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¡Ask A Mexican! for Sep 24, 2009 One man's take on his culture's stereotypes

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Posted: Thursday, September 24, 2009 12:00 am

In Garfield comic strips that appeared earlier this year, Garfield is wearing a sombrero and taking siestas. While cute and all, isn’t this the sort of thing we’ve been striving to stop? –Odio Odie

Dear Wab: Garfield is still around? Have editors finally exiled it to the viejitos comic-strip page alongside Gasoline Alley and Mary Worth? I hadn’t read Garfield in years until your prompt, and I gotta admit – I laughed at the sombrero. Cheap, unfulfilling laughs like only the fat cat can provide, but rizas. Garfield puts salsa on the sombrero’s brim? ¡Jajaja! Garfield gives a mouse a sombrero because he makes cheese quesadillas? Hee-hee! Us Mexicans need to make peace with the sombrero, realize that it’s the funniest hat around and that its use by gabachos doesn’t always signify Mexican-bashing (combine it with a mustache, and you have a diferente story… ).

My great-great-granduncle was Colonel William Barrett Travis, who commanded the defense of American settlers at the Alamo and one of the first casualties. I’ve been told by a Mexican friend of mine I should be ashamed, but all my life I’ve been proud of it. What do you think? –Descendant of a 1635 Immigrant

Dear Gabacho: What do I know? I’m just an unassimilated Mexican who still doesn’t get why millions of Americans continue to celebrate their traitorous Confederate ancestors. Similarly, I don’t understand why you’d be proud of a slave owner in your family tree – you don’t see many Mexican boasting of the conquistador blood in their raíces, after all. And that whole Alamo deal? Don’t get it. Maybe it’s just a Texas thing, but what was that whole cosa about? Gabachos who came to Texas at the invitation of the Mexican government promising to become Mexicans, then reneged on their vow and were surprised when their rulers tried to crush the resulting secession movement? Sure, General Santa Anna was a tyrannical pendejo, and there’s always something to admire about last stands (see the Battle of Puebla), but the Texas War for Independence was the opening volley in Manifest Destiny. Why, this whole Alamo episode and its resulting discontents sounds just like the 1830s version of the present-day Mexican invasion to me!

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