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Ask a Mexicanby Gustavo Arellano
Synopses & Reviews
DEAR MEXICAN: WHAT IS ¡ASK A MEXICAN?
Questions and answers about our spiciest Americans. I explore the clichés of lowriders, busboys, and housekeepers; drunks and scoundrels; heroes and celebrities; and most important, millions upon millions of law-abiding, patriotic American citizens and their illegal-immigrant cousins who represent some $600 billion in economic power.
WHY SHOULD I READ ¡ASK A MEXICAN?
At 37 million strong (or 13 percent of the U.S. population), Latinos have become America's largest minority — and beaners make up some two-thirds of that number. I confront the bogeymen of racism, xenophobia, and ignorance prompted by such demographic changes through answering questions put to me by readers of my ¡ Ask a Mexican column in California's OC Weekly, I challenge you to find a more entertaining way to immerse yourself in Mexican culture that doesn't involve a taco-and-enchilada combo.
OKAY, WHY DO MEXICANS PARK THEIR CARS ON THE FRONT LAWN?
Where do you want us to park them? The garage we rent out to a family of five? The backyard where we put up our recently immigrated cousins in tool-shack-cum-homes? The street with the red curbs recently approved by city planners? The driveway covered with construction materials for the latest expansion of la casa? The nearby school parking lot frequented by cholos on the prowl for a new radio? The lawn is the only spot Mexicans can park their cars without fear of break-ins, drunken crashes, or an unfortunate keying. Besides, what do you think protects us from drive-bys? The cops?
"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." Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
An irreverent, hilarious, and informative look at Mexican-American culture is taken by a rising star in the alternative media, as well as a new kid on the block in such mainstream venues as NPR, the Los Angeles Times, Today, and The Colbert Report.
About the Author
I'm Gustavo Arellano. I was born in Anaheim, California, to a tomato canner and an illegal immigrant. My "¡Ask a Mexican!" column won the 2006 Association of Alternative Newsweeklies award for the best column in a largecirculation weekly. I'm a contributing editor to the Los Angeles Times and have appeared on Today, Nightline, NPR's On the Media, The Situation with Tucker Carlson, and The Colbert Report. I also mow lawns for $15$10 if I get a water break. For more information visit www.askamexican.net.
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