By Gustavo Arellano
Dear Mexican: I’m totally serious about my e-mail, so please forgive me if my question sounds ridiculous. I also mean no insult to anyone about my question or questions in this e-mail.
There are a lot of antsy/jittery people along the United States’ southern border. Lots of those antsy people seem to want to grab anyone who looks like a Mexican or acts like a Mexican and deport anyone who appears to be a Latino into the nations south of the U.S. border.
I’m mostly Caucasian in ancestry, but I’ve been told that I have American Indian roots plus American Indian facial features. So, I’m a mustached guy who looks like Freddy Prinze Sr., but I have a skin tone that makes me look like Freddy Prinze Jr. So, if I go to the Southern border states, will police check me for my papers because I look like Freddy Prinze Sr.?
— Rob, aka a Guy Called “Swarthy” by Some White
Dear Gabacho: You know it!
Baby On Board
While waiting for radiation treatment, I noticed a sign on wall: “If you are pregnant or may become pregnant …” The Spanish translation used the word embarazada. Why “embarrassed” to be pregnant for these fecund people?
— Old Fart from Vegas
Dear Gabacho: You know what they say when you assume — it makes a culero out of you and you!
Embarazada doesn’t mean “embarrassed” in Spanish; it means “pregnant.” But how two words that come from the same root took on such dissimilar meanings is one of those great etymological stories that makes this columna so pinche nerdy when it’s not shockingly vulgar.
The English “embarrass” came from the French word embarrasser, itself deriving from the Spanish embarazar, which still has an alternate mean of “to impede.” That word came from the Portuguese embaraçar, and the Royal Spanish Academy theorizes that word originated from Celtic because its root palabra existed before the Romans conquered the Iberian Peninsula.
Why a word that signifies a blockage came to represent pregnancy is unknown to etymologists, but the Mexican theorizes it’s just a pre-Christian pun for a cock block — there’s that vulgarity of mine! The proper Spanish word for “embarrassed,” by the way, is avergonzado, which originates from the Latin verecundia and more accurately means “shame.”
Dear Mexican: I work in a white-collar computer job, so when the weekend rolls around, I like to do my own yard work. Weeding, planting, pulling out stumps, trimming — you name it.
When I do it, though, there are usually Mexican workers in the neighborhood, and they always look at me strangely. Are they thinking, “Hey, we could do that work for you, buddy”? Or “How about that: a white guy who can actually do manual labor!” Or maybe something else I haven’t thought of?
— I Can Trim More Than One Kind of Bush
Dear Gabacho: You know it!
GOOD MEXICANS OF THE WEEK: For those of you looking for Mexican curios or ironic T-shirts with a Mexican theme (such as the Star Wars logo spelled “Estar Guars”), Calacas Inc. is for you! They’re based in the Mexican’s home base of Santa Ana but have an online store and co-sponsor one of the biggest Día de los Muertos celebrations in Southern California (happening this weekend on Fourth Street this Sábado). Best of all? The people who run it are Jackie (the gabacha) and Rudy (the Mexi) Cordova, proving that not only does the Reconquista will take over all white women, it’ll also produce cute, smart kiddies! Visit them online at calacacinc.com.
Ask the Mexican at firstname.lastname@example.org, be his fan on Facebook, follow him on Twitter or ask him a video question at youtube.com/askamexicano!