Cocinero

Profe:
I see your point but I also see Tavo’s motivation for the logo. The
question is, how high does Tavo want to take this column?’ If Tavo
expects a respected or mainstream magazine/newspaper to pick it up with
that logo, it’s not going to happen. Personally I don’t want him to
sell out. I like the fat, lazy, greedy, happy Mexican logo. I know it’s
not true. Every true Mexican know it’s not true. It’s perfect example
showing these gabachos that they took our land, they took our women but
they will never our humor. Viva la Raza!!!

I Love the Logo


Name
the fucker Jesus. But being Mexican he’d require a full name; first,
middle, father’s family name and mother’s family name. How about Jesus
de Guadalupe Anacleta Sanchez? It would be very much in keeping with
what I perceive as the spirit of your column, and best of all it would
REALLY piss off a lot of gabacho evangelicals. Who knows, maybe one of
these days we’ll see Jesus making an occasional appearance on the
random tortilla, sandwich, or oil stained driveway.

**

I’m
a long time reader and have even appeared in the OC Weekly anyway I
think you should keep the picture since the questions are very playful
much like the picture. Being a Mexican myself I don’t find it
offensive. On the contrary I like it. It sort of deceives first time
readers, how when they read the often times simple minded question and
then BAM are hit with your intelligent answers … it’s great

**

I’m
a gabacho pendejo living in Darkest Alaska. Not only that, but I’m a
pale skinned green-eyed natural blonde of Irish and Scots-Irish
descent. As this next weekend rolls up with my kinsmen and kinswomen
celebrating St. Patrick’s Day, I say there’s a strange power that comes
from embracing and celebrating silly stereotypes, whether it’s wearing
green plastic derbys and drinking Guiness Stout, or posting a picture
of a bandito at the head of your advice column. I say keep the bandit,
if for no other reason than to annoy the twits and the terminally
earnest among us. If we can sell candied cereal with a leprechaun on
the box as Lucky Charms, and it doesn’t bother the English professors
at community colleges around the nation as yet another egregious
example of ethnic stereotyping, you can have your bandito.

**

Please
change it! Your argument that the logo is a “portrait of your father,”
is weak – unless, of course, your father was a cartoon character. The
current logo is the Mexican equivalent of Little Black Sambo. History,
eventually, will look back on the current logo like Amos and Andy
posters – with disappointment and shame. Although your intention to
“lessen the sting” of images such as these is admirable, your efforts
fall wildly short of the goal. I assume that the majority of your wab
readership will vote to keep it. Those same cabrones don’t see what’s
wrong with the Cleveland Indians logo, the Washington Redskins, or for
that matter, Little Black Sambo. I say you hold a logo designing
contest. The logo should say what your article really is, carnal.
Something like: “I’m a Mexican, and I’m here to answer your questions
regarding other Mexicans.” Like an informal cultural consulate, or
ambassador. A helping hand. Not a clown.

Change is Good


The
logo reminds me of an “Uncle Sam Wants You” poster but for Mexicans.
Most Mexicans don’t take offense to these type of things or don’t see
it in any kind of negative way. The only thing I thought was “damn if I
keep eating all these tortas I will look like that fucking cartoon in
the Houston Press.” What the hell does that Profe want a Che Guevara
looking logo? Fuck Che, and all of the pendejos who are down with
communism but support capitalism by buying those dumb ass shirts at the
mall. Profesor de Yuma should watch some sexicomedias and read some
“Condorito” comics and chill.

Torta Power!


I too found
your articles through the advent of high technology, and would like to
give you my two peso’s regarding your Papi’s very nice disposition. The
portrait of your Papi is very becoming, it has bling which is not only
important, factual and impressive, but it is the most practical way to
hide tooth decay. And I feel his name must be Paco – And it is very
obvious that he has recently over heard some very important news! And
he is here to share it with the world. So I say, let it be, as it is a
great representation of the stereotyping that has long since hampered
relations between white American males, and the handsome Latino
community. However it will continue to have no effect on the
relationships and wife swapping activities of the Salt Lake City, Utah
females and their insatiable appetite for the dark meat.

Maui Garcia


Well,
I think you’re a genius for coming up with this logo, stereotype or
not, and it does make me laugh! You should keep it. Why not use a
stereotype name such as Pancho or Pablo?

La Gitana


Your
logo doesn’t make me laugh, it doesn’t make me cry. It saddens me.
You’re far from being a “genius” for printing it. I think you’re a
fool. Your silly column with its absurd logo serves no other purpose
but to perpetuate bigotry and hatred.

**

Pure Genius! I
love the columns’ logo, keep it. It’s part of our culture to make fun
of our selves. People already have a misinterpretation of Mexicans
embedded in their mind, why not embrace it and turn it into something
positive. The way I see it; yes my ancestors picked fruit and had to
wear sombreros to keep the sun out of their eyes, yes we are overweight
because our mamas cook with manteca, yes this is a representation of
who I am, or at least a reminder of what I came from. I don’t see why
that’s such a bad thing. When I look at that logo, I see a hard
working, struggling individual who is happy; not for what he has or
looks like, but the joy and simplicity of being someone, even if Profe
thinks the logo is just some dirty wab. Besides the logo reminds me of
my late great abuelito Pancho. Let’s name the logo Don Francisco
Villasenor.

**

A few years ago I was working for a small
Mexican owned architecture firm in Downtown Los Angeles. The firm
partners included one Honduran, one Mexican-American and one gay gringo
from Minnesota (I know, it sounds like the begining of a bad joke, but
it’s true). This firm is the only architecture office in the entire
U.S. that honors Cesar Chavez Day as a holiday. So I figured these guys
would be pretty hip to appreciate the Ask A Mexican humor. I put up an
enlarged copy of your Ask A Mexican logo on the office refrigerator
door. I then got comments similar to the ones you get about how
insulting the image is. One of the architects on staff is a 65-year-old
veteran of the Chicano experience during the 1960’s in East L.A. He
took dead serious umbrage at the image. A few other younger staffers,
Berkeley, UCLA Mechista types, also took insult by the image. I had to
defend the logo saying that in fact the caricature is a spitting image
of one of my uncles from Mexico, who always believed that he was born
30 years too late, since he would have been a dead ringer for one of
Pancho Villa’s soldados. Worst still, the image actually looked like
one of the firm partners, the Honduran guy, who grew up in the
Pico-Union area of L.A. and loves Mexican burritos. He’s a big guy. I
still believe this image is pure genius. The image distills the worst
stereotypes of a lazy Mexican bandido as viewed by the gringo, which is
why it is offensive to some Chicanos. To those with ties to the
homeland south of the border, and cringe with horror while we listen to
Villaraigosa or Huizar butcher Castilian Spanish, we can appreciate the
humor. The Ask A Mexican image reminds us of our fathers, uncles,
cousins, or benignly corrupt happy politicians from our small towns
where we all come from; me, from a small town in Los Altos de Jalisco.
I would say that if a crime was committed in that small town and you
walked in with the Ask a Mexican logo, at least 30 men could easily fit
the profile. I would bet a carreta load of tequila that all these men
would not be offended either, and would probably be honored that their
likeness is viewed by thousands of Internet readers worldwide. So
depending what kind of Mexican one is, a born and bred U.S. or one that
was sneaked in across the border inside a large canasta of pan dulce
when he was four years old in 1968 (Border Patrol agent: that’s a lot
of pan dulce; My dad: Sí, señor, I have a big family to feed), you
would certainly get different reactions to the logo.

El Rayo de Jalisco


Keep
the drawing-he looks like my gardener. His name is Antonio, so your
character should also be Antonio. (BTW, Antonio is actually a tycoon
here in the barrio-he owns several properties here and in his dirt!)

El Sasquatch


KEEP
THE MEXICAN AS IS! The only way you could defile your work is to bow to
the politically correct. I’m only sorry the Profe wasn’t more upset.

**

Don’t
get rid of my tio or should I say tios! I’ve got so many familia that
look like the bandito that it’ ridiculous! Even some of my cousins are
starting to look like your logo también. As for names: Tio Tito, Beto,
or Julio Iglesias (Older one) since the real Julio looks like a really
tanned gabacho from Miami…

**

Let me tell you that the
logo of your stereotypical father is priceless! Even some of my teenage
esquintles wanted to steal him for their Spanish-class’s T-shirt. I say
go ahead and appear to be a stereotype—you know like a blond
cheerleader, or a nerd, or idiot or lo que sea, and then—bam! You act
up and kill the icon with your actions and intellect and whim. I had a
teacher who taught feminist women’s history and literature and she
looked like a Latina Betty Boop. BAM!

**

Coño, that’s
your Papi? Then you must be related to Cheech Marin…because if that’s
not him in the drawing it has to be his twin bro. If you are going to
name him I’ll vote for El Chulo because the look on him seems to be
saying, “Ay mi chulita como me vas a negar un cariñito” or El Chulo de
Putas for the same reason. Como siempre, continua entreteniendo a las
masas y educando a los ignorantes.

**

The cartoon? Who
cares… No matter what you pick, someone will hate it. But… What’s
with the sexist angle? Why not include cartoons of hot Mexican chicas,
or mariposos guapos, or tortilleras? Or draw the lovely Mexican family
all Americans think we come from. With the wab dad, the saintly mother,
the hot sister, and the mariposo brother. The name? Mariano Azuela, in
“Los de Abajo”, named every third-rate character (that is, truly los de
abajo) Juan and María, to highlight both the anonymity and the common
nature of los de abajo. (I think all this is right, but it’s been 20
years…). I think you should resurrect that idea (and make yourself
sound smarter by referring to Azuela) by naming the happy wab José or
Juan, of course. Jesús would work too, but the gabachos might not find
it as amusing as the vatos. And for the women in the (future) cartoons?
María, naturally.

Gerardo, un Mariposo Más


Honestly, Mr.
Mexican, when I first saw the picture, I laughed in an ‘Oh no he didn’t
really, did he?’ sorta way. It seems like it could be very insulting. I
am not Latina (that I know of) but I do share in the realm of being a
mujer de color, thus in la historia of insulting archetypes. But on the
other hand este dibujo has been out there a long time and you are a
Mexican, so I guess it’s one of those ‘I’m that, So I can do what I
want with that.’ You take your chances. If you haven’t received
complaints ‘til now…I guess the readers don’t have too much of a
problem with it, no?

Your Neighborhood Black/White


DO NOT GET RID OF YOUR PAPA LOGO! It will be an injustice to mankind.

**

Keep
the logo. The illustration represents a happy go lucky guy who just
might rip you off given the opportunity.. I am not good with names, but
I will suggest El Pappacita!

**

Growing up gringa in
the orangest depths of Orange County (i.e., the City of Orange, not far
from The Plaza—not The Circle, I was surrounded by grownups who viewed
Mexicans as wetbacks, day laborers, and Frito Banditos. With that in
mind, your little comic avatar is just el hombre for este column—or, to
quote a mantra from my childhood, he’s “Practically perfect in every
way.” So I say he stays, and we should call him Norm for Never
Obfuscate Raunchy Mexicans.

Let’s Abolish Dickheaded Yahoos


His
name is definitely Pancho. How much more Mexican can you get than
that…he even looks like a Pancho. As for how it makes me feel…it’s
a very stereotypical drawing, but you’re right: this is how gabachos
(and possibly other cultures) see us. Let’s use it, and embrace it,
because we know we don’t look like that, and that is all that matters.
So let’s laugh at ourselves and use the logo with pride.

**

Do
NOT get rid of your logo. He’s beautiful. Only uptight liberal gabachos
and loudmouth MEChA members would be offended by him. You should call
him what he is: PAPI CHULO.

Puro Pocho de Sacramento


I
would have to agree with El Profe on his plegaria for you to stop using
the logo you currently have for your column. I completely understand
that it represents your dad, and I give you a high five for bringing
one of the most important things in a mexicano’s life (the parents)
into your world-famous column. But here’s my point of view: if you will
add a little to the image of your father and make it cartoonish, why
not change it a little in the opposite way, in a way that is going to
make him look cleaner and more handsome. Make him look like you
actually respect and love him. Maybe you’ll get more gabachas to fall
for the Mex-lover, that could even help the rest of us mexicanos out.

**

I’m
pretty tired of people thinking that the mexicano is this lazy dirty
person who its first nature is to fight. I do believe that it’s been
hard to make it were we are today, and yes, revolution and
revolutionaries are part of our culture and history. But times have
changed. I, and many people I know, fight the current day revolution
with other weapons other than guns. We use books, computers, cell
phones, but most of all, we use the brains and knowledge we’ve been
able to gain through our hard work in school and in the workforce
preparing ourselves to fight the current day revolution. Is the image
funny?? Yes! When you see it, does it bring your mind to think of a
Mexican? Yes! Do the people who don’t know any better think all
mexicanos are “overweight dirty revolutionary”? I believe so. Can you
and/or your team of experts in advertising come up with a logo that
talks better about the honest, trustworthy, hardworking Mexicans who
live and struggle here in the US and Mexico? I’m most sure it can
happen! Please take this into consideration, and help us out, don’t
knock us down.

El Chican@ Studies Alumni

Keep the
portrait…it attracts readers like nothing else would. Name? I’ll say
it HAS to be Pancho … or Paco or Sanchez I love it! The people who
seem to be most offended by it are white guilt-ridden liberals and the
militant separatist Chicano types who are looking for any excuse to
display their fake manufactured outrage.

KEEP THE LOGO!!!

Okay,
you wanted opinions. Here’s mine. I recognized from the start your
purpose in using the dirty, overweight, bandito as the column’s logo.
It does, as you say, over time take the sting out of the stereotype.
It’s integral to the column and is serving its purpose, so leave it be.
As for his name? ‘Pancho’, of course !!!

Gabacho In Place

Please, don’t get rid of your Papi. Here’s some name ideas to give nuestro amigo:

Jose – Conjures up mucho.
Jose Cuervo, Jose & Jos”B”, [Hoser], Jose Can You See?!?!(I hear it
sung at the ballpark before every baseball game – I’m sure Jose doesn’t
have a very good seat), Jose and The PussyCats.

Manuel –
Manual Labor. One thing us gringitos do not appreciate – when we need
to do it. We pay mojaditos chump change to do that and then complain
that they’re here in our country.

Roberto – Drop the “O”, and you’re no longer a wetback!

Federico – My ex-brother-in-law. Who was a pinche culero. No, let’s
drop that one. California born Mexican-Americans don’t count.

Chulo – Cute Idea!

Naco – Too occupied making money to go to school and learn something.

Zumbo – Damn! Mexicans make some God Awfully Great Tequila!

Polaco Loco

Since
you are asking your readers to suggest a new logo for your column, here
mine. Salma Hayek. Yes, she looks nothing like you but I suspect your
current logo doesn’t look like you either. Readership on your column
would go through the roof !

**

It’s pretty funny but at
the same time el profe tiene razón. It’s like an African-American using
those racist Memím Pingüín images. Still, it doesn’t help our cause.
Who knows? I’m just a Mexican.

**

I question your logic
in, for lack of a better word, “owning” a derogatory stereotype. Has
African Americans’ use (overuse?) of “nigger” lessened the power of
that word to hurt or enrage? I appreciate the juxtaposition of the
over-used, stereotypical image paired side-by-side with your witty,
biting, and often erudite responses. Still, I get the feeling that I’m
not the one who needs to get it. Regardless of how well you write or
how thoughtful your responses, some who come across your image likely
will just have their biases reinforced – “Hah. Stupid Spic, probably
just writing about how gringos are bad, Mexican men are hung like
ponies, and all Mexican women are good in bed.” There’s always going to
be a Minuteman jackass out there pissed off because he’s sure you’re
taking seven cents per word and screwing a white writer out of a 10
cent per word job, and that image will be the one he holds on to as
representative of all Mexicans. Then again, close minded jackasses will
think what they want to think, regardless of the art you choose for
your column. I guess it comes down to: your column, your rules.

**

I
find your logo offensive. How does papi feel about it? And how do you
feel about the fact that the editorial staff of the Tucson Whitely
scatters your pearls of wisfom on their back pages along with the comic
strips and News of the Weird?

El Viejo Vagabundo

I never
write to any writer because I don’t think that anything I could
possibly say would should interfere a persons right to express their
opinion. This one caught my eye. While I agree with the prof’s
sentiment that stereotypes can be harmful. I also strongly disagree
with his approach. The Prof feels that the image is offensive and
somehow diminishes the article as well as Mexicano’s as a whole. I cant
help but feel that this guy isn’t just wrong but more to the point that
this guys attitude’s is what is really dangerous. The image of “Pappi
Pancho Bandito” does exactly what it is supposed to do. It makes people
laugh or feel offended or just catches a persons eye and makes them
read the article. El Prof de Yuma doesn’t want you to use the image
because he was offended. My personal opinion is “so what!?” In this
country free speech means that you can say or print what ever you want
regardless if it offends anyone. While I understand the need for
positive role models for a Latin culture that can be said to be
struggling. Recognizing that one of every three prisoners in this
country are Latin. El Prof has to agree that we as a people are
succeeding also as the second largest minority group in the country
with the most college graduates. As one of the former I have to point
out that this growing demand for tolerance has in fact created a
culture of intolerance for all those that think and speak as they wish.
Whether it be an image of the prophet Mohamed or “Pappi Pancho” these
images should be taken for what they are—just funny cartoons. Have a
sense of humor Prof.

Don Quixote

I don’t know why, but
I have always called him Don Pancho. Maybe it is because he reminds me
of a bastardized version of Don Francisco; who with his nicely coiffed
hair and three piece suits, offers a more contemporary representation
of the Mexican hombre. I have always found the logo offensive,
inappropriate, and hilarious. It is, for all intents and purposes,
ironic use of a stereotype. The dreaded *S* word applies to general
characteristics, and this one is completely outdated. Your wettest of
the wetbacks would never try to look so wabby, with the exception of
the mustache and gold tooth, that’s just estilo! It is important to
point out the image does not work alone. Coupled with the column, it
challenges our perceptions and we begin to realize that the logo is
there for irony, but not without some truth; after all the column is
about explaining Mexican behaviors. The text completely challenges what
the image represents and subverts its power as a stereotype. If the
Profe thinks that the image diminishes the work, then he has clearly
missed the point of the column. But what do I know, I’m just a Mexican.

Pocha Educada

Shame
to El Profe de Yuma for not recognizing an artistic gem. I fell in love
with this column a few weeks ago, and the illustration of your papi is
a very flavorful way to introduce it. As for a name, why not simply
“Papi”? If that is what the portrait is, no more and no less, then
let’s name it such. May he be forever embedded in the minds and hearts
of your readers, and yourself with him.

**

In the same
way that I have found Mexico and Mexicans to be deserving of my
respect, so have I found the image of the broad-brimmed-hat figure
sleeping under a cactus offensive. I think as well, that by portraying
a person from Mexico as a fat-faced grinning figure does dishonor to
Mexico and Mexicans. How about using an image of a family in your
column? Or a group of children? or of grandparents? After all family is
the most important aspect of Mexico that challenges all the
self-important promoters of “family values” among hateful conservatives
in the US. Mexico represents family and community in ways that many
folks in the US cannot comprehend. Te felicito por tu intento de
socavar los estereotipos y suminsitrar información verídica acerca de
lo que es el verdadero México. Eapero que mi comentario sirva para
mejorar tu labor.

A Tucsonian

I think the picture is
perfect. The name should be El Guapo. Why? Because I am El Guapo in my
office. (Three Amigos character). And he looks like me, muy chulo.

El Guapo


I,
too, enjoy reading your column, but to echo El Profe from Yuma’s
comment, your present logo does present our culture in a…somewhat
less than attractive form. I’m putting it mildly, because, as a paisano
(de Michoacan), I grew up reading some of the typical Mexican comics:
Memin Pinguin, Borolas and such, and I understand what you are trying
to convey; But some of your local readers might not relate to it in the
same manner, or even see any humor in it; or worse, if viewed by
someone with an already discriminatory attitude towards Mexicans.
Rather than using your Papa’s caricature, why don’t you just post a
photo of yourself? -like most columnists do. You most probably look
ethnic enough…to achieve the desired effect! (smile)

**

I
read your column in the Salt Lake City Weekly and enjoy your humor. My
suggestion for name the Logo is “ Tortilla Fats”, muy gracias.

Baca Bob


Your
column’s mascot has my vote. As you stated yourself, being Latino and
using it drains its racist power. African-Americans strive to do the
same thing with the “N” word, and though it is still not wholly benign
(and probably never will be), the epithet’s many years of circulation
in the community has markedly weakened its impact as a racial slur. Of
course, no matter how successfully these insults are co-opted by their
erstwhile targets, their ugly history must never be forgotten. OK,
that’s enough sociological analysis! Call me a fake or tell me I am in
denial, but my first impression of the cartoon honestly was not “fat,
dirty Mexican.” I perceived a friendly guy beaming over his love of
life – and perhaps a shot or two of mezcal. He embodies the clichéd
infectious smile, with the disarming touch of a single gold tooth. To
me, he looks like a grandfather or uncle who has just caught a glimpse
of children unawares at play. That leads me to my suggestion for your
logo’s name. I think Tío César (as in Chávez) would be a perfect name.
I know this is a caricature of your father, but Padre sounds
intimidating, and Papá only works in North America when followed by
“Bear;” or, in this case, Oso. Tío is a nice term of endearment for any
male elder – blood relative or not – and as you know, César Chávez was
a contemporary revolutionary. Good luck!

Aliada Judía de La Raza


This
gabacho insists you keep the logo. The contrast between the image and
your writing is what caught my eye and made me an immediate fan. As a
frequent reader, I think I can speak for other intelligent
knowledge-seeking gabachos when I say, “we get it.” Any risk of
perpetuating a stereotype is certainly worth it, considering how many
readers like myself have been attracted to and enlightened by your
column. PS: If it’s truly a drawing of your papi, I would think it a
dishonor give him any other name.

El Artista

Got a spicy question about Mexicans? Ask the Mexican at
themexican@askamexican.net. Those of you who do submit questions: they
will be edited for clarity,
cabrones. And include a hilarious
pseudonym,
por favor, or we’ll make one up for you!