Ask a Mexican on Mexican Apathy and Buchanan's Whiskey

In a nutshell, you inspired me to rediscover my culture, my pride as a Mexican and love for my people (though is hard to love my own people at times). I'm writing a college paper on Latin American issues — more specifically, on Mexican apathy, which is deeply rooted here in El Paso. I don't know if you've noticed when you've been here, but we live in a Mexican majority bubble that easily could be called a Mexican utopia in the United States. This same privilege enables a lack of unity and motivation to rise above our social issues, such as a low rate of superior education. The worst part of living in this city is the antagonizing sentiment we have against our own kind, based solely on the fact that many recently migrated and the sad misconception that they're all on welfare. We are not united in the same way other Southwestern communities have come together to protest in masses to oppose racist legislations. This city is in a state where institutionalized racism is rampant and self-evident in Rick Perry's disrespect for our heritage, which predates that of his illegal alien-invading granddaddies of the Alamo.

Yet very few here care. I long for the pissed-off sentiment of the Chicano movement that moved things out of the dark ages for us in this country. Our people went dormant for too long thinking it wasn't so bad anymore, but as we are constantly shoved back into the Jim Crow era, I see we are waking up to the house being on fire. Unfortunately, we are divided between those who have been here long enough to get educated and realize this, and the other half that's just happy to fall into the false conformity that we have been sold and worry only about Mexico's soccer team making it to the World Cup. I see El Paso as a microcosm of everything that's wrong with Mexicans in this country. Self-conformity and apathy will kill us faster than diabetes and high blood pressure. I have my theories on why all this is still a problem, but I come to you for further enlightenment, for reasons previously stated. I will greatly appreciate any input you may provide during your busy schedule.

I Do Love Chico's Tacos, Though

Gracias for the kind words — glad I could wake you up from your pocho doldrums. Don't be so harsh on your beautiful hometown, though — all the Mexican Utopias in los Estados (San Antonio, Los Angeles, SanTana, among others) since time immemorial are a mix of vendidos who try to gentrify barrios and activists who actually get things done. Why? That's the American way. How to wake people up? Show them a picture of Iowa congress-pendejo Steve King.

Was out drinking and meant to ask you: Why do Mexicans love Buchanan's whiskey so much? Did a ship o' tipple from Ireland wreck in the Bay of Campeche in the 19th century or something? And why does every Mexican guy who orders it pronounce it bukanas?

At Least It's Not Kilbeggan's

Get your whiskeys straight. Buchanan's is Scotch; Kilbeggan is Irish whiskey. But at least your Mexi-sense is correct. Just like Cristal gets shout-outs from rappers, Buchanan's began getting referenced by singers of corridos last decade, especially of the narco variety. But while getting bottle service for Cristal lets everyone know that its drinker is a lover of a high life, any plebe who buys a round of bukanas for his compas is letting the bar know not to fuck with them. The choice of a whiskey instead of a tequila as a mark of Mexican manhood isn't particularly surprising — hombres have been pounding it ever since El Piporro downed bottles while driving in "Chulas Fronteras." As for the pronunciation chingadera? Easily explainable explanation, ese: elision.

Ask the Mexican at [email protected], be his fan on Facebook, follow him on Twitter @gustavoarellano or ask him a video question at!

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Gustavo Arellano
Contact: Gustavo Arellano