Culture

Hispano vs. Mexican

Gustavo Arellano
Gustavo Arellano

This woman didn’t leave her name or number, but she’s angry about a portion of this week’s feature in which “Ask a Mexican” columnist Gustavo Arellano asks a New Mexican. Her voicemail is awesome. The delivery is fantastic, full of venom but with that particular lilt you only get around here.

"Marisa. I like your paper usually. I'm kinda pissed today. Who is this Joseph Baca that's trying to say that Hispanos in New Mexico are not formerly Europeans many of them? What is he? Is he a MEXICAN? And these Hispanos were also being hanged in the mid 1800s—even if their skin wasn't brown but pink. So why don't you correct that misnomer, his blurb: "Are there still people who call themselves Hispanos or is that some Chicano myth?" Well, it's a Chicano myth, apparently. But it's not a Hispano myth. Get it straight, lady. How long have you lived in this state? And where the hell is Joseph Baca from?"

(To answer, I’ve lived here all my life except for a couple of single-digit years I don’t remember.)

She called back and added:

"Thank you for Jerry Ortiz y Pino's encapsulation of the special session at the Legislature. It was full of information and understanding. It helped a lot. Thank you."

No no, ma’am. Thank YOU.