Why Did My T-Shirt Piss People Off?

Dear Mexican,

My gabacha friends and I marched in the May pro-amnesty rallies and wanted to show our support on our chests as well as our feet. We wore T-shirts that read, "I only [picture of big, juicy lips] mojados" on the front, and "Yo solo [lips] mojados" on the back. Some Mexican guys complimented the shirts, but my Chicano studies-type friends got angry. They said I was colonially objectifying Mexican men as sex objects and that gabachos can't ever use the word mojado because it's like the N-word word in English. They were pissed, and they dissed. I feel bad -- should I?

Chica Against Making Immigrants Scapegoats, Enemies, Targets and Animals

Dear T-Shirt,

Your unfortunate experience reminds me of an apocryphal quote attributed to Emma Goldman. After a comrade told the anarchist icon that her gaiety wasn't helping the cause, Goldman replied, "If I can't dance, I don't want to be in your revolution."

Similarly, the PC pendejos who trashed your smart, sexy mojado ("wetback" in Spanish) T-shirts show why most Mexicans and children of Mexican immigrants wish Chicanismo would go the way of the Frito Bandito.

Protest with playfulness is a tradition in Mexican culture -- witness Super Barrio, a corpulent masked wrestler who emerged to fight for victims of the 1986 Mexico City earthquake and went on to serve in Mexico's Congress. The culture of Chicano activism, while fighting the good fight, also creates insufferable, self-righteous bores whose idea of political humor is screaming "GO BACK TO EUROPE, PILGRIM!" at geriatric gabachos. I blame Chicano studies, which corrupts the brains of young Mexicans with antiquated concepts like victimization, objectification and grade inflation, all anathema to the libertarian Mexican soul. Besides, what male, straight or joto, doesn't want to be sexually objectified? Oh, and mojado isn't the N-word of Mexican Spanish; that honor falls to "Guatemalan."

Dear Mexican,

Why do Mexicans hang CDs from their car's rearview mirrors?

Poor Use of That Album

Dear PUTA,

Any number of reasons. Mexicans love religious tchotchkes -- seven separate religious icons guard my car, from a rosary to a St. Jude prayer card to a statue of the Santo Nio de Atocha (venerated in New Mexico and Zacatecas) -- so the CD you see dangling might just be a Virgin of Guadalupe mini-hubcap.

Mexicans also like pretty, shiny things -- dig all the gold jewelry we hang from our earlobes and necks, our spinning rims and Three Flowers-brilliantined hair. Or Mexicans might hang CDs in an effort to stymie radar guns, a long-disproved urban legend that only proves Mexicans don't watch the Discovery Channel show Mythbusters, which devoted a 2004 episode to debunking that popular belief.

But to paraphrase Freud, sometimes a CD is just a CD. Maybe the offending Mexican wants the world to know about his favorite album but can't fit a sticker on the car because all those pinche bull decals, Calvin-pissing-on-something logos, Mexican flags and "Viva Mxico, Cabrones!" license-plate holders get in the way.

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