Dear Mexican: In an earlier column, you mentioned that conservatives can’t have an argument against illegal immigration without it degenerating into a diatribe against culture. Here’s an argument that has nothing to do with culture: In California, we now have a severe water shortage. I work for a municipal water agency. We are asking that people ration 20 percent of their water usage. We must ration 15 to 17 percent of our water in order to make sure we don’t run out of it. Considering that the illegal-immigrant population of California is approximately 16 percent, we would achieve our rationing goal just by illegal immigrants going back to where they came from.
—Wet Back, But Not the Wetback Kind
Dear Gabacho: Your work has given you agua on the brain, amigo. Where did you get the stat that California’s illegal-immigrant population is 16 percent? Even if you take the overinflated 2008 estimate of the Golden State’s illegals (3.2 million) claimed by the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR, which many Know Nothings cite as a legitimate think tank but which the Southern Poverty Law Center classifies as a hate group) and square the stat with the Census Bureau’s 2008 guess for California’s total population (36.8 million), the final percentage of indocumentados is about 8.7 percent — almost half of what you claimed, Wet Back. But you like numbers and conservation, so refry this: A 2005 California Urban Water Conservation Council study found almost half of all residential water use in the state was for landscaping. Want to achieve your rationing goals and then some, Wet Back? Let lawns die. But, of course, gabachos would never allow that to happen, more than willing to behold the bean in a Mexican’s eye without considering the burrito in their eye.
During the 1970s, I heard my father tell a couple activist friends that some Mexica males practiced contraception by chewing on a type of root. Is this true? Or am I confusing the Mexica with the Mayas, Olmecas or mi tío Monchi?
—El Gallo Habrano
Dear Wab: Probably. Probably not. What does it matter? Obviously ain’t being used today.
I decided to move definitivamente to America two years ago. I started working a year and a half ago, and I’ve noticed that my co-workers think that because I’m Mexican, and very proud of it, the only kind of food I’ll eat is … MEXICAN food! I must say, there’s nothing better for la cruda than menudo, but, to be honest with you, I also like Indian, Thai, Chinese, Italian, Peruvian, Middle Eastern, French … I think you get it. Why is that?
—Not as Square as You (Gringos) Think
Dear Wab: Bienvenido to los Estados Unidos! On behalf of all raza, allow me to present you with your standard-issue poncho, sombrero, bandoliers, mustache, gold tooth, taco belly and fake Social Security number! Chistes aside, does such a stereotype surprise you? Never mind that Mexican food is an amalgamation of various culinary traditions, or that Mexico is one of the world’s top consumers of ramen: If you’re a Mexican in the U.S., gabachos expect you to subsist on a steady diet of yellow cheese, chile, pinto beens and beer. Do the Mexican a favor: Cast out the burrito in your co-workers’ eyes, then go out and pound the Herradura.
Ask the Mexican at myspace.com/ocwab and firstname.lastname@example.org, and find him on Facebook and Twitter, or write via snail mail to: Gustavo Arellano, P.O. Box 1433, Anaheim, CA 92815-1433.