On Hiking and the Worst Time to Be a Mexican
Oye, I'm a Mexican con un pie aquí y un pie allá, and I have to admit that it is difficult to be a Mexican these days. I'd like to make the argument that it is one of the worst times ever to be a Mexican. I even think it is worse now than it was in the time of the revolución, worse than Santa Anna and Cortés, worse than the Zoot Suit riots — man it is worse now than when frickin' Pete Wilson was California's governor, and Proposition 187 passed. The reason is these things: the conflicts in the border towns of Juarez and Tijuana, and the racist law in Arizona, and Minutemen. It's just crazy. I feel that in the past, we could look at either the United States fondly or Mexico fondly, when times were rough on one side of the border. Right now, it just feels like a double-edged sword. Yet the saddest thing about it, I just don't see either side of the border letting up any time soon. Dude, ¿cuando vivaremos en paz?
Condenando Here, and Damned Allá
When will we live in peace? Never. Chaos is the order of life for Mexicans — how can it not, given our violent birth, centuries-long infancy, and current adolescent angst? But don't think these are the worst times in the history of raza. Gabachos aren't lynching us in the same numbers they did after the Mexican-American War; they're not deporting us en masse like the días de Operation Wetback and the Mexican Reparation of the 1930s. The hatred for us today is less bloody than in the past — hooray! Down south, the narcos . . . Well, you want your humble columnist to keep his head, don't you? Really, all Mexicans can do is what we've always done: persevere, get on with life, and throw the fuckers out with a good old-fashioned uprising. It happened in 1810, 1910 — but what about this year, and how about on both sides of la frontera? Let's show those Tea Baggers what a true revolución is about — but no guns this time! Just the beautiful force of the ballot box.
Do you know whether Mexicans are known to hike (besides hiking across the border)? It's not a joke. I know Mexican friends of mine hike for the purpose of picnicking in the wilderness at Temescal canyon or in Mexico (for leisure), but otherwise, are we known to be hikers as a general population?
Chingao, you stole my border joke! The Outdoor Industry Foundation published a 2006 study called "The Hispanic Community and Outdoor Recreation" that estudió the matter closely. They found we barely hike, and concluded "a concerted effort now must be made to involve Hispanics — a population representing an avenue of high growth for the outdoor industry." See, the numbers they found were embarrassingly low: a full 50 percent of the wabs surveyed hadn't hiked even one day in the previous year; 32 percent had hiked between one and four days. And most of those who participated were pochos, so you know the numbers for actual Mexicans were even lower. The study concluded that most Mexis didn't hike due to a lack of access to equipment, leisure time, outreach by companies — essentially the same excuses given by everyone for poor participation of Mexicans in any gabacho-heavy activity (voting, empire-building, fake uprisings, etc.)
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