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Spain: Two Sides of the Coin

Dear Mexican: Although I'm familiar with your column, I don't read it regularly. But today, I was struck by something you said in a recent column about how Mexicans can make Americans like Mexicans. So I quote: "We called ourselves Spanish, we considered ourselves white."I'm Mexican, and I consider myself "White" because I'm not black or red or Asian.I understand what I'm made of. People from Spain are Caucasian.Butin the U.S., educators don't teach you anything about Spain.They downplay Spain's impact on this country. Test questions in schoolalways emphasized that the Spanish came here for "glory and gold,"not to settle this land. So I took15 trips to Spain over a period of 20years to explore Spain. I've written and researched for yearsto learn who the Spanish really are. And I am here to tell you that I am proud to have a drop of Spanish blood!Do you know where to find the towns of Laredo, Reynosa andDurango? Not only in Mexico, but in the Basque Region of Spain!Yes. The conquistadores named New Spain areas after towns in Spain!So even if we areone-quarter Spanish, we aremembers of thewhite race. 

The Anglo-Americans have succeeded in many ways of shaming Mexicans about their heritage and their ancestry. But I am very proud of being Mexican.I know who we are and I know whoI am.The blood in my veins is Indian and Spanish; we are Caucasian as well. If we can't call ourselves white, why can others? Why is it that my friends from Iran, Egypt and Albaniacheck off "white" when faced with a U.S.application or legal form? How do these groups end up being "white" and Mexicans don't?Why is it that even a mulatto calls himself "white" now? So please don't be so eager to dismiss us as non-white!

Dear Brownie: You don't regularly read my column? ¡No manches! I have no problem with Mexicans being proud of their Spanish ancestry as long as they don't ignore their nopal en la frente, just like I don't mind Mexicans to be proud of their indigenous blood as long as they don't try to pass themselves off as the pure-blooded heir of Cuauhtémoc. But news flash, chula: Mexicans no son white. Nor are Spaniards. "White" is a construct, not a race. And the only legitimate Caucasians come from the Caucasus, ancestral home of the Boston Marathon bombers (quick aside for Mexicans: don't the Tsarnaev brothers look like at least one of your cousins, just like Saddam Hussein looks like everyone's tío?). Finally, do better research—Laredo and Reinosa are in Cantabria, which is about as Basque as you are white.

As a student of history, I believe that Mexicans should be more attuned to speaking English. The Spanish did nothing but enslave and subjugate everybody on this continent. Speaking their language only gives them credit they don't deserve. For all the faults of the U.SA (and there are many, as you know), at least speaking and writing English can open some doors for you here and give you a chance in life.Every immigrant group that ever came over on a boat or crossed the border has had it tough in this country.The ones who couldn't speak fluent English naturally had it tougher. So, as a certified advice columnist, whether or not you're really an hombre or not, you should be advising everyone to at least sign up for the program here. If they don't like what's happening, they can always swear at their boss in Spanish and he or she will never know the difference.But ask for a big fat raise in English.

Dear Gabacho: I'm not certified by any organization I'm aware of besides the National Organization for DESMADRE, but I won't pass along your advice to my readers. Repeating your consejo to them is like me telling Mexicans they should use salsa to spice up their food—they'd laugh me back to Cantabria.

Ask the Mexican at themexican@askamexican.net, be his fan on Facebook, follow him on Twitter @gustavoarellano or ask him a video question at youtube.com/askamexicano!

 
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