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ASK A MEXICAN

¡ASK A MEXICAN!

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Dear Mexican: Suppose the United States government and the American public were as progressive and conscious of our country's true self-interest as are, for example, many European countries; and suppose this had been true in the decades immediately following World War II, when Northern and Western Europe subsidized the development of Southern European nations, such as Spain, Portugal, and Greece. If the U.S. had sponsored and funded infrastructural, educational, social and economic development in Mexico during the 1950s to the 1980s the way the more prosperous countries of Europe helped the less prosperous nations of their region to prepare them for membership in the future European Union, would not Mexico today be a much more prosperous, healthy, sustainable, and pleasant place to live than it is, with less immigration into the U.S. and immigration therefore a much less contentious issue? Would this not be even more true of the over $1 trillion the U.S. has burned through, to no great effect, in Iraq and Afghanistan that might instead and much more beneficially have been spent and invested in our neighbor to the south, with whom we share an enormous land border and many of whose population are also members of the U.S. population?
— Need a Mexican Marshall Plan

Dear Gabacho: You're ignoring the billions of dollars El Norte has sent down Mexico way in the form of governmental aid and immigrant remittances over the past 60 years and neglect to mention that the subsidies the more prosperous European countries gave to their less-fortunate, non-Warsaw Pact neighbors provided only temporary relief — look at all the bailouts being proposed for Spain, Greece, Italy, and their ilk nowadays. Not only that, the relationship between those European countries is vastly different from the relationship between Mexico and the United States — the latter is more like the neo-colonial model of Great Britain and India, or France and Algeria. All the hallmarks are there: mass migration from the former colony (or defeated nation, in Mexico's case) and the classic hatred of the Other in the receiving country while wholeheartedly accepting their cheap labor and devouring their cuisine while morphing it into all sorts of pendejadas — tater tots tacos!

I'm a gabacha who teaches in a juvenile hall. In my classroom, I often have rival gang members, and so I enforce strict rules of behavior so that things don't get out of hand. These rules also send a message to the kids that they're capable of positive behavior and lets everyone feel safe. These rules include name-calling and cussing, and it goes for both English and Spanish. I'm not completely fluent in Spanish, but I know enough (from your book!) to recognize the bad words. I also know that sometimes these words are said in jest, but to avoid misunderstandings and keep things safe, I don't allow anyone to jokingly call anyone names in Spanish or English either.

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