Balls on the Tree

Lies, avocados, and statistics

Can you tell me the meaning of the word "aguacate"? All I know about this delicious fruit is that it originated on this continent.
Guacamole Man

Dear Gabacho:
"Aguacate" is the Spanish word for avocado, but its Nahuatl meaning is more rustic: balls. According to Ana María de Benítez's 1974 classic Pre-Hispanic Cooking, "The name aguacate (avocado) comes from Ahuaca Cuahuitl, ahuacatl meaning testicle and cuahuitl meaning tree, hence: tree of testicles." The popularity of guacamole amongst gabachos — the California Avocado Commission estimates that consumers purchase 40 million pounds of their cash crop during Super Bowl weekend alone — is actually an American plot to de-ball the Mexican nation. Then again, an avocado might just be an avocado: a wrinkly — and, sure, testicular — fruit.

I love Mexican hombres! They treat their women like queens. But my friend disagrees — he says Mexican husbands make their wives sleep on the floor. Who's right?
Nubian Novia

Dear Negrita:
Both of you. All cultures vacillate between two archetypes in how they treat women: the saintly Madonna and the Great Whore. But few societies have institutionalized this duality like Mexico. Consider the country's founding mothers — la Malinche y la Guadalupana. Malinche (alternately known as Malintzin and Marina) was an Indian maiden who served as translator and mistress for Cortés on his bloody march to Tenochtitlán during the Conquest. Mexico has reviled her ever since — indeed, the term "malinchista" is a synonym for traitor. Twelve years after the fall of the Aztec empire, on December 12, 1531, another brown-skinned woman changed Mexico's course: Our Lady of Guadalupe. Whereas la Malinche brought the sword of Spain to the indios of America, Guadalupe rewarded Her children with salvation by fusing the Catholic Virgin Mary with the Aztec earth goddess Tonantzin. Freud might say that the fact that these two epic mujeres appeared so early in Mexico's gestation explains why they're seared into the Mexican psyche. Would that also explain the extreme positions Mexican men take toward their women?

Note to readers: The following is a serious, stat-saturated Mexican. I promise more dwarf- and Dirty Sanchez-related questions next week!

A recent study by the Pew Hispanic Center reveals the following:

Hispanics are four times more likely than non-Hispanics to receive welfare
Hispanics account for three-quarters of the increase in poverty in the USA
45 percent of Hispanic children are born out of wedlock
Hispanic women are 2.54 times more likely than white women to have abortions
Hispanic men are nine times more likely than white men to beat their partners
Hispanics are three times more likely than whites to die of AIDS
They are four times more likely to die of tuberculosis than whites
Hispanics are twice as likely to be incarcerated as non-Hispanics
They are 3.8 times more likely to be in prison for murder than non-Hispanics
Hispanic youth are 19 times more likely to be in gangs than whites
Hispanics are three times more likely than non-Hispanics to drop out of high school
55 percent of Mexican-Americans consider themselves to be Mexican first

Why would Americans want more of THAT?
Round 'em Up, Ringo

Dear Readers:
Many gabachos and the occasional wab send me lists of "facts" supposedly gathered by respectable organizations that purport to tell it like it is about Mexicans. Problem is, these lists are riddled with deceptions, unverified assertions and outright lies, and are often falsely attributed. Take the one Ringo cites. The Pew Hispanic Center never commissioned this "recent study" — most of the findings come from a September report titled Hispanics: A Statistical Portrait commissioned by the New Century Foundation. Through its journal American Renaissance, the Virginia nonprofit publishes research papers and essays that focus on the depravities of minorities — historically blacks but increasingly Mexicans. AReditor Jared Taylor operates under the sheen of academia, but organizations such as the Southern Poverty Law Center and Anti-Defamation League have exposed him as a notorious fact-skewer who isn't above cavorting with neo-Nazis and Holocaust deniers; Taylor once wrote he publishes AR to "alert whites to the crisis of dispossession they face, and to encourage them to act now in defense of the things they love."

But on to the stats. The charge of spousal abuse comes from a March 2004 AR article that offers no source. Statistical Portraitdevotes a section to poverty but doesn't claim that Hispanics account for three-quarters of the increase in American poverty; in fact, United States Census figures released earlier this year for 2005 show an increased poverty rate only for Asians. The factoid regarding illegitimate births was published in a 2005 National Center for Health Statistics overview, and the Statistical Portraitadds that it "increased by 91 percent" between 1980 and 2000; what the Statistical Portrait doesn't tell you is that the illegitimacy rate for all Americans increased by 141 percent during the same time period, and for gabachos at a promiscuous 148 percent — nearly one and a half times more than Hispanics.

I could go on, but ustedes get the picture. Stats are like Mexicans: You can make them do whatever you like as long as you provide room, board and sexy magazines. Besides, immigrants in the United States have historically been amoral, disease-ridden wretches (think of those dirty Norwegians of yore), so why should Mexicans be any different?

Got a spicy question about Mexicans? Ask the Mexican at garellano@ocweekly.com. And those of you who do submit questions: include a hilarious pseudonym, por favor, or we'll make one up for you!

 
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