Since 2004, Gustavo Arellano has written the wildly popular—and wildly politically incorrect— Ask a Mexican! column in the OC Weekly. In each installment, the California-born Arellano answers reader queries about Mexican-American mores that rarely come up in day-to-day conversation. Recent entries have discussed whether it's safe to shop for prescription drugs in border towns, why Mexicans eat so many tortillas, and if it's common for Mexican men to wear necklaces bearing their mothers' names (it's not, cautions Arellano, and probably a sign that a particular hombre has a chica south of the border).
The column, Arellano told Reuters, "started off as a joke. It was supposed to be just a satirical take on xenophobia against Mexicans and it just exploded." The column now appears in about three dozen publications and spawned a 2007 collection (buy it here). The column is remarkable not only for its humor and insight but its willingness to talk frankly about topics that usually stifle even the most-open conversationalists.
In April, Reason's Nick Gillespie talked with Arellano about U.S. natives' attitudes toward Mexicans, whether half-Mexican Anthony Quinn's performance in Zorba the Greek or Jack Black's Mexican-wrestler turn in Nacho Libre was more ethnically offensive, whether Mexicans can or should assimilate, the effect of the drug war on border relations, and much more.
Approximately 7 minutes. Filmed by Hawk Jensen and Zach Weismueller; edited Jensen.
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