Thursday, September 15, 2011
Dear Mexican: I live in upstate New York and while we have a relatively small Mexican population, we have a large number of Puerto Ricans, especially in the community I live. Here’s my question: a number of times I’ve overheard my PR friends accuse each other of being “lazy Mexicans” as a good-humored insult. I’m wondering if on the West Coast, where I expect that there are more Mexicans, if you ever accuse each other of being “lazy Puerto Ricans?” – Son of Erin
Dear Mick: Ah, another opportunity to trot out my all-time favorite joke: Why aren’t there any Puerto Ricans on Star Trek? Because they don’t work in the future, either. Silly chiste, but that’s the point. As brilliantly put forth by author Christie Davies in his The Mirth of Nations, mere jokes by one ethnic group against another signifies latent hostility, but nothing serious. Ethnic insults, on the other hand, suggest a deeper-rooted hatred between the groups. In other words, Mexicans don’t really care about Puerto Ricans, because we always kick their ass in boxing and aren’t as colonized as boricuas.
My fiancé and I were debating this the other night: where did the idea of Matanzas come from? How did they start? I’m of the belief that they were to provide food for an entire village during long, hard winters and have become a reason to party outside in the middle of winter. He says he doesn’t think so. He said they are probably a local thing (we’re from New Mexico) and other self-respecting Mexicans would never have fiestas like this. – Muy Confundida
Dear Very Confused Chica: “Self-respect” and “Mexicans” in regard to fiestas go together like “logic” and “Republicans” on America’s immigration issues. Your husband is largely right: matanzas, for the rest of us non-New Mexis, usually involve the slaughtering of a pig just before winter to provide the pueblo with hundreds of pounds of lard, meat, blood, and all the other bounty our tasty porcine friends provide us. Some scholars also posit that Matanzas were Hispanic rituals dating back centuries, with the pig the center of the feast: Since the Moorish rulers of the Hispanos’ ancestors and the Jews they always despised couldn’t eat pig, the feast was a great way for Spaniards and their descendents smoke out any marranos or moriscos out of the pueblo’s ranks and into the bonfire.